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One-handed lesson

March 24, 2011 - Jodelle Greiner
When I broke a bone in my left wrist Sunday, March 13, life as I knew it changed. Unable to even move my fingers without pain, I learned little things like what you eat, what you wear and your personal hygiene depend on your mobility.

Think about what you do every day. You’re not supposed to get the splint/cast wet, so can you bag you own arm with one hand to shower? Get in or out of a tub with only one hand? Can you wash your hair with one hand? Shave your armpits? Dry yourself off?

Do you own any clothes that could go over your injured arm that is now two to three times its normal size? Could you pull a shirt over your head one-handed? Get your uninjured arm into the other side of a button-up shirt when you can’t use the other hand? Pull up pants with one hand? Button or zip pants? How about your winter coat? Tie shoes? I’m not even gonna ask about your unmentionables.

Can you unscrew a sealed lid one-handed? Open a cardboard box? Hold a pot on the stove and stir? Open a baggie? Wash and dry dishes? Close a trash bag with a twist-tie? You'll find yourself using your teeth for things they were never meant to do.

How about driving? Ever tried to steer with only one hand? Grab your seat belt and buckle it? Shift? Signal?

What about your job? Could you do it one-handed? Thank God I’m right-handed, so I can at least take notes, but typing on a keyboard with only one hand is a bit of a trick. Try it some time. Even if you normally type without looking, you will have to look and go a lot slower because it’s not the way you’re used to doing it.

I’ve found out that tasks which were easy and routine with both hands suddenly take much longer and require more brain power when doing them with only one hand.

One of the reasons is you now have to consciously plan how you will do things you didn’t have to think about before, but I believe another reason is your body was designed to work in tandem with itself and forcing only one side to do all the work puts a strain on the brain.

I can’t wait to be able to use both hands again.


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