Quadriplegic's Morning Routine

This article contains a video
a woman smiling
Curated by
Denile Doyle
Content via Mason Ellis
Mason Ellis
Curated by
Denile Doyle

Mason, a C5/C6/C7 quadriplegic, demonstrates his daily morning routine which includes applying deodorant, brushing his teeth, shaving, using mouthwash, and washing his hands.

Applying Deodorant

The first step in Mason’s routine is applying deodorant. Mason says that while he was in rehab after his injury, therapists applied a sticky substance to the tube so he could grip it better. But now Mason is able to hold the tube without any adaptations. Mason wraps his left hand around the deodorant tube, and uses the thumb fingernail on his right hand to push the lid off. After he removes the lid, he switches hands, then applies his deodorant.

“I just put [deodorant] on like a normal human being.”

Brushing Teeth

Mason brushes his teeth next, using “just a regular toothbrush.” Again, Mason says he initially used a foam tube around the handle of his toothbrush so he could grip it better. But now he uses a tenodesis grip to hold the handle. He secures the toothbrush in his right hand between his thumb, index, and middle fingers, and pops the toothpaste cap open. He places the open tube on the counter and squeezes the toothpaste onto his toothbrush. Rinsing is simple: Mason fills a cup with water and rinses his mouth clean.


For shaving, he uses an electric razor with a cap that easily pops off. A button on the front of the razor makes turning it on and off uncomplicated, and Mason points out that the razor is easy to use even with his lack of finger function.


After shaving, Mason rinses with mouthwash. He holds the bottle of mouthwash to his chest using his right wrist, and squeezes the cap just enough, before using his mouth to completely unscrew it. He sets the cap on the counter, pours the liquid in it, and rinses.


The last step in the routine is handwashing, but Mason doesn’t use any elaborate technique when he washes his hands. He demonstrates his use of a soap pump, and explains, “I just put it on my lap and I push down.” He sets a drop of soap on top of his hand, then rubs his hands together and washes them under the faucet.

And with that, Mason’s morning bathroom routine is complete in under 15 minutes!

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