Family Magazine

Thoughts on One-Handedness

By Sherwoods

 I have now been stuck in a cast for twelve days.  Well, it's not actually a cast - it's a metal-foam-sandwhich brace wrapped in a very long ace bandage.  I'm not quite sure why I got this setup instead of a cast (my comprehension at the time was less than complete), but I am happy that I can take it off once a day when I shower.  

Unfortunately, I ended up with a slight crack in my elbow along with the break in my wrist, so the ace bandage-splint setup extends from my mid-upper arm down to my fingers.  My arm is fixed in a right angle and my hand is in extension, which means that my left arm is mostly useless.  I am able to wiggle the fingers on my left hand and grasp, push or squeeze things lightly, but not much else beyond that.  So most of my daily tasks are left up to my right hand (thank heaven I'm not left handed).

I was frankly surprised at the number of things that I can do one handed with no problems.  I discovered that putting in and taking out contacts with one hand is almost no different than doing it with one hand, and maybe a little easier.  If I have to rise them, I can hold a contact in my left fingers while rinsing with my right.  I'm happy that this isn't a problem, as I really don't like wearing glasses.

I can also eat, write, brush my hair, crack eggs, make my bed, hold Elizabeth (but not for long), teach school, use my phone, drive, put on shoes, brush my teeth, feed myself, and unload the dishwasher.

There are a lot of other things that I can do, but with modifications.  Getting dressed is more complicated, especially because of skinny jeans.  I can pull them up, but it takes some time.  I'm also stuck wearing short-sleeved shirts because I can't fit long-sleeved ones over my cast.  Ironically, this week has been the coldest week we've had the entire time we've lived in Tashkent.  Thankfully, our house is warm.

I can cook dinner, mostly, one handed, although it takes longer than it usually does.  Thankfully, I've been having children help me cook for several years now, so I can have them do the things that I simply can't, like grating cheese, washing dishes (I'm not sorry about that one), and chopping hard vegetables (I can slowly chop soft ones, like onions).  I also have to have them open anything with a lid, as twisting things is completely impossible.  But it is surprisingly tiring to cook dinner one-handed, and by the end of cooking dinner, feeding children dinner, and cleaning it up, I'm very worn out - especially if I have to sweep the floor.  It's been very bad luck that Brandon had a 'virtual visit' which meant phone calls every night this week.

There are some things, however, that I just can't do without two fully functional hands.  Every morning I have to get Sophia to pull my hair back in a ponytail, as that combines bending my arm, holding things tightly with my hand, and twisting - which are all very off-limits.  I'm very glad that Sophia likes to do hair, as everyone else in my family is completely and totally useless at doing ponytails.  Brandon made an attempt once and that was enough for him.  

I also can't change dirty diapers.  In a pinch, I can change non-poopy diapers and dress Elizabeth, but when it comes to messy jobs, I just can't manage keeping her fat, kicking legs out of the mess while wiping her stinking bum.  I've allowed everyone to use disposable diapers until my hand is functional again as I don't hate my family that much.  I have to confess, however, that, I'm not that sad about skipping diaper duty for the next month and half. 

But despite the small benefit of being off diaper duty, I'm looking forward to having two fully functional hands again.  I am getting used to planning out a lot of my more complicated maneuvers in advance, remembering the three comfortable positions I can sleep in, and not picking up Elizabeth with my left arm.  By the end of six weeks, I'll have mostly forgotten what it's like to do everything with two hands and will probably take some time to remember that I'm not one-handed anymore.  But I'm fairly confident that I'll get used to it pretty quickly - even if I am back to changing poopy diapers again.

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