Grabbing the Perfect Gift

When asked to write a My Favorite Things blog post, I immediately knew what I was going to write about! This product might not be *perfect* for everyone, but if you or a loved one have had changes in mobility or strength like what I’m about to describe, this gift could be great!

My dad is a big guy, 6’4” 220lbs, and for as long as I can remember, he performed manual labor around our house (including building from start to finish the very first home I ever lived in!). As a child and even into my adulthood, he epitomized “dad strength”, performing physical feats I thought were impossible without multiple people or proper tools (lifting an incredibly large stone or moving a piano, for example). 

In 2018, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer that metastasized to his spine. To address the tumors on his spine, he needed many rounds of radiation as well as 3 back surgeries with another scheduled for next year. His treatments left his bones brittle and weak. He can no longer walk around our home without a walker and uses a motorized scooter when he leaves the house. He also can’t grasp things as firmly any more. The transition from an incredibly independent, strength-forward person to one who now has to ask for help when he wants something on the top shelf has been a really hard one, especially for him and my mom.

My dad’s cancer diagnosis and treatment led to a quick physical decline that none of us were expecting. This led us to find his new favorite tool– the grab-o-matic (not its official name)!

My dad has these all around the house, in all different colors. They allow him to regain some of the autonomy he lost by being able to reach and grab things kept in higher locations and not have to ask my mom for help. He uses them to help put on his socks and shoes in the morning because he can’t bend down to do it anymore. He uses them to give my mom a loving pinch when she is out of arms reach, although I can’t recommend it for this, as it doesn’t always turn out how my dad expected (aka sometimes my mom yells at him!).

It may seem silly, but this gift has helped my dad shift his perspective and improve his quality of life. It’s helped him regain a little bit of autonomy, and it’s brought more laughter back into our home. 

Katherine is a licensed social worker who received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. She has worked in both adult and pediatric oncology as well as in psychosocial research. She is now working as an oncology educational content specialist with OncoLink. Katherine is passionate about improving the lives of others through education, innovation, and research. She lives in central PA with her husband and two children. Katherine and her husband love to travel and try new foods and are doing their best to initiate their kids into the same lifestyle, although currently, the most commonly eaten food in their house is bananas and chicken nuggets.  

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