Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On the other hand

Yesterday, I wrote about dictating text to my computer so that I don’t have to use my hand for mousing. What I didn’t say is that I have other problems that I can’t solve so easily. Like the majority of people in the world, I’m very right-handed.

Some 90% of people are right-handed. Around 30% of all people in the world can use both hands reasonably well, at least for some tasks, but only about 1% of the world’s people are truly ambidextrous.

So, like most people, I can’t just switch hands whenever I want to, and this is certainly a time I’d want to.

There are some things that I can do with my left-hand. For example, I can drink out of a glass held in my left hand. I can also… um, uh, well, that’s really about it. Sure, my left hand can hold things for my right-hand, but it can’t do very much other than that. I can’t even pick up things with my left hand as well as I can with my right. In fact, when I use my left hand, it sometimes seems as if the hand belongs to someone else, or as if someone else was controlling my hand—there’s that much of a disconnect between what my brain instructs and how my left hand works

This is a problem because of my gout attack, of course. Gout usually just attacks one joint at a time, but it can affect nearby joints as well. Part of this is because the attack causes swelling in the area around the affected joint, so if there are any joints nearby, they can also be affected because the swelling can make it difficult to move the other joints. Combine that with wanting to avoid pain in the affected joint, and pain can actually “spread” to other joints from lack of use as much as referred pain.

So, a gout attack in one joint in a hand or foot, which has many nearby joints, can potentially affect other joints nearby. That’s why it can be hard to walk or to use a hand in the midst of a gout attack. This is what I’m facing right now.

I could try to teach my left hand to do some things, although I’d obviously rather not need to do that. In any case, the odds of doing that successfully are not very good at all.

Most of the time, I don’t have any problem being so heavily right-handed. It would be nice, however, if I was a little less dependent on that one hand. But, like so many other things about me, it’s just one more thing I cannot change.

I dictated this post, too. On the whole, it did reasonably well—apart from thinking a burp was the word third. Good thing the sound wasn’t out the other end—although it might assume I was reading some earlier blog post or other…


rogerogreen said...

Because one catches with the left hand in baseball, because one throws with the right, I'm good at that. I'm better at snapping my fingers with the left. That's about it.. I feel your pain.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I certainly hope the feeling the pain thing is figurative, and not literal.

I'm good at snapping my fingers on my left hand, but I'm pretty sure I'm equally as good on my right—not that can I can verify that at the moment.

But the thing about baseball reminded me that when I was a kid, and utterly useless at sports, I used to tell the other kids that I both threw and caught right-handed, so I couldn't possibly play baseball. There was an element of truth in that if we're talking softball, but the ridiculously large baseball mitts meant that even I could catch left-handed. It could not, however, make me any good at baseball or any other sport. I don't know if anyone believed my lie (and I knew it was), but I was able to duck the pressure to play a sport I was absolutely useless at.