Monday, August 18, 2008

Hand stuff.

A quick note before my eyes roll back in my head and I pass out for the night. There were various questions in comments and e-mail, so I'll try to cover them.

I did physical/occupational therapy in an Army Hospital. I'm lucky I got the ball-bearing exercises. They sent one guy down to the target range. And I did wind up in the kitchen cracking ice cube trays (the twisting motion was killing me, so they made me do it a hundred million times). Fortunately, I always took good care of my hands BEFORE my accident. In many ways I was ahead of the curve on dexterity, range of motion, etc. So when I busted my hand, I lost half my range of motion (for instance) but was still in normal levels. So though I FEEL like my hand is screwed up, being used to huge ranges of motion and dexterity, I'm actually not doing too badly. When I'm feeling really rotten, I go visit my hand specialist, and he inevitably marvels at how well I'm doing.

Some things I've done in the past as various forms of therapy, that some of you might want to try:
-Origami helps muscle strength in your fingers and also helps your fingers re-learn how to work independently of each other.
-Knitting of course just keeps up all the ranges of motion you need to function.
-Math class. I had to re-learn how to write, and even after I re-learned, I was still typing grocery lists and everything else possible. Math classes forced me to sit down and write. Worked great, but doing what was essentially occupational therapy AND advanced algebra at the same time, really sucked. (Oh, and try writing on unlined paper. Part of what gives my hands cramps is trying to fit all the numbers in those damn small little spaces.)
-Spinning has greatly improved my pinch strength, from having to hold the fiber as I draft it.
-The ribbon flowers thing I started up with is going to help my super-fine motor skills. I can tell already. Any type of very small-scale sewing would work; beading, embroidery, etc.
-I suspect any future oboe playing (provided it's propped on something and I don't have to hold it up with my right thumb) will help with the overall motion, much the same way the knititng helps. Just keeping the ol' fingers moving around.

If anyone has suggestions of their own, I'd love to hear them. Even if I don't use them now, I'll keep them in mind for later.

So there you go, food for thought, and possible excuses to take up a new hobby. Don't forget to take a five minute rest every hour, give yourself hand massages, and not punch any walls. Or people.


Louiz said...

braiding and other related cord making?

Mosaic making (both cutting up the tesserae (I'm sure that's spelled wrong) and sticking them down?


Valerie said...

coming out of lurkdom here:
Take a look at the videos on the hand health site:


The videos can be kind of creepy (disembodied hands?!) but there are some dextrous movements in there.

_ashuri_ said...

I need to start doing some crafts that are healthier for my hands. I'm insanely brilliant and got tendonitis in my right wrist (I'm right-handed). And while I love knitting, I can't always do a lot of it. I can do more crochet than knitting, and more cross stitch than the both...but I prefer knitting.

Amy Lane said...

Punching people is out? Definitely a reason not to screw up my hand!

NeedleTart said...

Elizabeth Taylor once said,"To keep my hands beautiful, I type an hour every day." Now where we're supposed to find that hour she didn't mention.
Personally I like to play the piano. It's fun to watch my fingers skipping over the keys.
Just don't take up solitare on a lap top with the touch pad. Ask me how I know.

historicstitcher said...

I used to play piano for about 4 hours every afternoon after school. I can't imagine having that much time available anymore!

Also - random thought for your oboe. You could either have a music shop do it, or do it yourself - drill a tiny hole in the back and insert a ring for a neck strap, like on other wind instruments. Different, weird, but oh, so you!

I've been absent from the online community lately. Too much travel!