THERAPEUTIC FREE CELL
24 July 2003
OK, all you guys who have been teasing me for years about my addiction to free cell.
Eat your words!
Last night I realized that playing Free Cell is therapeutic. It forces me to straighten
out my arm, to raise my arm, moving my shoulder in one of the motions that is recommended
on my list of exercises.
So last night I played FreeCell with my left hand on the mouse. It felt weird. It's a
funny thing. My body is totally left sided. My left eye is stronger, my left hand is
dominant, my left foot is dominant. Totally left sided. But I've been forced into using my
right hand and I am starting to know how it must have felt back in the 40s and 50s when
kids were forced to write right handed. Bless Sister Mary St. Patrice who asked me, on my
first day in first grade, if I could write with my right hand and when I said
"no," continued to let me use my left hand.
But now I'm starting to use my left hand again and though my brain knows this is what
I'm supposed to do, my body is out of practice and everything feels awkward (adding, of
course, the overload of
pain discomfort that accompanies movement on
this, day #1 out of the immobilizer). Of course it feels awkward right
This movement is almost pain-free
...but that's not a smile--it's a grimace!
I did the first exercises in the shower. As I have discovered the past 6 weeks, moving
at all is significantly easier when there is warm water running over the shoulder. I was
successfully able to walk my fingers up the door of the shower to the top. I don't say it
was comfortable, but I did it. I'm not sure if I'll be taking 3 showers a day, but
it's a good way to loosen things up first thing in the morning.
I'm also forcing myself to use the arm. When getting yogurt or water off of the
top shelf in the refrigerator, for example, I'm making sure to use the left arm, not the
Last night I was sitting down to dinner and realized...I could use my left hand to eat
again! The hand is weak, but it works. It scoops yogurt out of a container and raises up
high enough to get it into my mouth (wouldn't you know that the first exercise I'd give my
arm would be in raising food to my mouth!)
The doctor told me that the immobilizer at this point is for comfort, so I'm still
using it, but cutting way back. It makes me feel more comfortable in it in public--mostly,
perhaps, for psychological reasons. People kind of give you a wide berth and you don't get
jostled when you look impaired...and if you are jostled, it holds things in place
(even if they no longer need to be held in place).
I also decided to sleep with it on last night and found that after an hour or so of
"doing things" with the arm, that it was kind of comfortable to put it back on
again to sleep.
I may also put it on to ride the exercise bike. I don't know why exactly except I feel
"vulnerable" on the bike--even if it's not going anywhere. But, that said, I did
ride without it yesterday and even put both hands on the handlebar and that must have been
good for not only the aerobic exercise of bike riding, but for the shoulder as well.
So it's only day #1 but it feels good to be doing something constructive, finally. I
have a long way to go before things come naturally and pain-free again, but it's nice that
I am in control and that my progress will depend on how faithful I am to the program.