Simply ordinary observations from an ordinary person - sometimes having to do with health care issues, sometimes not. Topics will change as my attention wanders. Yours probably will too....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hand Me That Tool!

I've always enjoyed working with my hands but I have an enhanced appreciation for them after reading "In Our Hands" by Arnold Arem, M.D. A hand surgeon for over 20 years, Dr. Arem says "that hands are...the Rosetta stone of the soul" and he calls them "the body's most exquisite instrument." As I was turning the pages of his book I started becoming more and more aware of how much I use these instruments every day - cooking, baking, gardening, quilting, reading, typing of course, scratching my cats' ears, dialing phones, changing channels on the remote, and numerous other mundane activities that I simply take for granted.

I've spent 3 days now watching my hands and taking inventory on how they function. I know, some of you will say "Get a Life!", but it's been fascinating really. Start taking stock of your own activities, I think you'll be amazed. Anyway, here's a breakdown of my morning routine - I'm skipping the shower and toilet since some activities are best done on automatic pilot. You can keep your own notes on those!

Task: Inserting contact lenses. Process: Use thumb and index finger to open lens case. Snag contact with tip of little finger and place lens in palm of left hand. Pop saline solution cap with thumb and saturate lens. Balance lens on tip of index finger. Pull lower eyelid down slightly with tip of middle finger and insert lens. Repeat on opposite side. Instruments: 1 Thumb, 2 Index fingers, 2 Middle fingers, and 1 Pinky.

Task: Apply facial moisturizer and foundation. Process: Squeeze appropriate amount of goo into palm of left hand using thumb and index finger. Apply evenly to face with tips of middle and ring fingers. Index and little finger are held gracefully out to side. Instruments: 1 Thumb, 1 Index, 1 Middle, and 1 Ring finger.

Task: Apply cool Raisin Quartz eyeliner on top eyelid. Process: Grasp eye pencil between thumb and index finger, resting it on the middle finger for stability. Using tip of little finger, tighten eyelid and apply Raisin Quartz along lash line. Smudge with little finger if desired. Repeat on other eye. Instruments: 1 Thumb, 1 Index, 1 Middle, and 1 Pinky.

Task: Apply Voluminous Brown-Black mascara. Process: Hold wand between thumb, index, and middle finger. Carefully roll from base of lashes to outer tips. Turn wand on end and brush lightly along lower lashes, keeping control at all times to prevent eye injuries. Instruments: 1Thumb, 1 Index, 1 Middle.

Task: Brush and Floss Teeth. Process: Squeeze on toothpaste using thumb and index finger. Stabilize toothbrush between thumb and extended index finger. Wrap remaining three fingers around base and start scrubbing. When rinsed, wrap dental floss around both index fingers and think of how pleased the hygienist will be at your next appmt. Use thumb and index finger to massage circulation back into both fingertips when finished. Instruments: 1 Thumb, 2 Index, 1 Middle, 1 Ring, 1 Pinky.

Task: Insert earrings into pierced ears. Process: Sort through jumbled jewelry box to find 2 matching earrings. Pull ear lobe with thumb and index finger, while holding earring post with opposite thumb and index finger. Insert post and use thumb and index finger to attach backing. Repeat. Equipment: 2 Thumbs, 2 Index.

Task: Clothing. Process: Uses both gross and fine motor skills to pull items off hangers, onto legs and arms, fastening buttons or hooks, pulling zippers, snapping snaps. Instruments: All available digits.

Task: Shoes. Process: Brace self against closet door with one hand while pulling on individual shoes. Instruments: One full hand - palm and fingers, unless shoes have laces and/or straps. Then fine motor skills are needed.

There - see what I mean? I'm only 40 minutes into my morning and have performed multiple, complicated maneuvers with these exquisite instruments. I still have to get breakfast, drive 20 miles, make a cell phone call, and adjust the car radio a bunch of times before I even get to the office. Now when I say it's a miracle that I get to work on time, I really really mean it! I love what my hands can do - I love my hands period.

PS: OMG, I can't believe I forgot to include THE HAIR, the most complicated process of all! Requiring use of both hands, this procedure involves raking, pulling, scrunching, bending, twisting, rolling, smoothing, and spraying - all to achieve a looks which says "quick and easy". Instruments: 2 Palms, 2 Thumbs, 8 Fingers and 1 Blow Dryer. Even better if instruments belong to a trained professional.

1 comment:

SeaSpray said...

Years ago I worked with developmentally disabled clients and had attended a seminar in which we learned how to break the simplest tasks that we do everyday (like brushing teeth) and breaking them down step by step.

I never realized how much is involved in order to perform a simple task.

You have to be aware of your teeth and that they need to be cleaned, to identify objects/tools and how to use them correctly. Too much to type now,

Interesting post. :)