I wanted to share with you guys the six products that have helped me cope with being ill, in pain, and bedbound the most recently - those which have made enough of a difference to my life that I would highly recommend them to other people in similar circumstances. It can be hard to find things that are actually worth the money you pay ... and there are SO many gimmicky products that tell you they'll somehow revolutionise your life, when all they really do is make you poorer. ;)
The Marpac SleepMate White Noise Machine
Bit of a bigger review here simply because I posted one on Amazon a while back so I can just copy/paste to save effort.
Oh my gosh, this is one of the best things I've ever owned!!! Some of my biggest problems right now are noise intolerance and insomnia. For years I've slept with a large fan on in the summer, and the white noise it makes lulls me to sleep, and it shuts out so much household noise that it helps me stay asleep. It also makes me more relaxed while I'm awake, and lessens the 'jump' effect when there's a sudden noise in the house. Of course in the winter the large fan isn't always an option, and I always struggle more with my sleep. (and miss it when I'm awake too!) This year my noise intolerance has been particularly bad, and so I started to search for an alternative to my fan.
After some research, I decided to try a white noise machine, and I got one this Christmas, part gift from my parents, part gift to myself. I had read that the machine sometimes takes a week or so to get used to, and also to find the settings that work best for each individual, and that was the case for me even though I'm so used to constant white noise. (There is quite a lot of difference in tone and volume on the different settings available.) I tried out different tones during waking hours for the first week, while I adjusted to it, but it soon faded into the background and I started using it at night after about 5 days.
It's a very simple design and I would imagine it could keep running for a long time without any problems, though of course I can't give you a personal account of that. No, it's not fancy - but to me that's a plus because to use internal fans rather than a recorded sound (which is what lots of other noise machines are) means that there is no 'loop' in the noise - it's a very even, consistent noise, much more so than an actual fan, actually.
I've had the unit on almost constantly for 3 and a half months now, and I absolutely love it! I'm honestly not sure I could live without one now!! It actually blocks out more noise than my large fan ever did. I don't find it irritating at all, which I have to admit I was initially concerned about.
I'd recommend this machine to anyone struggling with their sleep or with needing a quiet environment, and most definitely for anyone with any kind of noise intolerance! Honestly, I couldn't rate it higher than I do!!
Perskindol Active Gel
A fellow ME blogger, Living Life from a Bed, recommended this product to me, and I'm SO glad she did! I've used 4head for migraines for years - a cooling menthol based stick that you rub on your forehead which instantly cools the area and essentially blocks the pain receptors - but it hadn't really ever occurred to me to find a similar product for pain elsewhere in my body. Perskindol is pretty much exactly that. It's a gel containing various essential oils including menthol and wintergreen (it smells basically like root beer, lol)
I've pretty much instantly taken to this gel. It smells quite strong but not offensive like some of the products on the market like Deep Heat etc. (which are so strong they stink your room out for days, plus make your skin feel like it's burning - they're the reason I hadn't tried any of these sorts of products for my ME pain) Once you've applied the gel, it can take a few minutes to really kick in, but then the area gets cold and the pain is reduced. I've found it's particularly affective for my RSI and for my feet which have quite a bit of very painful oedema right now. I hate that it's going to cost me that bit of money each month, but I'm afraid it's just become an essential!!
The Book Seat
This product is so simple it's genius! I literally couldn't read books without it, because it's too painful, and my hands are too weak, to hold a book open. (Though I've only been able to cope with audiobooks recently because of neuro issues, I ultimately by far prefer reading the book myself and this is the only way I'm able to do so now.) It's perfect for using on a bed, too, because you can position it on any angle. It needs little explanation, really. Your book (it holds even a large hardback book) sits on it, the pages are propped open by a transparent plastic bar at the front of the 'seat' and it's full of polystyrene beads so it can be moulded into the perfect position. I LOVE my book seat! ;)
As they sound, these are bags filled with wheat, which can be heated in the microwave (or cooled in the freezer) and applied to areas of pain. They're much better than hot water bottles, both because they're much more convenient, and because they mould to your body. You can buy them in heaps of places nowadays - just search them on google. :) They come in all shapes and sizes, to best fit different areas of your body.
These are absolutely my most necessary pillows - I've had several of them on my bed for years now, and they're just outstanding for my needs. I have an astounding number of pillows on my bed. Body pillows supporting me right down my body, pillows for my head, pillows for my legs, and pillows supporting my arms. And without them I'm basically a gibbering wreck of pain.
You can get a fragrance free version, so it's probably safe for the majority of ME/CFS patients, unless you have MCS or something similar.
I hope these recommendations might help you guys - I'd love to hear from you if you try any of these items, or already have, and what you think of them! :)
What other products have you found which help you deal with your illness and pain?
I'd love to hear your reply and I know it'll be valued by other readers too! I always try to respond, please just be aware that it can take me some time to find the energy to do so as I've been particularly ill recently and struggling to get online. Thanks for reading! :)