A “New” Cast

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One night, my hand was swelling and getting numb/tingling. I called my ortho’s office and they told me to go back to the ER the next day.¬† I was given a “clamshell” cast. Basically, the cast is cut, front and back of the arm, and wrapped with a bandage. The two halves are strapped together but can be separated and adjusted to make room for the swelling. This was a great improvement. It was much better. It still swelled so I applied lots of ice as often as directed.

Pressure points were still a problem. The cast pushed on a spot at the base of my thumb making it very sore. And hard to get at. Why!? And I have incredibly dry skin on Both hands. Lotion, lotion, lotion!!

Note: I got the cast off after five weeks. I had nasty looking dry skin and no flexibility in my wrist. I was told I must do physical therapy exercises or my hand would end up being just a fly swatter. Certainly a gruesome image. And an incentive to get moving, literally.

This is all new and a bit scary, not knowing what the end result will be, how long it will take to get there.

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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.

One-Handed Wonder?

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How does one tie anything with one hand? Using teeth was a no-no from dentists. Oh well. And forget about hair elastics as they were impossible. I started wearing rolled bandanas as headbands. Tying shoes proved to be very hard. Thank God for elastic laces, and that I didn’t have to worry about neckties. Just had to get me some “e-laces”. The search was on.

I was still blessed with one good, -non-dominant-, hand, and trying to keep it that way. I was extra vigilant while walking. And I made sure my floor was clear of “hazards”. No more accidents, please. Again, it was amazing what is taken for granted.

I couldn’t lift, in any way, with the hand or fingers. This made for inventive new ways of doing things. I started balancing things on my cast. I carried little items in the sling. I clipped my keys to loops and rings on my purse, etc. My purse was now a cross-body bag so it wouldn’t fall off a shoulder. I carried some things between my arm and body when there was no other choice. And people do ‘magically’ offer to help sometimes when they see the sling/cast.

I was living a one-handed life, albeit temporary, and appreciating the two-handed life more every day.