Rigid External Distraction survival
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Basic Tips
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  • Wedge Pillow - these are those triangular pillows that raise the head in a way that mimics a hospital bed.  They are great for keeping the head elevated at night which can reduce pain and swelling from gravity.  The same effect can be attained by stacking regular pillows as well.

  • Small Pillow that can fit between the bars of the RED halo that stick out the back of the head.  This prevents the bars from having to support the entire head and causing unnecessary pressure on the pin sites when the patient is laying on his or her back.

  • Travel Neck Pillow - these can provide extra support so that, again, there is not unnecessary pressure directly on the RED.

  • Miniature Heating Pad - super easy to make yourself: take an old sock and dump a big handful of lentil beans inside, then tie or sew the end shut.  Then, just microwave them as needed.  These are great because you can make them as big or small, stuffed or loose as you want, and they're extremely light weight, so they won't hurt resting against your sensitive face like a normal dense heating pad might.

  • Baby Spoons - normal spoons are just to big to use when the RED is in the way and muscles are too swollen to get the jaw open very wide.  Plus, they're just cute

  • Syringes of all shapes and sizes - ask the hospital for a bunch before you leave.  Use them to shoot any sort of liquid into your mouth, since cups are tough to use and straws are absolutely impossible.

  • Sports Water Bottles - you know those water bottles that football players always use, the kind with the super-long straw that they can use to squirt water through the bars of their helmets?  Well, just pretend the RED is a football helmet that never comes off and get some of these because they're another awesome way to get liquids into your mouth!

  • Blender/Food Processor - since you're not allowed to chew, get ready for some gourmet puree!

  • Mini Alarm Clock - put this baby in your pocket and set it to remind you when to take the next pill.  You will have a lot of medications, so be diligent about taking them on time!

  • Medication Chart - this isn't something you buy, but rather something you should invest a few minutes to making.  Just list all your meds and record when and how much of each you take, thus preventing the unnecessary stress of trying to memorize everything.

  • Baby Toothbrush - same idea as the baby spoon, it just fits better

  • Water Pick - brushing your teeth is tough, even with the baby toothbrush.  A GENTLE water pick (not the kind with fire hose pressure) can help to keep teeth clean.

  • Zip-N-Squeeze Bags - these were brought to my attention by Jackie Tait.  They are bags with straws, but instead of sucking, you just squeeze the bag with your hands.  I've never used one, but it sure looks like it would be helpful for RED patients!  Check it out at: www.zip-n-squeeze.com

    Did I leave anything off?  If so, let me know about it!  I'd love to add your suggestions to the list!
Food and Diet
Handling the Public