I keep going to therapy for my hand. When I started, I could hardly move any of my fingers. They were all stiff from having been in a cast for weeks after my fall. Now I can move my fingers and almost make a fist. Squeezing things is another exercise I’m working on.
Removing a bottle cap can still be a problem. I might have to fight if the bottle had never been opened. There were times when I resorted to using pliers to get a good grip on a bottle cap.
At my last occupational therapy appointment, the therapist brought out bag clips for me to put together. There was a rainbow of colored clips in the bin. He told me to take out the blacks and the blues. They were the hardest to work with.
I had to pinch the clip and connect it to a metal rod and then remove it again. The blue clips were the first. Using my thumb and index finger, the one that I broke. I put together the first blue clip and then another. After putting them in place, he had to remove them. I had to concentrate to make sure I was getting a good grip on those plastic clips, but I did.
Blacks were more of a challenge. There was a stronger tension in those clips. After putting a few on and taking them off again, my hand got worn out. I couldn’t get that black alligator clip open again, so I’m practicing more at home.
At another appointment, they gave me a green sponge to squeeze. First, I would squeeze it with my whole hand. After doing that 20 times, I had to switch and just use my thumb and forefinger. It wasn’t hard work, but after a few repetitions, my fingers got tired; I’m supposed to exercise, but not overdo it. Later that afternoon I repeated my exercises.
After squeezing my green exercise sponge, I put it down on the table and went to get a glass of water. My cats and my dog kept telling me it was time for dinner. Everyone seemed to be hungry, so I started serving them dinner. Too bad I wasn’t paying much attention to what my pets were doing.
When I turned around again, I saw that my dog Stella had something on the floor that she was chewing on. When I got closer, I found that she had my exercise sponge in a hundred pieces. I hastened to remove the pieces of her so she wouldn’t swallow them. Stella has been known to chew her own toys into little pieces and then swallow them.
Some pieces were on the other side of the table, and I was racing her to get to them. Meanwhile, the cat was sitting on the windowsill watching the commotion he had caused. Of course, the cat tried to look innocent, but I knew that he had knocked the exercise sponge off the table just to get the dog in trouble.
Other times I found Stella chewing on pencils and pens. Nine times out of ten, one of my cats had thrown the writing instrument at the dog. The cat then walked away as if he had nothing to do with it – my cats practice looking innocent.
I had a few days before I went back for another OT appointment and figured out how to use my ‘broken’ exercise sponge. I put it in a bag and took the air out of it. and she zipped it up. With everything packed to the side of the plastic bag, I was able to continue my exercises by squeezing these pieces of sponge together while in the bag.
I told my therapist that I had broken my sponge when I went for my appointment. She laughed when I told her my dog almost ate my homework and then she gave me a replacement.
My hand is slowly improving no matter how many times my pets interfere with my progress.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; [email protected]; [email protected]; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.