Saturday, October 28, 2006

adventures of the one-armed lady

I fell asleep two nights ago with perfectly working limbs. Upon waking up yesterday morning, I realized that this was no longer the case - my right arm was refusing to work. Even stretching it in front of me caused searing pain that both alarmed and confused me. Especially when the pain didn't go away...

After a hot shower, things had not improved. Jeremy figures that I've somehow pinched a nerve in my shoulder and that it will take a few days for things to get back to normal again. It feels like somebody punched me really really hard in the upper arm, and the pain occasionally spreads to my wrist, fingers, elbow, and the back of my shoulder. Not fun at all.

In the meanwhile, I can't lift my right arm to do anything and now depend on my left one to get me through the mundane tasks (like brushing hair, teeth, stirring soup, etc) that take 5 times longer now - if I can do them at all. I'm pretty useless with my left hand so it must have been pretty entertaining for Jeremy to watch me muddle through the day yesterday.

While he went to the store to get food for last night's dinner, I tried to brush my hair and pull it into a ponytail, figuring that since blow-drying it was out of the question, I should at least try to look presentable. The brushing part wasn't too bad - a little awkward, but I managed to get things smoothed out and ready for the hair tie.

I ran into trouble with the hair tie. Usually, I used my right hand to brush, and the left hand to hold the hair into place as I use the right hand again to fit the hair neatly into its ponytail. (It's amazing the level of detail that goes into a process that I've never put any thought into at all)

I figured that reversing the process should be just fine. Clearly, this was faulty logic. Here are the 9 steps to trying to make a ponytail with the wrong hand:

(Note: this will only work if your normally dominant arm has some strange problem that leads to impressive amounts of pain when you forget it's not working right)
(Another note: the last 3 steps really just describe what happened with me, but I'd be willing to bet that similar results would happen for most women in my situation...)

1. Brush, brush, brush. Lift right hand to hold hair in place.
2. Experience flash of blinding pain, drop hair and arm.
3. Try again, this time leaning right arm against bathroom wall so it will stay in the air.
4. Another flash of pain from annoying right arm.
5. Curse in frustration and try again, this time propping right arm on sofa while bending head forward to keep hair in place.
6. Make 3 attempts to neatly pull hair into ponytail with left hand, finally being rewarded with a messy looking ponytail.
7. Boyfriend comes home with groceries to find me teary-eyed with anger on the floor, demanding in a very unreasonable tone that he help me "pull my stupid hair back because my stupid arm won't work"
8. Boyfriend laughs, hugs me, pours a glass of wine (in hopes that the alcohol will dull the pain since we don't have Ibuprofen) and insists that I look fine
9. Look at grumpy self in bathroom mirror, realize that today will not be the day I will win a beauty contest (if ever) and pull hair out of messy ponytail

Finally, I gave up and sat sulking while he cooked dinner, made me coffee, and in general has taken care of everything for the last 24 hours.

It's taken that long to figure out a somewhat comfortable position to type at my laptop (a position that requires a cushion, blanket, and the careful positioning of my right arm so I won't get stinging pain everytime I breathe).

I've realized how much I take my right arm and hand for granted and now am promising to be thankful for its (painless) use as soon as things get back to normal.

In typical teacher fashion, I've also fallen victim to the Fall Cold, a nasty bug that hopefully goes away quickly. Lots of vitamins and cold remedies should do the trick. I'm used to battling these little colds and am pretty confident that this will be a short-lived illness. It's a good reminder to get signed up with a GP (doctor) just in case one becomes necessary. After months of reading Magazine Man's adventures, you'd think I'd learned by now not to tempt fate... (by the way, if you haven't checked out his October Moments, this is a great time of year to read them)

On that bright note, I'm hoping to at least get out for a walk (since my legs appear to be working just fine) to try and get some pictures of the park, which is FINALLY changing colours! Eve and I went for a quick visit the other day, during which the reddish tint of one of the maple trees caught our eye. Might be a nice day to wander down to Buckingham Palace, where the parks and trees must be spectacular now.

Still not sure what we're doing for Hallowe'en, if anything. A teacher friend is trying to get something organized, which means we'll need to figure out a couple of costumes. You would think that a teacher would be pretty creative when it comes to costumes, but I get this mental block when it comes to this holiday and can never think of anything good. Having recently acquired the nickname "Gimpy" (I'm sure you can guess who came up with that), I may have to think up some costumes incorporating my new status as an uncoordinated Leftie. Any ideas?

My mother, who is a retired teacher who can come up with good costume ideas, dressed up last year as a gay prince. She claims that this costume kinda fell together, but I still give her full marks for something that inventive - it's different, easy, and shows great effort. Suldog had a great post about Hallowe'en costumes and the reactions of people who "don't get it" - demonstrating how annoying it can be when you have what you think is a great costume idea, but nobody knows who / what you're supposed to be.

My arm is giving me the "time to stop" signal (meaning a dull pain that's slowing getting stronger), so I guess it's time to try another left-handed shower.

I'm not even going to try a ponytail today.


  • At 11:29 AM, Blogger Beechball * said…

    Did you notice that you posted this twice, under 2 different names? hehe I feel for you though, I really do. If you noticed in my blog I have been complaining about a pain in my right hand/wrist for like 2 weeks now! It is still there but very minor right now, but it really did cause me to do stupid things like write with my left hand, wash dishes with left hand... shower thing aswell was a little weird, but I can definately understand your position. I must say though, that's very stange what's happened and I hope it goes away soon! Although I have to admit, you pony tail adventure really did make me laugh so, I appologize, haha. Check out my blog later to see a shocking picture that I personally didn't want to see for a long time to come - it's only October 28! Booo I'll be happy about it later, you'll see! Byyyeeee

  • At 9:20 AM, Blogger Melinda said…

    strangely enough that repeat post was deleted from my list of posts, but I keep getting a wierd "There Were Errors" message from Blogger. For some reason this post won't go away...

    even more strange is that my links and profile and stuff are way at the bottom of the page in internet explorer, while in firefox they're at the top as normal. I know blogger is free, but this is getting really annoying.

    hope things get fixed soon...


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