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Dot A. Sale

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Repenting In Leisure
by Dot A. Sale   

Last edited: Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2002

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How I survived breaking my good hand

Repenting in Leisure

One of the most popular questions people have asked me since I broke my left hand is. ďAre you going to write about it?Ē
Not one to pass up a challenge, no matter how difficult it might be at the time, here goes.
I wish I could say I did something brave or admirable to get this injury, but the truth is I did something stupid. The usual guess has been, when told I had a run-in with a waterbed, that I fell out of it. The truth is, I lost my temper Ė yes I do have one Ė and hit the waterbedís very hard wooden frame on purpose. I swung both hands out of frustration when the leaking mattressís patch wouldnít seal and, luckily, only damaged one, not both of my hands.
Even more luckily, the unwieldy splint which originally encased it, was replaced four days later by a half cast that will stay on for only three weeks, not the estimated 4 Ė 8 weeks, before being x-rayed again.
Times like this, when I realize just how much I rely on my left hand for everything, Iíve discovered the true meaning of several well-worn quotations. Speak in haste; repent in leisure. In my case, it was more like strike out without thinking in frustration, and repent while you try to cope without it. Iím still working on finding any leisure time.
Necessity is the mother of invention must have been the brainchild of someone either physically challenged permanently or temporarily like me, or who knew someone else who was.
As I try to cope one-handed for awhile, I think of how my father-in-law and others like him must do some of the same things Iím trying to do on a permanent basis. In his case, though he ultimately lost his left hand permanently as a result of a boating accident, he was luckily born right-handed.
Iím finding it amazing what I can accomplish with one hand when I really work at it. Sometimes I do have to cheat, though, and use my teeth or a foot. While personal hygiene is a challenge in itself, eating anything with your opposite hand - let alone anything that requires cutting - is an experience you have no choice but to repeat over and over again if you want to survive this ordeal. The ultimate frustration, next to showering and not being able to scrub your right arm because your left is in a plastic bag, is brushing your teeth in the wrong direction.
Speaking of wrong directions! Already directionally challenged, backing my car out of our driveway the first few times was a real strain on my mental processes as I fought against automatically turning the wheel the wrong way with my opposite hand. Trust me, itís not easy.
And while Iíd like to be taking the time off from my day to day household duties, let alone writing my weekly articles and column along with my custodial duties at our church, so I can mend at my leisure, it hasnít been possible. For that you need a replacement, and I donít have anyone willing to totally take over, certainly not my still mending other half. As well, people are once again needing our help with their carpet cleaning problems.
As a result, Iíve discovered I can type with almost the same style as my father-in-law did years ago when he worked at a newspaper, except Iím using more fingers on my right hand than he ever did. Iíve discovered the true meaning of that other old saw too Ė that patience is a virtue. Itís the only way I can get most things done now Ė including dressing myself, filling and emptying various pieces of equipment (this is where the foot comes in) and pet items Ė and, of course, vacuuming.
They say life is a learning experience, and I am finally Ė the hard way.

This appeared in the June 19th issue of the Dorchester Signpost that I work for.

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