09 February 2006

Progress, of a sort

No new pictures today. Seems I've forgotten not only how a computer is turned on but how to click a camera. Never mind take one to work.

No matter.

I've been wearing my arm brace to work the past couple days because I have been having a lot of pain in my right thumb and/or wrist and/or arm and/or upper extremity and/or blahblahfishsticks lately. One of my regular clients at work (I'm a tutor. Contain your excitement.) asked about it because she hadn't noticed it before.

I took it off and showed her the scars I have on that arm, from the second knuckle of my thumb to past the top of the wrist. There's muscle wasting, loss of fat tissue, and at least six surgical scars there from three separate operations. I told her how I had had a nasty fall down the stairs in 1999 and broke my thumb and wrist because I had been holding onto the handrail trying to stay up and that had not worked out well.

The only reason I'm blogging about this is because she said "I would die if that happened to me! I cherish my hands so much!"

And I thought to myself, you know, I have already died.

For a deaf person, losing the ability to use one's dominant hand for writing extensive notes and handing notes back and forth, losing the ability to swivel one's wrist, losing the ability to use two of the three thumb tendons, only being able to wiggle the thumb around, not being able to fold the thumb onto itself nor being able to fold the thumb onto the hand, is a tremendous loss. It means that communication is actively painful for the rest of one's life. It's never anymore a question of whether, but a question of how much.

You can imagine how fun I was to be around for too many years. A public thank you to every one of these people who have listened to me with much patience and grace for far too long.

Which is why it was so amazing how profound it was for me to learn knitting. I learned how to do it backwards of most people, with the left hand doing all the swiveling and holding and moving of the needle into the next stitch, and the right hand merely tasked with wrapping the yarn around the needle. Since, of course, I am not able to operate a needle the "normal" way unless I move my shoulder and elbow instead. And who wants to do that?

Everyone comments on it, the small but important fact that now I smile and laugh and am happy, and am that way day after day as I knit and I knit and I knit and I knit.

It's not that my right arm has stopped hurting or that I can use it the way I used to, the way that someday I might forget I could. It's that despite it all, I have found something profound, something artistic, something meditative, and can create something with my hands, something with meaning.

And I wake up looking forward to the day, looking forward to that day's knitting.

And life has purpose.


Blogger Scoutj said...

Awwwww. So happy for you that you can knit and it makes YOU so happy.

2:55 PM  

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