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While gift-giving is common for special occasions and during the holiday season, people living with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) could use a little extra love year-round. Here’s a long list of items I use almost daily (I really have used all these items recently)! The prices I included are as of the date this was written:
Hot or cold?
1. A heated mattress pad – this is my fall-through-spring bed staple item, and my cats love it too.
2. A moist heat heating pad. My favorite brand is Battle Creek, but be aware that their products get super hot!
3. A simple bean or rice microwave heating pad or sock. You can even make these at home using – you guessed it – a (clean) sock and a couple cups of rice. Please research this before making!
Things to wear
4. This funny “Ankylosing Spondylitis, not a dinosaur, but close” awareness shirt ($22) on Zazzle (ok, so I’m a little biased since I came up with the idea). Oh, and you can buy one for yourself too, because awareness.
5. Compression gloves for painful, inflamed hands. I have like four pairs, and my favorite brand is IMAK.
6. These Delicate F–king Flower socks (yes, there’s a swear word on them), because some days I need the reminder. Check out their other socks, too. They’re f–king amazing.
7. This Sherpa Blanket with Sleeves is like a Snuggie, but so much better. I’m 5’10” and this lightweight blanket covers even my feet when I’m sitting up in bed with my legs stretched out.
8. These Hatch Half-Finger Wheelchair Gloves for wheelchair-users. The gel padding on the palm and thumb is perfect. Make sure you get the right size or they won’t work properly.
9. A back support pillow with arms or a wedge pillow. Perfect for sitting up in bed without the awkwardness of haphazardly arranging multiple pillows behind you.
10. A non-slip bathtub pillow for soaking days, because baths are nice but can get uncomfortable fast!
11. A cushioned, suctioned bathmat – for the tub! I keep mine in the bottom of the tub for comfort.
12. A reading/snacking bathtub tray. Have I mentioned I like baths?
13. A cushioned lap desk. This is the ticket for people who like/need to read, draw, work on a laptop, or tackle insurance bills and appointment scheduling from bed or a recliner.
14. A foam roller. They’re the best for tight iliotibial bands and other hard-to-stretch areas of the body.
15. A cane. There’s no shortage of fashionable and functional canes – folding canes, clear acrylic canes, ergonomic canes…
16. Pain relief gel or cream. My favorite is Biofreeze. Just make sure you don’t take a full bath in this stuff or you’ll be shivering through the night whispering, “Biofreeeze, biofreeeeeze, bioFREEEZE” over and over and over. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Don’t touch your eyes with it either. This stuff is hard to find in brick and mortar stores and comes in gel, spray, and roll-on form.
17. A pill sorter. My favorite is this really awesome stacking rainbow weekly pill sorter. I like it so much I have three! It holds a pretty large number of pills and can be screwed closed as loosely as needed for arthritic hands.
18. Keychain pill holders. Before I knew these existed I would forget to take emergency pain medication on the go, but now I have a stash wherever I am. One of the best inventions ever.
19. A pill cutter, because they really come in handy.
20. A home tens unit. Mine is rechargeable and comes with replacement pads.
21. A Theracane massager. I discovered this contraption back when I was a professional mover; it is amazing because it gives the user complete control over the pressure and location of a personal massage in multiple areas of the the body.
22. A massage with a trained and certified massage therapist (bonus points if they know what AS is ahead of time)! This is one you’ll have to look up locally. Pro-tip: check first to make sure your loved one can actually tolerate massages.
23. A yoga mat or stability ball (or both) for stretches, balance, and flexibility at home. When I was working full-time I used a stability ball as a desk chair.
24. A gift of any amount to popular websites that offer home goods and living essentials. I often look for items I need online (including groceries!) when I’m not feeling well enough to leave my home.
Also, cooked food delivery gift cards are super helpful for those of us who can’t cook all the time Like, here’s $10 off your first order with GrubHub.
26. Extra long charging cords for gadgets and phones. Because sometimes the bed is just too far from the plug.
Finally, the most important gift:
27. A stuffed animal. Yes. A stuffed animal. I take my stuffed sloth named Remi (short for Remicade) to my infusions. Because I feel like a sloth there.
Not done shopping? Check out my other gift post for more ideas: 29 More Gifts for Someone with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Many of the items on this list were gifts from people in my life! I hope this guide is helpful as you shop for that special person in your life who has AS, whether it is for a surprise care package or a gift under the tree. I want to stress that while these products are helpful for me, they won’t be helpful to everyone with AS.
If there’s something I didn’t mention that helps you, please comment below.
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