Give Me a Break: Diary of a Broken Wrist Part III

December 11, 2011

One Handed Strategies in a Two Handed World

“Why do you have cling wrap around your cast?” Dr. Campbell was the 3rd person in as many minutes to query something that seemed logical to me.
“Actually it’s so that I can dress myself more easily; so my clothes won’t snag on the rough bits as I slide my arm into my sleeve.”
“Brilliant!” was his comment. You’d think that I’d discovered the Holy Grail; apparently no one in the history of our local hospital had ever come in with their cast swathed in cling wrap.

It struck me at that moment that there were a few other practical things that I could share with the world at large and the walking casted in particular. I have observed that the more you can do for yourself the better since your partner/spouse tends to tire quickly of being your personal servant.

Dressing: As I’ve already said, cling wrap is an essential component for successful dressing. Once I thought of that I was pretty much able to put my clothes on without any extra help. Also pull-on pants and t-shirts with wide sleeves make dressing easier particularly in the early stages when moving the casted arm is pretty uncomfortable.


Sling: The sling the hospital gave me was all but useless. Instead I found a long scarf that allowed me different positions for my arm and I if I didn’t need it I could easily take my arm out.

Opening jars: This was of course impossible with one hand and even after the cast comes off I will have to be careful with rotational movements; so what was to be done? I may have had only one functional hand but I still had two feet that were more than willing assistants. I put the jar between my feet to keep it steady and bingo, I could unscrew the lid with my good hand.

Flossing teeth: The drug store sells these little contraptions that hold floss. It took me a while to get used to them and even still they sometimes get stuck between my teeth and I have to use the scissors to snip them out; but they work!

Computing: I seem to be more attached to my computer these days than I am to my car. Keyboarding was an issue until I realized that if I supported my arm and let my fingers dangle over the keys, I could press the keys without over stressing my wrist. It took about 5 days post-casting before I could do this, but now I am able to do my emails, write my blog posts, etc.

Writing: I always knew a time would come when I was glad that I practiced writing with my left hand. Learning to do things with both hands is not only practical but stimulates the brain. I have been writing and drawing with my non-dominant hand for years so this hasn’t been a problem for me. If you haven’t used your non-dominant hand very much keep at it; if nothing else it will help to create new neural pathways. :~)

Please note that I'm telling my story and what helped me. I  cannot anticipate the needs and/or limitations of individuals. The material contained in this is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. Consult your doctor or physiotherapist if you have any concerns. Responsibility for this information is strictly that of the user.

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