I first discovered the magnitude of the obstacles I couldn’t overcome when I started going to the Rehab Center as an outpatient. After I finished my session with the therapist, I went with Eric and my then nurse aid to the cafeteria to have lunch. The cafeteria was a pleasant place, wide and with large windows that overlooked the river. Eric got a turkey sandwich for himself, and a tuna salad sandwich and yogurt for me. He opened the yogurt and handed me both.
I looked around me and saw families seated at round tables. A water bottle was resting on each table. Then, I saw family members grab the bottle, open it, and pour the water onto their glass. I thought of my inability to hold the bottle and unscrew the lid at the same time, and just the thought of it made me feel parched. And the same thing would happen every day we ate at the Rehab Center cafeteria.
From then on, I became sensitive to any action that emphasized my inabilities: I couldn’t lift the soup pot full of soup and stir the ingredients, which left out all the fragrance and the flavors; I couldn’t chop the onions; I couldn’t mince the herbs; and I couldn’t eat ice cream or yogurt – the bowls would fall as soon as I tried to get a spoonful. Every action emphasized my left hand’s absence.
Every day since, I’ve learned about its significance. In the past, my right hand was always the more dexterous one, which made it very useful for me. So much so, that my left was easily forgotten. But in the years after my injury, I’ve realized how much I miss my left when I need to manage in my everyday life: my right can work only as a teammate. So, it doesn’t matter whether the left hand is clumsy or not; it’s still indispensable.