Over the last few days, it’s been interesting to see what exactly my limitations are… and aren’t. There is a lot of stuff that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do, that I’ve surprised myself by figuring out a (usually much slower) way to accomplish it… like the putting-my-hair-up technique I detailed on Thursday. Here are a few other tasks that have surprised me:
CAN: Wash my hair. I squeeze the shampoo and conditioner directly onto my head, and have to be careful to keep my left arm away from the water (I don’t trust the flimsy plastic bag over it), but it works.
CAN’T: Shave my armpits. Or more specifically, can’t shave my right armpit, since I only have use of my right hand. This is particularly problematic because the only shirts I am able to wear are sleeveless ones; however, as unashamed as I am to ask for help with a million other things, I am not asking a friend to do this. And yes, I know some people think this is anti-feminist to consider this a must-do, but… no thanks.
ALSO CAN’T: Cut my fingernails on my right hand, and am not willing to ask for someone to help with this one either. However, my left hand wasn’t strong enough to do this before my surgery (which was one of the tip offs that something was really wrong and why I went to a doctor in the first place), so that isn’t anything new. I will ask someone to take me for a manicure soon.
CAN: Wear all sorts of things people on Google who have had similar surgeries said were impossible. Jeans, leggings, and really any kind of pant (they said nothing tight or without an elastic waistband, which was pure fearmongering). A bra. (Okay, so it takes me like five minutes to put it on, but it is doable.)
CAN’T: Find anything with sleeves, aside from my bathrobe, that can go over my left arm. Instead, I have a (patent pending) method of wearing a cardigan/hoodie and tucking the end up around my bra strap so I’m wearing it on my left shoulder like a cape. Fortunately, my bandages provide coverage to keep my left arm warm.
CAN: Chop veggies for a salad. I waste a lot of the ends of the veggies, since there is no way to hold them down, but I was pleasantly surprised to be able to accomplish this if I go slowly. However, I don’t let this skill stop me from enjoying all the frozen comfort meals that I stocked my freezer with pre-surgery. (Why, yes, I am using the mac and cheese as comfort food to feel better about life… and it’s damn delicious.)
CAN’T: Make loose leaf tea. Perhaps this is a fault in my tea-brewing system, but I have not yet figured out a way to rig the teapot lid to stay open while I spoon the tea leaves in or pour the boiling water in. I have developed many weird cooking hacks (you don’t even want to see how much I use my mouth in lieu of a second hand), but most of them require a pretty big margin of error… and I am not taking any chances with boiling water. Speaking of errors…
ALSO CAN’T: Access any sort of bulk grains without spilling them everywhere. Okay, so maybe this is technically something I can do, but I haven’t proven myself capable yet. See: dumping a two pound bag of chia seeds on the floor on Wednesday; dumping a bag of popcorn kernels on the floor Saturday night; spilling chicken broth powder everywhere while making dinner last night. Which brings me to…
CAN: Use a Dustbuster. So thankful for this one!
CAN’T: Empty out the Dustbuster. Can someone come over and do this so that I can attempt cookie baking? (Yes, that is critical step #0 before I can bake.)
CAN: Go off my meds successfully. Hooray! However, I’m only pain free if…
CAN’T: Un-elevate my arm for more than a minute or two at a time. Keeping it continuously elevated is the only way it’s not painful, and when I say continuously, I mean 24 hours a day. (Yes, I have found a way to sleep perfectly still with it propped up high.) If I need to get up from my prop stack of pillows longer than a quick trip to the bathroom or to refill my waterbottle, I hold my arm up and out in front of me, zombie-style, so it doesn’t hurt.
Thank you all again for the kind wishes, and if I don’t get too fed up with pecking out blog posts on my keyboard singlehandedly, you’ll be hearing from me again soon 🙂