KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, October 06, 2005

With One Arm Tied Behind My Back

Update time:

I get my cast off (backstory here and here) on October 13—thank goodness, because my arm's feeling more than a bit claustrophobic in the thing.

The cast, by the way, is a lovely deep shade of purple. (Here's a shot of someone else's purple cast, so that you can see what I mean. Mine's only half as long, though, and doesn't cover my thumb or finger knuckles.) The old plaster-of-Paris casts that I remember seeing on classmates as a child apparently aren't used anymore, because they're not too waterproof. Casts today come in all sorts of colors (though white is still available; apparently lots of folks prefer other colors), and they're made by wrapping a long strip of dry fiberglass that is activated by the cast-maker's getting it wet. It dries harder than a rock, though I still must double-wrap it (as directed by my orthopedist: first in Saran Wrap and then inside a garbage bag, the open end of which is then taped to my arm) every time I shower. To keep the cast from irritating the skin, the cast-maker first puts some comfy stretchy cloth over the affected area before applying the cast.

I can now type a bit with my right hand, which is great, because I've been editing onscreen with only my left hand. I can now also write with a pen with my right hand, and my writing looks almost normal, but the part of the cast that covers the lower portion of my palm, along with the anchoring piece that lies between my thumb and index finger, hampers me a bit. I can't type or write for too long, however, because it makes my arm ache.

I've been doing all my finger exercises and have excellent digit mobility, but I'm betting the doc will prescribe some physical therapy to help me regain strength in my forearm. I can tell just by looking that I've lost muscle mass in that forearm. I know, though, that the arm's biceps have been strengthened by having to cart the cast around.

I still can't lift anything heavier than a pound (the doc's instructions); I've regretted it the few times I've tried. Can't rotate my wrist, either, because of the cast and the pins that are still in place but will be removed next week. Makes it hard to get enough torque to open those damn childproof caps on medication bottles. And I haven't driven since before I broke my arm, because I know that I'd unconsciously try to use it and end up doing it damage.

I've been freelancing all along, just taking longer with mostly one hand. I won't ever take my hands for granted again.

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