I think therefore I am? – My Left-Handed Life

Photo by Mahdiar Mahmoodi on Unsplash

Life is full of changes. Change is one constant you can count on always being there. Things happen and you have a choice to make. Whether to accept the changes or not. My injured right middle finger has led to some adaptations in my daily life. I have been using my left hand a lot more than usual. I have had to count on it for many of the things I do daily. For example, I have had to modify my showering and toileting. The application of armpit deodorant and body moisturiser was difficult the first few times but the seldom used nerve pathways supplying my left hand have had to spring into action. Dishwashing and cooking have become newer left-handed experiences.

I have had to modify my typing style. Have I consciously avoided typing the word ‘milk’? Or was it another symptom of my adult lactose intolerance? Problems of this ilk never troubled me before. Likely they will disappear once the finger has healed. I hope it will heal and I am not left with a permanent disability. I’ve had to perform physical examinations with my left hand. What other effects has this partial left-handedness had on my brain?

How would it feel to permanently lose body functions? These are situations which my patients have to grapple with. Incurable illness can lead to permanent loss of ability – disability. This may lead to the permanent loss of jobs and other important life roles. The losses all add up and add to the burden of suffering. When your actual whole person is threatened, and life as you knew it will never fully return. Each loss is grieved over and may or may not be accepted. A distressed physical body affects the emotions, affects the spirit, and affects your family/community. The ripples can affect many people in the wake of the initial insult.

How do people stop themselves from falling into despair when there is nothing guaranteed apart from ongoing deterioration? Some people cope well, others don’t cope at all, and most people are somewhere in between. A rock and a hard place? They need help, guidance and optimisation of community support. What can be done to make life less difficult? Which services or staff members need to be involved?

I think therefore I am? – Injured Pride

Yikes, I injured my dominant hand’s middle finger at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) last night and I need to wear a finger splint for the next 6-8 weeks. Typing has become slightly more difficult. I will need to try some dictation software or apps and any suggestions will be most welcome. I made myself a splint from a used pen part:

The things I have taken for granted include good health and a functional body that does what you want it to. The next six to eight weeks may teach me a few lessons about living with a minor disability. In the paragraph before I typed the numbers 6 and 8. In this paragraph, I have typed the word forms. 8 keystrokes versus only two.

What will be affected?

Changing clothes.

Toileting techniques will have to be adjusted.


Hair-washing, styling, drying.

Dishwashing and cooking will be attempted left-handed.

No BJJ – Groan, I am mildly addicted to it and usually go twice a week.

Hand – washing, writing, cleaning.

No high fives!

No finger snapping.

What opportunities may arise?

Getting into fights and arguments as I accidentally Flip the Bird as my right middle finger will be splinted in position.

No handshakes – Thank goodness for COVID!

I can compete in the 100mm Splint Race.

No one will tell me to pull finger anymore.

No more finger-push-ups.

I can try to break the world record for dirtiest finger.

I’ll save on right middle finger cleaning costs and help the environment at the same time.

I get to build up all the muscles on my left hand and arm:

Elsewhere in the Palliverse – Weekend Reads

photo by David Mao itsdavo

Welcome to this weekend’s reads. People seem to enjoy the cute animal stories, so I’ve included one (near the end, if you want to read it first).

The latest paediatric palliative care video (below) from Little Stars is about treating chronic pain in children. It’s nice to see how the interdisciplinary team interacts with, and respects, the girl in the video.

An article that is all over my social media feeds this week: Knowing How Doctors Die Can Change End of Life Discussions. It also brought back to mind this article on How Doctors Die. (NPR)

“I felt like I was beating up people at the end of their life…I would be doing the CPR with tears coming down sometimes, and saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, goodbye.’ Because I knew that it very likely not going to be successful. It just seemed a terrible way to end someone’s life.” Continue reading