March 3, 2015

Frustrated by a Right Handed World

I was right-handed until a stroke paralyzed my right side.  Now that my left hand is my dominant hand I've learned the world discriminates against left-handed people.  Switching hand dominance at 58 years old was an eye opener.  The aggravation goes beyond right-handed (1) scissors and (2) can openers.  (3) The shutter button on cameras is always on the right.  When I hold a camera with my left hand a finger often covers the lens when my index finger depresses the shutter button.  (4) Computer labs make sure there is room to maneuver a mouse on the right side, but don't always leave room on the left.  (5)  Left-handed drivers have to reach around or through the steering wheel to put the key in the ignition which is always on the right.  (6) Many credit card machines put the slot you swipe your card through on the right side.  When the slot is on the top, left-handed people have to push the card away from their dominant side unless the card can be swiped in either direction.  The plastic stylus you sign with is frequently attached to the right side with a very short cord.

(7)  Before my stroke my right hand used to close a jar by turning the lid clockwise and the back of my fingers used to get closer to my forearm (see photo on left).  Now that I use my left hand to turn the lid it's my thumb that gets closer to my forearm.  This new wrist position doesn't match 50 years of muscle memory.  It took me three years to stop making a lid tighter when I wanted to loosen it.

Left handers I've talked to say they solve these problems by using their right hand.  The only advantage left-handed people have is the QWERTY layout of a keyboard.  You can type thousands of words on the left side of the keyboard with the the left hand but can type only a few hundred words on the right side with the right hand (  (8) Deciding which hand to write with is only the beginning.  Left-handed people have to decide which hand to use until the day they die.


  1. Great post! My brother is left-handed. He used to complain about school desks, spiral notebooks, and smudging the ink in his blue books as his hand dragged over what he'd written. But you have it made when you pull into a parking structure and get to reach out the window and take your ticket with your left hand!

  2. I'm naturally a lefty and I've also had a stroke that effected the right side. Lefties also write slower because the western world is mostly right-handed. However, lefties are the ONLY people in their right mind. I feel because I'm a lefty, I naturally can handle more that life throws at me. ;)

  3. I agree about lefties being more flexible. They have to be to survive a right-handed world.

  4. Like your post!! While I really want to overcome these obstacles sometimes we must adjust. Not an easy task but we have to do what we can. I'm still asking for help from my daughter and husband. If it's just me and I have done all I can, I either keep trying with taking breaks until done or find something else to take. For example, the other day could not get a jar top loose so I had to choose something else to eat. I do love that I can type with not much difficulty with my left hand. I still know where all the keys are on the keyboard.
    Have a great day!

  5. After seven years I can type faster with one hand than some able-bodied people I know. I love it!