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When OTs Wore White Shoes

Reflections from a One-handed OT

Published January 20, 2017 12:15 PM by Debra Karplus
It's now been 3.5 weeks since I fell on my icy driveway getting into a friend's car to go swimming, fracturing my left wrist; I'm left handed. Typically I'm a very active person in terms of exercise, including walking, biking, swimming and racket sports. I also am a doer, someone who gets out with friends to the symphony and numerous local events. And as a semi-retired person, I spend a fair amount of time serving others through a variety of volunteer work that I really enjoy doing.

Being in a hard plaster wrist cast has made it virtually impossible to hand write anything legible and also has made me reluctant to get behind the wheel until I have a bit more dexterity and strength in a wrist that hopefully will be un-casted soon.

So how am I filling my days? Well for starters, I seem to be sleeping much more than usual. Possibly it's simply because I am getting older, or perhaps it's the response to long stretches of sleep deprivation from being caught up in my own busy-ness at the expense of quality shuteye. Or maybe my body just craves the extra sleep to perform the magic of healing a small bone that broke into two pieces.

But the remaining 14-or-so hours of being awake each day has created a new normal, at least for now. A bit to my surprise, I've turned into a bit of a homebody. When friends aren't transporting me to doctor visits or grocery stores, I have enjoyed having people visit. I can make a cup of herbal tea one-handed like nobody can, and have been improving my skill at word games like Scrabble.

I do know that friends have their own lives, and though limited, I am doing a fairly good job staying grounded and feeling content. Part of that is the fact that being relatively homebound has kept the usual distractions away, and I have felt much more mindful and in the moment. Doing daily tasks such as dressing, bathing and preparing lunch simply takes longer, but I am finding a new joy in them.

The rest of my time seems to be filled with listening to beautiful music on the local public radio station and reading books and short stories that have been sitting on my bookshelf unopened.

But writing for ADVANCE, Prime Life Times, a local publication for seniors, and The Dollar Stretcher, an online venue where I can write about health-related topics as well as other subjects applying my business and finance background as well as my passion for doing research, brings me great joy.

This stretch of time with my temporary disability and ample alone time has given me the opportunity to sit and ponder life, both personally and professionally. I think we as OTs generally do a phenomenal job on the physiological needs of our patients, be we should always remember what the word "occupation" implies in our profession's name.

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