Around the time of my last post, the surgeons replaced the huge cast with a removable one, and I began to be able to take it off and exercise my arm and wrist.
- First, sliding the large lower part over my arm:
- Second, putting the top piece in place:
- Third, having someone else (in this case my son Ian) wrapped and pinned the tensor bandages:
Now I am allowed to leave the cast off when I am home, but am supposed to wear it again if I go into crowds or a place where there is a reasonable chance of getting bumped. I've progressed beyond the simple exercises they gave me before, and will start visiting a physiotherapist tomorrow. I still need a lot of work to get back full use of the wrist, arm rotation, and elbow bending.
I'm using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for writing, and have slowly gotten used to proofreading carefully to correct the places where it misinterprets what I was saying. I still miss things, but far fewer than at the beginning. It's a bit discouraging that it isn't fully integrated with some of the programs I use commonly, such as LibreOffice. I don't have MS office at home. When I recently needed to dictate a long document, I used WordPad. It also works well with text boxes in Firefox, like the one I'm using to create this post.
I can use my left hand a bit more for a few keys, but if I try to type normally with my left hand I raise my elbow, which is bad for both the elbow and shoulder. One friend suggested I get an ergonomic tilted keyboard, which would require less arm rotation. Still can't program or create lecture slides, since the dictation program doesn't help much with that. For the first few weeks, I was told not to lift anything heavier than three sheets of paper, but now the limit is 2 kg. That lets me read newspapers and small books in my normal fashion, until the wrist gets tired. Nobody has told me yet how long to expect the remaining recovery to take, though I have got the impression the weight limit will go up only slowly even if wrist and arm movements recover sooner.
So, life is a bit more normal, but I still have quite a way to go.