Much like my right eye, I depend greatly on my right hand–because I am a natural right-handed person. It wasn’t until this February that the numbness started to rapidly increase, causing my fingers to curl inward like the left hand. There were several factors in my decision to stop driving at the end of March, and the right hand was one of them. Weakness has been a problem more in the left hand, but now, I often feel that even though my left hand is the weaker hand, the grip is better than the right just because the numbness is not as heavy. It gets confusing. Another mind game.
Compared to the rest of the present happenings of the body, I don’t talk much to anyone about my hands past the typical comments that they’re cold or my bad (really declined) penmanship, finger-poking computer times or asking for help opening things. Others are just obvious and a bit embarrassing, especially when it comes to eating…sometime even just around my family. I’ll comment how I miss taking a notebook and pen outside and just write,, but I don’t say much how I often miss just pampering myself…putting my hair in a ponytail or up fancy with cute bobby-pins, adding a little make-up and wear my Promise ring. I don’t like to comment how much I feel like a kid when I can’t buckle my seatbelt or punch my PIN number at the store; how frustrating it is not to be able to hold my books or almost drop my shower head while rinsing my hair or how long it takes to get dressed some mornings or hardly being able to set my alarm or punch the buttons on the microwave. And now that we are incorporating more sign language in the family, my hands struggle…the signs barely visible, if any at all.
Things, things, things…everyday. I usually just adapt–because I have to–and just don’t say these things. I think I let it build this past week, silently, after all the PT/OT and other personals gave me the “strength tests”: Squeeze my fingers, don’t let me push your arms down, and such. My doctors at Children’s do the same, but they always end withe the same question: “Can you still hold a paintbrush?” As if nothing else I wish I could still do is essentially important, because they know my paintings…they know my story and how painting brings me joy as I share it with others. I may have the penmanship of a seven year old and finger-poke in typing, but I can hold a paintbrush. There is almost a sense of freedom and I forget my woes of hands, if only for a moment. My stubborn and numb and curly and weak hand.
Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.