In "Getting Better vs. Getting It Done," I wrote about the struggle to use my affected hand in performing daily activities. A comment on the post prompted me to ask "Why don't I use my left hand?"
1. I’m afraid of breaking something. With my unreliable grip, I once dropped a glass bottle of sparkling juice. Which leads me to…
2. I don't want to cleanup a mess. I tried holding the cap of the laundry detergent in my left hand while pouring the liquid with my right; the cap tipped, spilling detergent between the washer and dryer. Which leads me to…
3. I’m tired. Using my affected hand requires more concentration. If I'm tired, I'm less likely to push myself. And I'm more likely to be tired if I’ve had incidences like #2.
4. I'm in a hurry. Using my left hand slows me down, especially if it results in incidences like #2, which can follow #1 and are more likely to happen if #3.
5. I don’t want to hurt myself. My finger sensitivity is still minimal, so I don't reach into dishwater to grab a knife, or try to pick up the lid of a pot on the stove. I’ve been doing simple ironing, but I practice first with a cool iron. This only works because I'm not #4. I might have all my Christmas napkins put away by Labor Day.
6. Inability. There are things I can't do yet – like open my fingers when my arm is stretched above my head.
7. Habit. After 23 months, I'm on autopilot with my right hand and assume #6.
Now that I know why I don't use my left hand, I can develop strategies to break these barriers to progress. Awareness of a problem is the first step toward its solution.