Archive for the ‘Product Reviews’ Category

My sister visited last week and gave me a belated holiday gift! Mine is black (because my sister knows my preferences) and I tried it out for the first time today.download

The arthritis in my hands (both kinds) has been especially painful lately, so I brought this into work so I can heat them during typing breaks. I was a little concerned about the size since I have freakishly long fingers, but it’s just right (especially since I’m usually only heating on hand at a time). This will also come in handy for cramps or a stiff back at work, too. The cord is long enough (always a concern) and it’s easy to remove the cover for washing (a big plus!).

My only complaint so far is that it is only on/off and can get pretty hot… it would be nice if there was a “low warmth” setting, but otherwise it’s an awesome product! Overall I definitely recommend.  :}


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One of my work colleagues has a medical bracelet similar to the “Livestrong” wristbands. I really liked the idea, but my medical alert company did not carry them until recently. As soon as they had the option, I ordered a package with multiple bracelets (one by itself was $25, while with six bands it was only $30, so completely worth it).


To put it simply, these are the best medical bracelets I’ve ever worn. No fiddly little clasps that are hard to open, break, or snag my sweater cuff. Comfortable fit that can stretch on and off, and I can change color based on what I’m wearing. No ruining a leather band when I wash my hands, either! My old nylon bracelet with the sport buckle was wearing out (especially since I play with my bracelet during meetings- I’m a fidgeter), and the long end of the band hanging out annoyed me (I trimmed it and melted the end so it wouldn’t unravel, but it still looked messy and sometimes got in the way).

It is possible for the metal portion to be lost, but you’d have to work on it, and so far the plastic bands are holding up well. I can still wear one of my fancy beaded wristlets if I’m dressing up, but for something that is obviously a medical band but still has a low profile, it’s perfect for everyday wear.

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I haven’t done a product review in a loooong time! (I take that as good thing, really).

The last few weeks my arthritis has been acting up, and it can be a challenge to determine which type of arthritis is kicking in (if not both). I recently attended an evening talk at the university medical center about arthritis, and while it was mostly information I already knew, it helped me identify what’s going on to address it better.

For the last two weeks or so my wrists have been painful. That’s rheumatoid. I always carry a wrist splint with me so I can immobilize the worst one. Unfortunately, it’s rare that I can splint both wrists at once, since I need to, oh, I don’t know, do things. Like drive. Or use a cane. Little stuff like that.

On the other hand (snicker), the base of my thumb on my right hand is incredibly painful and I can’t grip. That’s osteo. My wrist splint really doesn’t help much here. I picked up a Futuro Thumb Stabilizer and I’m really pleased. It is advertised as being especially good for arthritis and I have to agree.

This is not my hand!

Instead of the metal brace in my wrist splint, this has two plastic splints that sandwich the outside of your thumb. It’s comfortable and easy to adjust. I really like that I can take the braces out if I need to wash it. The only issue I had was that the plastic braces were not tucked into the bottom of the pocket where they are placed, so they started shifting and slipping out. Once I tucked them in properly I had no problems. One more tool in my toolbox- this will probably join my wrist splint in my every day carry bag.

There is also a deluxe version, which I might consider if I end up wearing this frequently, but I hope that won’t be necessary. (It’s always a sad day when you need to ask someone to get the cap off your deodorant for you, or have to beg one of the girls from work to put your hair in a ponytail since you can’t do it yourself).

Zombie hands. Grr.

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My latest weapon in the battle against achy joints and cold! Occasionally, I find myself with painfully achy knees and back at the same time, and two heating pads just don’t cut it. I used this blanket the other night and it worked wonderfully! Total warmth coverage everywhere I needed it. So, a few details…

It is not a quilted as I expected. “Technically” it is, indeed, quilted, but there is no stuffing between the layers. That said, the fabric is soft with a nice texture. I could feel the wiring and at first though it would be uncomfortable so I layered a thin blanket underneath but really didn’t need it and ended up taking it out. When I woke up in the morning I was wrapped up like a toasty burrito and very snuggly!

The dial lights up so it’s easy to find in the dark and adjust up or down as needed. The big dial is easy to use even with stiff hands. I could see accidentally turning it off (or a cat stepping on the button and doing so) but it’s not really an issue. I do rather wish I had chosen a different color- it’s sort of old-army-blanket brown, but I didn’t choose it to be decorative. I do really like that it’s machine washable and that you can toss it in the dryer! Hubby has had a bad cold the last few days so I’ve been camping in the guest bedroom, which is not well-insulated. This blanket is getting a workout! I also really liked the price- overall I am very, very happy with my purchase.  :}

I should also mention that I like the automatic shutoff feature, so if I get up in the morning and forget to turn it off it will do it for me. Bonus!

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Review Roundup!

A few of my review articles get a lot of attention. I thought that it might be a good idea to give a one-year out (or more) update, so here’s the first round”

Product Review: Sara Gorman Pillfold

I still have my pillfold but do not use it anymore. In the long run, the little zippers were problematic and refilling was time-consuming. I also down-scaled my purse and it took up too much room. I still love the style and it held up very well, but after the second or third time a pill was accidentally crushed I changed to a regular weekly pill case and keep my emergency pills in a little metal container on my keychain. Glad that I tried it out, but it ended up not being a good long-term use item for me. I give it three and a half stars.  :}

Product Review: Thermoskin Arthritic Gloves

These have held up very well despite being a permanent fixture in my purse. I have not had to use them as much recently, although with cooler weather I suspect they will be pulled out more often., The continue to work great and almost zero wear. I did spill a soda on them once so I tied them in a pillow case to wash on cold and then let them air dry and they seem to have come out fine. I do still wish they weren’t so obvious when I wear them but can’t argue with their effectiveness! Definitely a five-star rating!

Product Review: EMSI FLEX-Gar Back

I will be the first to admit that I do not use this as often as I should, simply because I find it awkward. Partially it may be because I do not need it as often as I used to; every time I think it would be a good idea, the battery is dead and I have to recharge it (the documentation does not recommend using the EMSI unit while plugged into the wall). I then have to run the wires through the correct spots and put it on. Even before I gained weight this was tricky on my own when my flexibility is somewhat poor- now I really need a hand. The intent is that I could wear the unit while, oh say, sitting at the computer and writing blog posts, but for the 15-20 minutes it’s running I might as well skip the back wrap hassle (my doc prefers that I lie down anyway as opposed to walking around or sitting up). In all, a good idea and helpful when I use it, but not really worth the extra work.

By the way, these products were purchased by me for my own use- no one asked me to do these reviews and I am not recompensed in any way. (That said, if there is a product you would like me to review, please ask and I’ll consider it!)

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So, way, way back I mentioned that I was having trouble with my shoulder bag (which I still haven’t posted a product review for, but probably will soon now that this is sorted). While the size and pockets were just about perfect, I had a lot of problems with the nylon strap. It was adjustable so I could wear it cross-body, but the adjustment buckles would slip, so I was constantly re-adjusting it. In addition, that slippery nylon also frequently slipped right off my shoulder. It was pretty frustrating, especially since I loved so much else about the bag.

After some research, I ordered a Neotech strap. These are designed for laptop cases or camera bags, so they’re made to not slip and be comfortable. The clips shown in the image below are easy to remove, so I replaced the strap on my bag. I had a momentary qualm since the only way to remove the old nylon strap was to cut it, but now that I’ve used the Neotech strap for a couple weeks I know that I will never go back!

Black padded shoulder strap

The broad padding is very comfortable and distributes weight well, and does not slip. The strap is still easily adjustable, and I can still wear it crossbody when I want to. I didn’t realise how much the nylon strap was aggravating my shoulders until after the change, so that was a really nice bonus.

I strongly recommend this brand, and so far is it holding up to wear well, so I can see transferring to to another bag in the future. For something relatively inexpensive, it’s a huge benefit!

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So, about six months ago I cashed in a gift card at the local home store and picked up one of these:


I am utterly thrilled so far. I read a number of reviews and chose a medium-cost one that sounded reliable and picked a winner. One section for my shampoo, one for hubby’s, and liquid soap in the middle. No more fumbling with (and dropping) slippery bottles that difficult to squeeze when my hands are bad, and less tub clutter so it’s easier to keep things clean. Plus, since it’s a measured pump I don’t have to worry about pouring out more than I need (also a problem when my motor control isn’t great).

The rack is glued to the wall and can lift off to refill, although I usually just remove the lid and pour more in. No clogging or dripping so far, and I even like the aesthetics. A hinged lid might be nice, but also might be trickier to refill, so not really a minus in any way. The buttons are big enough that I can use my palm instead of my fingers, which is also nice. Altogether, I highly recommend!

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