Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Trick of One-Handed Living

I've mentioned previously that I have very little function in my left hand.  I also live alone. When you live alone, and you have to live one-handed, you have to get creative. If you're curious, try doing your morning routine one-handed:

  • Shower, teeth-brushing, styling your hair (I don't shave my face, of course, so the guys will have to tell me how that goes.)

  • Dressing (including putting on your bra, ladies.).

  • Making breakfast. Try something simple, but throw in a little trick like cutting up a banana for your cereal or spreading some peanut butter on your toast.

  • Putting on shoes with laces. Try this even if you don't intend to wear them.

Every Problem Has a Solution...Even One-Handed Living Problems

I don't suggest that you do any of this as a "See how hard Sarah has it" exercise. I don't have it that hard. The thing is, I've found ways to get around most of these challenges, to the point where I manage my life one-handed without even really thinking about it anymore. I have an adapted cutting board and a special knife to help with cutting up food. My sneakers have stretchy shoelaces in them that don't require tying.  I figured out a way fairly early in physical rehabilitation to put my bra on one-handed so that I wouldn't have to wear a sports bras all the time (email me if you want to know, ladies).

And for the stuff for which there isn't a tool or an established trick - I figured something out. Because when you live alone, if you don't find a way to do something, and you're as stubborn about asking for help as I am, it doesn't get done.  I'm not always successful on the first try, it's not always graceful or pretty (I'm sure that getting the cat into the carrier last week to get her to the vet was...as painful-looking as it actually was). Yes, there are some things that I simply can't manage one-handed- but you'd be surprised at what I've found ways to do.

I'm not special. You'd do the same thing.

Hope for My Hair

One thing that's been very difficult for me to manage one-handed from the moment I had the stroke is my hair. I had long hair when I went into the hospital for surgery. I came out with shorter hair. It's been very short sometimes, but I always end up missing my long hair too much, so I grow it out again - so it can sit limp on my shoulders, because you really need two hands to do just about anything with long hair. I've figured out how to put it up in a clip when it's long enough, but I miss being able to put it in even a simple ponytail.

Which is why I was thrilled to find this video yesterday:

Talk about creativity and problem-solving! I might have just enough function in my left hand to manage it...looks like I may be practicing putting my hair in a ponytail in my spare time.

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