To kick of May (which is Brain Tumor Awareness month – I know I’ve been saying that a lot for the last 4 days) I thought everyone who reads my little blog might want to try something. For the month of May participate in Teagan Tuesdays. On every Tuesday try to spend your day like Teagan does – without the use of your left hand (if you are left-handed try not using your right hand). Luckily Teagan’s tumor was on her right side thereby affecting her left side and luckily she was right-handed. But if you think it’s an easy task not living with the use of your non-dominate hand then take the Teagan Tuesdays challenge.
First of all to remind yourself not to use your left hand try tying a purple ribbon on your wrist. It can really be any color ribbon, but I like purple. Or it can be just a hair tie – just something to remind you not to use your left hand. OK. Lets start at the beginning of the day. What’s the first thing you do? For most of us it’s use the restroom. Try pulling down your jammie pants and underwear with one hand – hope you don’t have to go too badly because this will take you awhile. Of course by the end of the day it will get easier for you, Teagan is so fast at it now I barely have time to remind her to have her left hand help out. Dont forget to wash your hands! (Yes your left hand can push down on the pump of a soap dispenser but you will soon see that good old-fashioned bar soap is your friend.)
Next let’s try some breakfast. Lets say you want scrambled eggs. Crack an egg one-handed. Now pick the egg shells out of the bowl. Using your entire left arm as a bracing device hold the bowl and use your right hand to stir. Use only your right hand to pour the eggs into the skillet. Use your right hand to help your left fingers grasp the skillet handle so your right hand can stir the eggs. Once your eggs are cooked you’ll have to make several trips to the table because unless you have a tray with a non skid surface you can only carry one thing at a time.
Now you can get dressed and ready for the day. Good luck with zippers, buttons, snaps and shoelaces. Just a hint…. to pull your pants up its easier if you pull one side at a time and always put your left arm in the sleeve first. Shoe tying is possible but it takes awhile and Teagan can explain it better than me… I know the left hand just holds things while the right hand does all the work. (If you really want to learn go to You Tube and search “One handed shoe tying.”) My suggestion is slip on shoes and/or velcro. Flip Flops? Nope sorry, your left ankle and foot aren’t coordinated enough to keep flip-flops on your feet.
I’m not sure what other challenges the day will bring you. Mostly it depends on what you do for a living. But here’s one challenge if you type a lot. Your right hand can use the keyboard as you normally would, but for your left hand you need to find a pen or stick (preferably one that is about as round as a nickle or dime) and you can hold it with your left hand and use it to hit the keys on the left side of the keyboard. And yes I have typed this entire blog in that manner – and I’m getting quicker at it.
This is only a small glimpse at what my daughter faces daily. When you are doing this keep in mind that you still have strength, feeling and motion in your left hand, wrist and fingers and Teagan has very little. She doesn’t complain very often. Only once in a great while, late at night when she’s very sleepy will she ask me “when will my left hand work again?” I don’t know what to tell her.