June 30, 2014

Hand Use Able-bodied Adults Take for Granted

When my hand was flaccid I had to put objects in my mouth or squeeze them between my thighs to hold objects still.  This made me aware of the dozens of times each day I used to reach out to hold an object still so the other hand could manipulate it.  Here is an example of what I mean.  It is aggravating to get out cereal, a bowl, and a spoon, but not be able to open the milk.  My hand can now hold the milk container still so it does not spin around when I remove the cap, but first I have to reach for the handle. 

Using my hemiplegic right arm to reach for and hold a lint trap so my sound left hand can clean the lint trap sounds like a deceptively easy skill.  If shoulder muscles struggle to lift the arm, high muscle tone can cascade down the arm and make hand muscles tighten.  It is difficult to open a tight hand.  I am grateful that my OTs, NeuroMove, and Saeboflex helped me regain  this simple skill.  Being able to reach out and open my hemiplegic hand to hold objects helps me do 26 ADL tasks


  1. You are describing one of my most frustrating tasks, getting my 'bad' hand to do some work. Opening doors is a pain because if I have my cane I have to lean it against the wall rather than transfer it to my bad hand. Getting it into my 'bad' hand requires prying open my fingers and hoping I don't drop the cane in the process. If I walk without the cane and am carrying something in my good hand I have to set it on the ground, open the door, pick it up, walk thru,etc. I'm getting good at one-handed stuff but I'd rather not.

  2. You have eloquently described the task disruption that is produced by being one handed. Being able to open and close my hemiplegic hand 2 to 3 inches means I can put my cane in my hemi hand so my sound hand can open a door. I do daily exercises with my Saeboflex spint because I don't want to lose even this small amount of hand function for all the reasons you described.