Conquering one-handed mealtime troubles

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Chasing a piece of food around my plate is, I an sure an experience shared by many people who are unable to use a knife and fork

The disability I contend with on a daily basis is caused by multiple sclerosis and affects the left side of my body primarily. This includes my left arm and hand so rendering me unable to use both knife and fork.

For years, I have struggled on, trying to use just a fork but only after any solid food has been cut into mouth sized pieces. At home, this has always fallen to my wife Lisa who put her meal aside to make eating easier for me.


Crown Princess`s main dining room.

The same thing happened in restaurants until one day on board the Crown Princess cruise ship, a waiter saw her cutting up my steak and asked if there was anything wrong with the food. I explained the problem was mine, not the food and he whisked the plate away saying he would do it.

The next night, again my meat needed cutting. Lisa was about to start preparing it for me to eat, when the waiter said: “No, no, no. That’s my job.”

Since then, whenever we have eaten out, I have always talked to the waiter and have never had any difficulty in getting my meal delivered, pre-cut, as requested. It is help but not independence.

Fork to spoon to spork

More recently, at home, I tried switching from a fork to a spoon, with great results. But while it is easier to pick up most foods, I still wanted a fork too.

One thing I did discover, though, is you can use a spoon’s natural shape to cut by rocking it backwards and forwards. I could cut my own food again. But chasing that last piece or two remained a problem without a fork.

“You need a spork,” said Lisa, knowingly. I know what it is, a combination of spoon and fork. But my mind just envisaged the small plastic ones KFC gives out with coleslaw.

My long suffering but loving and caring wife couldn’t hide her snort  of derision. “Men,” she muttered, almost under her breath as she fetched her laptop.

sporkA few days later, we received a delivery from Amazon. Inside, a pack of six sporks, sturdy, large and stainless steel.  Not sure why six. I just need one.

That night, I cut my own meat, used my new friend as either spoon or fork to transfer food from plate to mouth, and avoided chasing that last piece of food by spearing it with the spork’s fork prongs.

Some independence back, thanks to a simple household utensil.

Thank you, spork.

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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre      not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)    Colour                               not color                                                                                     Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                      Haematology                not hematology                                                                          Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.


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