by Ned Stoller Ned Stoller

Here at DWC our goal is to enable those with disabilities to continue to work, whether it be full time, part-time or just to maintain your property, whether it be mowing a lawn or a small garden.  One disability with which I have firsthand knowledge with is a stroke.  As many know, a stroke is an area of brain that loses its blood supply and therefore oxygen, causing damage.  This can be severe, causing complete paralysis of a side of the body, or milder, with weakness of limbs occurring.  I had a stroke at the age of 35 in 2002. I was able to keep working to a certain extent, but worsening symptoms forced me to stop working in 2011.  Fortunately, I was not debilitated by any paralysis or weakness, but was affected by other (often severe) symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog.

Some of those with a stroke history can be without any obvious physical ailments such as a paralysis or weakness of a limb or side seen with the “typical” stroke victim.  Rather than the ailment of a motor skill, the symptoms can often manifest as chronic fatigue symptoms, brain fog, or spells.  This occurred to me. I can function very normally part of the time but have to manage my symptoms carefully by not overextending myself.  Even normal activities can tire me quickly, and without daily rest I am affected by the ‘spells’ which cause general brain fogginess and inability to think clearly.  Even with daily rest I am affected by these spells frequently.  Due to these, I have been unable to work at all in any capacity since 2011.  Even computer work to much of an extent is beyond my capabilities.

However, I am able to do some work around my small hobby farm of 13 acres.  Mowing the lawn, gardening, and even some woodworking are all tasks I can enjoy and work on.  However, I am severely limited by the length of time I can work, or even by the strenuousness of the job.

These limitations have forced me to learn how to use simple, everyday tools to save energy.  It is amazing how much of your limited supply of energy can be saved by using simple tools.

In my woodshop I have my power cords on a reel mounted overhead.  My compressed air line is also in a reel mounted overhead.     Being able to simply pull a cord or air line down to plug in or power a tool and then retract it again back into the reel automatically can save a ton of energy.  It is amazing how much of your energy can be spent trying to coil up an air line or extension cord!

Having a worktable on wheels has also been very handy.  I can keep my frequently used tools in it and roll it around as needed to different areas of my shop.  This also saves on fatigue by minimizing the need to go back and forth to grab tools to use.

Have a lawn to maintain?  Many of us use line trimmers during lawn care.  One thing is for sure, they can vibrate a lot!  Using anti-vibration gloves can help a lot by minimizing the fatigue.  They can also to a certain extent help while you are using a reciprocating saw.

Gardening obviously requires working up the soil.  For a number of years, I used a tiller (or at least tilled the garden for short periods of time and then dropped with exhaustion).  This spring I purchased a cultivator to hook to the back of my ATV.( saved me so much energy while breaking up the soil for spring planting.  (My wife does the actual seed planting, meticulous work like this just doesn’t do well with me!)  I did not have to use the tiller at all this year for spring tilling.  Next year my goal is to obtain some sort of small gas-powered cultivator for quick weed tilling around the plants to avoid general weeding as much as possible.

Having livestock of some sort requires moving feed bags around.  Even carrying around a smaller chicken feed bag can be tiring.  I have a two-wheel cart that also doubles as a wheelbarrow to make the job easier.  Now I can move the feed bags from the car to the chicken coop easily over rough ground without carrying them.  The cart also allows me to move heavier objects around my shop without having to carry them.

Fixing lawnmowers, putting together beds for the kids, even installing a car battery are all jobs that have to be done by using hand tools.  Most of us know that the use of a socket set can help complete tasks easier than using a box wrench!  However, even using a ratchet wrench can also require a decent amount of physical labor.  Just recently I started to use a power ratchet whenever I can.   I was amazed by how much simply using the power ratchet (rather than the typical hand ratchet) saves me in energy.

Maybe you can’t purchase all these items, but even using a few of them can save you a lot in your limited energy tank.

Whether you can still work at a job or cannot, I recommend looking for simple tools such as these to prevent fatigue as much as possible.  Have any other ideas?  We love to post new tool ideas for anyone to see!   Let us know by emailing us here at DWC.


Here are some links to the fatigue-saving tools I have used:

Extension Cord Reel

Air Compressor Hose Reel

Rolling Work Table

ATV Cultivator

Anti-vibration gloves

Aero Cart Garden Cart

Power Ratchet

Keep up the work!  It can be very discouraging to be limited after a debilitating event such as a stroke.  I get that.  I have found that continuing to keep active by working on hobbies, house maintenance, farm chores, or helping others provides an enormous boost mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.   Even if you don’t have normal employment and are on disability working helps your heart:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” That’s in Colossians 3:23-24.

Don’t forget as well, that the most important work was accomplished at the cross, where Jesus completed the ultimate work:

“For God so loved the world he gave his only son.”

The work of the cross is the one job no of us can do!