I sometimes have wobbly hands. They’re especially bad when I’m tired or stressed. When tired or stressed, tea usually helps. But with wobbly hands, it tends to go everywhere. Also, lifting heavy things, like mugs of tea, wear my hands out so they shake more. When it all gets too much, on rest days I find drinking hot things while lying in bed is unstable, because I’m drowsy and uncoordinated, and because straws from hot mugs of tea are a messy siphoning accident waiting to happen.
More specifically, I had an important meeting, where I felt sufficiently stressed for my body to start playing up. I had a dry throat, and couldn’t drink at all without serious hand tremors,
The only thing on the market is the HandSteady mug. You can read all about it and see pictures on their website, www.handsteady.com.
What it’s like to use
At a desk or in a meeting: It’s easy to use, but takes a few times to get used to. It’s very adaptable, so whatever part of my hands isn’t working today, there’s some way I can lift the cup easily. My favourite is flipping the handle upside down and lifting from the top, which means I can keep my grip very level and reduce the strain on my wrist. It’s very lightweight compared to a solid china mug, so noticeably it doesn’t tire my arms out as much.
In terms of the tremors, the mug does still wobble a bit when my hand shakes – you have to get the axis of rotation lined up with the hand spasms or it doesn’t help at all – but given that my hands shake more when they’re tired/under a lot of pressure, and it reduces the stress, pain and weight my hands have to take, my hands shake less overall, I think.
When I’m in bed: it’s easily to drink from, because you can hold the handle steady while rotating the mug only, so it’s easier to do at an angle when your arms are a bit off. It’s wide enough that it doesn’t fall over – with the lightweight plastic material, the relative weight of the liquid is greater, so it doesn’t topple so easily as a denser material. You can balance it on a mattress which you’re lying on. Still, for cold drinks, a sports-style water bottle is easier.
Everyone thinks it’s really cool, some even saying they should get themselves one of them. Despite not realising what it’s for at first, all my colleagues like it, and (importantly) are very happy making me tea in it. However, when they do pick it up full rather than empty, they all react to it, saying it’s really weird! Because people like the mug, then they tell people about it, then in passing mention that I have wobbly hands – it’s a good conversation starter.
I’ve never found the action unexpected, but then I have got a degree in mechanical engineering and fluid dynamics, so I guess I should have a good instinct for these things.
It’d be good to make more people aware of its existence – a hospital nurse made me a cup of tea this week, said it was cool, but didn’t realise it could help his patients because he hadn’t twigged what it was for.
It is very refreshing to have a product which looks good – style is never usually a key feature of products made for the mobility-impaired, but it really matters that the design looks good as the confidence boost of not spilling things could be taken away by the embarrassment of something which screamed ‘Pity me, I’m disabled’. At 26, I’d rather fall from gorgeous heels than walk stably in beige velcro old lady shoes.
I emailed the inventor to thank him, he was super-friendly and as nice as he comes over in the website videos. The mug may seem quite expensive at £39, but then so are replacement coffees and dry cleaning bills, or career mistakes like shaking tea everywhere like a weirdo when trying to get your point across. For something I now take everywhere with me, it’s a small price to pay for the added confidence and dignity.