Sunday, October 01, 2006

What I can`t do???
I know many things that I have accomplished in the past 4 years since I have had to handle my problems alone without my wonderful mate.
But I have also discovered many things that I am not able to do anymore, partly do to the injury while using a steak knife and partly due to arthritis. .
Things as simple as sewing on a snap or a button, or any sewing for that matter that I can`t do on my sewing machine. My hands can hold all those big tools to work with, but can`t hold anything small like a sewing needle.
This morning I was doing my darndest to hang on to a scrubber cloth to clean my stainless double basin kitchen sink. I dropped it so many times that it`s a wonder I didn`t give up and toss the cloth into the paper basket. I used to clean those sinks in just a couple minutes, now I spend more than a couple minutes re-picking up the cloth over and over. I am the same way when trying to hold a regular dish cloth. So, when I do dishes you can be sure my dishes are clean. I am able to hang on to those teflon scrubbers fairly well for scrubbing the newer coated pots and pans. Guess it must be the roughness of them that helps me hang on to them. So, since these scrubbers don`t scratch anything, I do all my dishes with it. So, while most people just wash their dishes, I actually scrub them clean.
Trying to wipe up spills is another fight for me. I can`t hang onto the paper towel or a cloth long enough to do the job very fast. You see, my thumb doesn`t close tight to my pointer finger on either hand, so everything slips thru them.
I bought all the boys one of those magnetic pick-up tools with the extended handle, liked it so much that I later bought one for myself. This comes in handy if I drop anything made of metal like a pin, nail, screw, nail clippers, hair clips and other small items.
Then I found I couldn`t hang on to the water/ juice pitchers to get them from the top cupboard. So I bought one of those long handled items with the open and close catches on the end and now I can use it to reach items up high and get them down for me.
Found I couldn`t crochet any more and refused to give it up. So, I found some of those extenders that can be slid onto a pencil to make it bigger around to hang on easier. Some of those had small openings and I found they fit my larger crochet needles. So I was able to start crocheting again. Can`t make those fancy beautiful Doilys anymore because they require the tiny crochet hooks and I haven`t found anything that fits them.
I also had to quit everything when I first got the double vision until the Dr ordered some prisms put into the lens in my reading glasses. With the double vision each eye sees it`s own picture and the two pictures only overlap a little. Thought my eye problems were cured when I had the cataracs removed 11 years ago. I had 20/20 perfect vision for a few years and then the problems started with the eyes not seeing together. Boy, can that ever get confusing. You see everything twice and you never are sure which picture image is the true one- the one the right eye is seeing, or the one the left eye is showing. They told me the double vision was caused by one of the minny strokes. With the prisms added to the lens of my glasses, they bring the two pictures back into one picture so I could again see clear enough to do things. I have had to change the prisms a few times over the years and again a couple months ago to keep seeing just one image with both eyes. Started out with a prism in just one lense to draw the bad eye towards the other eye. Eventually they couldn`t bring the left eye in any further, so they had to also add a prism in the good eyes side of the glasses to draw both eyes back together. Dr tells me that eventually the prisms will cause my eyes to cross and then I will need an eye operation to straighten the eyes out again. He is surprised my eyes haven`t crossed long before now. What he doesn`t know is that when I watch Tv, I usually remove the glasses, shut one eye and watch with just one eye. If that eye gets tired, I just shut that eye and use the other eye. That way the prisms in the glasses aren`t drawing on my eyes for a rest period.
Then I got those screwdrivers with the magnetic field so they hold the screws for me so I didn`t keep dropping the screws . That helped me some more.
Tying shoes is a hazzle. Walt used to say " Put your foot up here so I can tie them for you". For some reason, when he tied them they seldom came untied. After I lost him, I bought some of those elastic shoe strings, thinking I would be able to just slide my feet into the already tied shoes. One huge problem is that these shoestrings aren`t long enough to use on walking shoes or any type of sport shoe. They would just fit a pair of mens dress shoes with only a few eyelets in them. Then I bought a pair of those shoes that don`t need to be tied, but they bothered my feet. So, some days I end up tying my shoes 3 or 4 times in a day.
The worst thing was when the steak knife turned in my hand while I was separating two pieces of frozen meat. My hand only closes tight onto large knife handles. The steak knife turned in my hand and went in one side of my left small finger and out the other side. Of course I immediately pulled that knife back out of the finger, doing more damage I am sure since steak knifes have serrated blades. I yelled for my husband telling him I needed him to drive me to the hospital. He came out , took one look at the side that was showing as I held the finger under cold water using my other hand to put pressure to help stop the bleeding. Hubby said " That isn`t so bad, just pull the cut closed and add some tape till it heals." That was when I turned the finger over so he could see the other cut side. The knife had pulled the inside flesh out with it and knowing the air could kill the tissue, I immediately pushed the flesh back up inside the finger. So Walt never saw the worst. Still, he could see it looked terrible and he said " Get your coat and lets get going." When we reached the Hosp, the emergency room was packed. There was this little girl who kept coming over to talk to me. So I knew I couldn`t remove the large bath towel I had wrapped around the messed up finger. Didn`t want her to see it. The nurse kept taking people who had came in after we did thinking they were in worse shape. Finally the little girls father told her to come over and sit down and to stop bothering that nice lady. As soon as she left, I unwrapped the still bleeding finger and turned the worst side towards the window where the nurse sat. The minute she saw the finger, she came running out and told me to come with her. She sent the Dr right in. I told him there was nothing he could do to help me because I needed a surgeon. His reply was " Sounds like you know what you did". Told him, yes, I can`t move the finger at all so I knew I had cut both tendons, I had no feeling in it, so knew I had cut the nerves, and the way it kept bleeding I knew I had cut the main blood vessels in it. I told him he might as well go help others that needed help since he couldn`t do anything for me. I ended up having an operation which didn`t work very good. That led to a second op and shortly after that one my whole hand was being pulled shut. Then the Dr told me I needed to have the finger removed or I would lose the use of my whole hand.
Thats when I decided on a new Dr. This new Dr used some finger braces with screws on them and every few days he would screw the braces down further to keep pushing the other fingers back open. This took a few weeks. Then he worked on the small damaged finger. Today that finger is shaped at about a 45 degree angle- it can`t open up or close up, is frozen in that position. But, I still have the finger. It will always have that weird tender feeling as the nerves never re-connected right. Newer Dr told me it was like a lamp cord where part of the cord was still connected and part of the cord wires were frayed and still broken apart.
Even though there are so many things I can`t do that are so easy for most people to do, I still am able to enjoy a lot of things. Can do anything that doesn`t require the thumb and pointer finger to hit together as the don`t close tight enough to hold anything small. I often head next door when trying to remove the large battery from my battery powered drill to put in the charged one. The second hand op caused the cord in the center of the hand to pop up when I close up the hand and the cord pushes things out of my hand. So I often head next door and say "I need a larger hand to remove the battery". They are great about doing it for me. I can work with anything that allows my other fingers to close upon it. I also had an operation on my right hand about 20 yrs ago for ruptured tendond in the palm. That Dr told me to go back and work with some more tools and come back and see hin in another year. He told me he only does that op on mechanics and carpenters who work a lot with tools. Had the ruptured tendons repaired in the other hand when they operated for the finger.

Moral of this finger story is-- never use a steak knife to separate two pieces of meat that are frozen together. Wouldn`t have been so bad if was cut with a plain sharp knife or even a tool that has a straight blade, but the serrated blades do more damage in such a way that it is harder to repair the jagged cuts.

There are lots more that I can`t do with my crooked fingers and hands that don`t close up properly, but you get the idea. I can still enjoy playing my organ ( just not use the left hand small pinky), crochet (holding that finger up out of the way), work in my wood shop, tend my summer gardens, paint , live alone, keep up my home, and so forth. So, life isn`t all that bad. I feel so lucky compared to what some other people are going thru. Dr wants to remove my brothers leg above the knee and then we hope the osteomilitis doesn`t get active above the knee. I am much better off than he is.

kiss u dear ammommaa...
everytime i spend few minutes reading you...
u bring a little smile to my face.
thanks grandma....
Dot you are fantastic! Hugzz and take care!
Looking at how bad others have things, makes us really count our blessings.

I will say a prayer for your brother.

Take care.
Thanks neermathalam. So nice of you to leave such a nice comment.
Being a ammommaa is a special title. Being a valiyammamma is also a title I am proud of having.
Thankyou for teaching me how to write these titles in your language.
Hillgrandmom, thank you for your nice comment, but the ones who deserve the credit are my parents who taught us how to work hard for what we want and we were never taught the word I "quit" or the line " I can`t do that". We were taught you don`t know what you can or can`t do until after you have tried your hardest. Their teaching have helped me handle the hard times over the years. Thanks for stopping by.
Yes deni, when things get hard for us, it often helps us to go on when we think of others that are so much worse off than we are.
My bro was here this afternoon asking me to ride to the store with him. He wanted to get a cupboard that was on sale, but feared he wouldn`t be able to walk far enough into the store to get it. I was able to get the riding cart for him to drive around on so he could see the cupboard before buying it. Then I got someone to help carry it out and put it into his car for him. He asked me to tell you thanks for your prayer for him. He said he can use all the prayers he can get right now. Thanks Deni from both my bro and I. I am praying that once they remove his leg that the osteomilitis doesn`t show up anyplace else in his system as there is nothing more they would be able to do to cure it if it did. It is scarry.
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