Take some of the “ow!” out of turning a key

Last week I received a bubbly email from Jenny. She asked me to review a product she represents because, she explained, she thought it might be helpful for people with arthritis in their hands and fingers.

Hmm, thought I. And what new, wondrous, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that product might this be? I read on.

Key caps. Yep, little colored caps for your house keys, mail keys, office keys, you-name-it keys. With stick-on labels.

Now, these are handy in their own right. But how in the world might they help people with rheumatoid disease, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, and any of the other 100-or-so types of arthritis? Jenny piqued my interest. I had to know, so I replied to her email, agreeing to try her key caps and review them for my RheumaBlog readers.


Nice, neat, easy-to-open packaging. I just taped the top closed again so I won’t lose my key caps.

My set of Label-Label Key Caps—that’s the brand—arrived on Saturday. I immediately set to liberating a few, along with their labels, from the package*. There were eight (8) key caps in a variety of both bright primary and pastel colors, and two sets of 16 labels (eight printed with HOME, GARAGE, OFFICE, and GATE, and eight blank, for each key cap.)

*Anyone who has arthritis in their hands knows the blood-pressure-raising fury that takes hold when faced with that Horrible Plastic Eggshell (HPE) packaging. It can’t be pried open without amazing, muscle-y gyrations (maybe a very large octopus could do it) and cutting the stuff requires ultra-strong, sharp scissors—or better, a terrorist-style box-cutter with a brand-new razor blade. Not only are HPE packages dreadfully painful for anyone with arthritis to open, the cut edges of the plastic casing are dangerously sharp and poke-y. There. Will. Be. Blood.

But I’m off on a tangent-rant. They don’t package Label-Label Key Caps in that bloody HPE!


It was super-easy to access the key caps and the labels.

Instead, the clear plastic package is thin and molds around the shape of the key caps, yes. But it’s attached to the thin cardboard backing (not more cursed HPE!) by three simple, narrow folds and a single staple, not that aggravating Eternal Adhesive from Hell (EAH). The top of the packet is open. It was too tight for me to slide a finger down into, but I was easily able to unfold one side of the plastic to access both the key caps and the labels.

None-to-minimal pain, people. This is important.

I hand-lettered one of the sticky labels “Mom” and stuck it onto my house key (which I washed off first with a little soap and water, as per instructions, which were simple and clear). The label stuck tight and stayed when I stretched the key cap over it. The letters fit into the little window perfectly.

The rubbery key caps themselves are thick, soft, and grippy. And they’re amazingly stretchy. Mom’s condo key is easily the largest of the keys on my key ring, other than my car key, but the bright yellow Label-Label Key Cap stretched neatly over it.

There was one drawback: putting the rubbery cap on the key was tough for me. My hands and fingers have been particularly tender and swollen because of an ongoing flare and a rapidly rising barometer. Working the cap over the key and snugging it down elicited a fair amount of wincing and groaning. It hurt.

However, I did it. It took only about 30 seconds and was absolutely worth the discomfort.



Because now, Mom’s bright red house key is easy to see and pick out from among all the others on my ring. Not only that: because of the thick, rubbery cap, it’s easier for me to grip and turn when unlocking and re-locking the door (I tried it). So in spite of that one wee drawback, Label-Label Key Caps are a Label-Label win-win, just as Jenny promised they would be.

I wanted to use another key cap for my aunt’s house key, but because of the “ouch” factor, I asked my 82-year-old mother to put it on for me. She did it cheerfully–and easily–in no time. Nothing wrong with her fingers!

So, see, if your hands are too sore for you to put your Label-Label Key Caps on your keys yourself, then anyone standing around handy nearby can manage it for you, if they’re nice like my mother. It will make them smile—it’s sort of fun to put the cap on the key. Plus, they get to help someone they like and admire, and this little good deed adds a few more degrees of positive energy to their life-karma. Another Label-Label win-win!

And since we’re speaking of wins, Jenny from Label-Label Key Caps informed me that the company would be delighted to invite RheumaBlog’s fans to win some free key caps of their own. She wrote, “…in order to win a package of key caps, they must go to our Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/1rnMrdd, like our page, share one of our posts, and comment below the color of key caps they like best!”

Sounds pretty easy to me. 😉

Label-Label Key Caps really are a fine little product. I had fun trying them and writing about them. And they’ll make unlocking the door just a little less “owwww-y!

Posted in RA

A Few Photos For Fun

I mentioned in my last post that my daughter’s birthday was last week. Here’s the cake I made her just before she arrived:


And here is it afterward:


I started a new art project too: colored pencils on pastel paper. The subject? A Stellar’s jay that lives near my home in the mountains.



Posted in RA

Wren’s Monthly Update

Hard to believe it’s been nearly a month since I last posted!

And yes, June was a busy month–just as I anticipated. Suddenly, my freelance workload picked up, so I was squashing in bursts of writing at all hours between numerous trips to Sacramento County to visit and tour potential new homes, sorting and packing stuff from closets and from under beds, bittersweet runs to the local hospice charity thrift with boxes full of donations, and several irksome dump runs.

And of course, along with the physical work, there was the emotional cost of preparing for a move as momentous as this one. Nerves were jumpy, tempers on edge, the next mini-burn-out just one more aggravation away.

But we did it. I’m pleased to say that Mom and I weathered the storm. Aside from a few flat-out sick days for her and my usual daily thrum of rheuma-dragon-induced discomfort, we did just fine. It was all systems go.

Then our buyer’s loan fell through. We’d finally found the perfect condo and were *this* close to putting money down; while we were both glad everything went pfffft before that money changed hands, we were pretty bummed. We still are, since it means starting all over again. But as time moves on, we’re both glad to have a little breathing space again. (And of course, just as the pressure was relieved, my writing assignments slowed back down to a trickle. I’m going to do some artwork instead.)

Mom’s condo is back on the market, so we’re once again keeping it in pristine, eat-off-the-floor condition 24/7 (an aside: my mother being the fanatical neat-nik that she is–and her advancing age hasn’t changed that–her home has always been pristine 95 percent of the time, so this isn’t any huge change  😉 ).

And of course, I always look for–and find–silver linings. Although there still may be some culling and tossing left to do depending on the size of the apartment or condo we eventually move into, I think we did darned good job of Getting Rid of Things. The Load is much smaller. In fact, some of the hardest stuff, emotionally, has been dealt with. When this move finally happens, I’m hopeful that it will be much less painful overall than it might have been.

My RA has been bothersome, but it didn’t ramp up into The Awful Flare I was afraid of. FDR was never so right as when he said “the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” It remains concentrated mainly in my hands and feet, a constant, mostly-low-level throb and ache. When it grows larger, I can just about count on seeing that the barometer is rising on my Weather.com page. And while there have been some rough, painful nights, even those were relatively few. So far, so good.

In other news, my daughter turned 33 (!!?!) last week. I baked her a rainbow cake and gave her a very nice set of high-quality colored pencils. Like me, she’s an artist, so I hope the gift will inspire and motivate her. I have the same set myself–and I’m about to start a new project.

Why now? Why not?

I hope this finds all of you feeling good and enjoying the summer. Here’s wishing everyone a great 4th of July.


Posted in RA