36 Hours Of Being One-Handed: A Slowly-Typed And Poorly Photographed Essay

It's been about 36 hours since the surgery to repair the extensor tendon in my right index finger, which I cut with the world's most expensive pocket knife. In that time, I've had crash course (literally) in how dependent I am on my dominant hand.

Making a proper "thumbs down" gesture. As you can see from the lead photo, I can't properly convey my displeasure with situations. It looks like an upside down "pistol" sign.

Typing. I usually type about 130 words per minute (years of MUDding and chatting will do that to you). Right now, I'm putting in a blazing 22 wpm.  And thank God for spell check. This blog post has been a pain to put together. If not for the fact that the painkillers and the pain are working in conjunction to keep my sleep as random as possible I probably would just repost something from the archives.

Making a sandwich. Every morning I make my wife a sack lunch. She loves my homemade peanut butter and pear preserve sandwiches. I have a very specific ratio of peanut butter to pear preserve. I even have the perfect spreading technique. I cut the sandwich into triangles (because really, what kind of loveless heathen cuts them into rectangles?), pack it into a Ziploc sandwich baggie, write her a sweet note (which is also REALLY difficult), and kiss her goodbye.

This morning... Well, I'll just let this short photo essay speak for itself:

Now... How do I close the stupid zipper? Well...

And afterward, I noticed I not only somehow got peanut butter on the toaster oven...

But also on the coffee maker, which is across the room:

Using Photoshop. Forget it. My right hand is my Wacom hand, and as I mentioned earlier, using a pen is nearly impossible. Even with a mouse, its ridiculously difficult to attempt to design, layout or draw anything. Doing that stuff with a mouse is kludgy, doing it with a mouse in my left hand makes everything look like a Spirograph whose gear discs are missing half its teeth.

Wiping. No more needs to be said.

Covering your mouth when you sneeze. I have, more than once, reflexively raised my right hand to cover my mouth for a sneeze, seen the bandage, tried to change hands mid-stream and ended up blowing spit and green goo on the wall.

Gaming. The right-side trigger buttons on the controller are not an option:

...And in a sad coincidence, my surgery was the same day Diablo 3 was released. Trying to play it has been a farce. I am utterly uncoordinated with my left hand where the mouse is concerned. Leave it to Joe to short-circuit the 12 years worth of enthusiasm for the release of the biggest game of the decade by being careless with his stupid pocket knife.

Petting the dog / cat. More than once, one of my cats will jump on my lap for a pet, see the gigantic monstrosity that is my right semi-hand, freak out, claw my legs and bolt. And more than once, one of my dogs will walk up for a pet, and I'll accidentally bonk it in the nose with the splint. I'm fully expecting my shoes to be filled with dog piss and cat vomit by the end of the week.

Peeling a banana. It's tough to hold the banana with the right hand, making it hard to peel with my left. And I can't hold it with my left and peel with my right, as there's really no way to grab the stem besides using my ring and pinky fingers... And they're super weak. I have found a workaround though! Years ago, this video on the "proper" way to peel a banana made the rounds. I remembered it and it was a huge help:

Balancing the checkbook. I had to write a few checks yesterday. In order to keep things sane, I needed to balance the checkbook. Below is my normal writing (which is pretty awful, I'll admit):

This is my writing with my left hand:

Balancing, period.  Remember the literal crash course I mentioned? I was groggy the night I got home from the surgery, and while going up the stairs, I slipped and lost my balance. I reached out with my right hand to brace for the fall. That pretty much sucked. And since then, I've found myself clunking the splint against the handrail when ascending or descending amy stairs.

Writing a conclusion to a "list of things" blog post. Okay, you got me. I've always sucked at that.