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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.

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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 handed too.

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This movement is almost pain-free

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...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 right.

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.


Exercise is bunk. If you are healthy, you don't need it: if you are sick you should not take it.

~ Henry Ford (Ford never dislocated his shoulder!)

Today's Photo

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Look!  I can eat again!!!

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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Created 7/23/03 

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