southpaw musings and big hand update

You know, I’m not too bad at this southpaw business, even though I was born a righty.

Yesterday, following an appointment with my PCP, long ago scheduled (she was VERY excited and concerned about my injured hand – made me unwrap it so she could see, lectured me about following the hand surgeon’s orders precisely, told me to eat with extra attention to my nutrition and to avoid sugar in all its forms, and even prescribed lacto-bacillus capsules to help keep my gut properly fauna-ed while I’m taking the powerhouse antibiotics – so I guess maybe she gets a little bored with the regular parade of middle-aged vets with metabolic syndrome through her clinic), Mr Wren took me to lunch. As we were eating he commented that he was surprised how well I was handling my fork with my left hand. In fact, he said, he thought I was doing well with everything else left-handed, too, including my own wound care and rewrapping my hand after each soak. He’d thought I’d need a lot more help.

He seemed a little disappointed, so I made sure I asked for his assistance more for the rest of the day. He walked and entertained Finny for me (no awful task, that, as Fin induces spontaneous laughter), made me my two cups of coffee after the dinner Matt and Cary prepared, filled the soak-basin for me, and helped me get my shirt off at bedtime). I think he felt better after that. Sweet man.

Except for typing with irksome slowness, I’m doing well.

I was thinking about it this morning. And I realized, suddenly, that the reason doing things left-handed isn’t real tough for me is because I’ve had practice.

Twenty-two-plus years of RA that frequently attacks my fingers and wrists. A long-ago right-wrist ganglion cyst removal and a much more recent right wrist synovectomy that left me in a soft cast and splint for three weeks, and a long zig-zag scar. My poor old right hand has really been through the wringer!

All of these turned me into a southpaw, at least temporarily. The RA flares were (and are again) frequent. So it’s no wonder, really, that I’m carrying on pretty well with my “dumb” hand.

That said, trying to shave both legs left-handed in the shower this morning (so I could wear my new, smaller-me capris!) was a study in ludicrous clumsiness. Good thing I’d done the post-winter forest-shave last week, before the bite. And even a bigger good thing is a razor that doesn’t slice skin as easily as the old, single-blade kind used to.

Clipping the leash onto a wriggling Finny’s collar has frequently ended with me having to ask the nearest human to do it for me.

Opening pill bottles has flummoxed me several times, and someone always has to carry the full soak-basin to my soaking spot for me, or I’d end up having to stand next to the kitchen sink to soak my hand each time. It could be worse, of course, but staring at dirty dishes and the wolf-spider that somehow fell into the sink for 20 long minutes is pretty boring.


Now I’m tiring out a bit, so I’ll get to the update on my hand. The wounds themselves are healing nicely. Perhaps too nicely, as the surgeon wants them kept open so they can drain (shudders) and the infecting bacteria can escape. I’ve done my best to poke the wicking material deep into them with each dressing change, but I’m afraid I didn’t get it deep enough. Still, the swelly, dark red areas have reduced quite a lot. My index, middle and ring fingers are still pretty swollen and red, though, and I woke this morning with a lot of pain in my wrist. I’m hoping that’s just (!) a rheuma flare, and not some new issue popping up from the dog bite.

My temperature continues to fluctuate between normal and 100. Bod’s still fighting that infection, I think – and it’s winning. Overall, I’m feeling mostly well.

I see the hand surgeon again this afternoon. I hope he likes what he sees and won’t feel compelled to reopen the wounds for continued drainage (owowowowowow!). And I hope to hear that there’s no blood infection, as that will keep me from becoming a hospital cot inmate connected to an IV for a week. Ugh.

Thank you all again for your supportive comments and well-wishes. Keep your fingers crossed for me so I can come home after my appointment today, please?

And I hope this finds all of you feeling well and enjoying a day full of love and laughter.

7 thoughts on “southpaw musings and big hand update

  1. Yes. Absolutely. Fingers and toes and whatever else I can find to cross that the hand surgeon likes your progress. As I look to my right-shoulder rotator cuff surgery in two weeks, I’m trying to contemplate what kinds of aids that I’m going to need to get through left handed. Like you, I’ve identified shaving as being one of those things that’s is fairly dangerous left handed. My husband suggested getting an electric razor, which I’m considering. Either that or just going completely commando. 🙂

    Good luck with everything. I’m glad you’re well enough to keep us posted. Sending warm, healing thoughts your way.


  2. Oh Wren, I’ve been thinking so much about you and am so glad to hear you seem to be fighting off the infection – and that you’ve got such wonderful help around the house as you heal.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’re able to come home after your appointment today, and that you continue to feel better and better. (And by the way – you’re much braver than I’d have been with that wolf spider! I don’t think I’d have stuck around long enough to take a picture!)


  3. Oh my, I haven’t popped over for a long time and didn’t know this was going on. (sorry, been in one of those, “leave me alone moods”.)

    I can certainty relate to learning to use one’s left hand. I can also relate to the dog story. Bruce had the meanest dog I’d ever been around when I met him. Cissy finally accepted me into the house, no one else dared come in. What is the final decision on your dog?

    It sounds like you have good people giving you just the right amount of attention. Take care of yourself.


  4. So glad you’re managing pretty well – continuing to send healing vibes. Loved your consideration-based temporary ineptitude. 😉

    p.s. reading along all innocently and all of a sudden go EEEK! Warn me about the spiders, will ya???


  5. Eek – good luck with the hand surgeon – I do hope things are looking up and there’s no drainage (eeeooow!) or hospitalisation. Hurrah for RA having had a positive effect in giving you practice at being left-handed! ;o) I’m very good at being left handed – I was ‘born wrongly’.


  6. I am glad you are improving and as always keeping such a positive attitude. You PCP sounds good! Lucky you. I had a ganglion cyst removed also. Luckily it was on my left wrist. It returned for a while and then disappeared again.

    Thanks for always making us smile and for just being you!


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