A Mile In Other People’s Shoes

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I am definitely walking a mile in other peoples’ shoes. Yes, I realize this is a temporary condition for me. But it has opened my eyes to a new reality. And has made me appreciate what I have just expected and lived with all these years.

I now understand the Basics of life without use of one arm and hand. So many things were difficult if not barely possible for me. To name just a few of my discoveries, I asked other people, ex., waitstaff in restaurants, to cut my food (meat, pasta) for me, my hair didn’t see an elastic in Weeks, showering took some serious thought and prep, and getting dressed was an adventure dependent on gravity and quick, on-the-fly tosses and grabs. Lifting “light” things, unscrewing jar lids or lightbulbs, wringing out a towel or my hair, and tying shoes or a bandana were all hard or impossible.

I’ll go back to life as usual in a few weeks. First I have to get my body back to “normal”. This is sure to be a slow process. I am sure my wrist and its muscles have forgotten a few things. They will have to be (painfully) reminded.  Therapy awaits. I hope I get to use my new friend, ice, during this.

As I said, in a few weeks, I go back to a ‘normal’ life. Through this process, I am realizing that other people can’t. It is a humbling wake-up call about all the things I have taken for granted being able to do without difficulty, or pain. I will try to keep these in mind as I go about living from now on.

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Training New Brain Cells

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Was I disabled? No, not really. It was just harder to do everyday, usual things.

Lifting and carrying took more thought. I had to consider how to balance things, etc. I couldn’t use my casted fingers for Anything. Nothing could be two-handed.

Getting dressed was a challenge, ex., judging sleeve size to fit my cast. Thank God for short sleeve/T-shirt weather. Sandals were fine if they were velcro’ed. Slip-on shoes! Elastic waistbands were how I rolled.

Taking showers was an adventure. I employed a newspaper bag and a rubber band to shield my cast from the wetness. Washing and drying my hair was difficult. Hotel-sized shampoo containers were best. I almost mastered the one-handed towel turban. Brushing my hair left-handed was new. Training new brain cells I guess.

Makeup, well I was perfecting the art of applying mascara in a new way. As long as I didn’t poke my eyes out…

Eating involved remedial use of a fork (or spoon). Cutting anything was out of the question, temporarily. Pouring things took practice and patience. Cooking was not  attempted. Making coffee was a success! Opening and closing containers was difficult. I was confounded by potato chip bags and cracker packets and anything sealed tightly.

Sleeping with my arm elevated, or at least vertical, was something I got used to, mostly. Weird, but necessary. Propped pillows was an art form.

This was my new life, and though temporary, I gained insight into a small piece of how it is to live this way. It was a very small but useful sliver of experience.