Empowering others: sharing experiences, ideas; offering creative solutions to common challenges.

Write to me at b.able2@yahoo.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

How Do You Do.... Series Introduction

What an encouragement to receive your responses both publicly via blog and privately!! Thank you so very much.  To give you an idea of what to expect  in the very near future, and as part of the 'introduction', I was thinking about the phrase we have used so commonly when we meet another: "How do you do?". Frequently, after I meet someone I am asked, "How do you do.... (a specific task/activity)?"
So.... let's chat about that! I will be commenting on how I address specific bimanual tasks both with and without my prosthesis... When applicable, I may provide additional info between the voluntary closing (Adept) and voluntary opening (hook) terminal devices.
I've used the hook for most of my life. Believe it or not, it is by choice, and no, not because I loved being called names (you guessed it, Captain Hook was the most common, least imaginative!) It was because even early on, I recognized that for me, (and that is key) function takes precedence over cosmesis. At the time... and we are talking decades ago, there were not many choices! So as I introduce the How Do You Do series, let's talk about the 'times' and the culture of the times for a moment.  We now live in a culturally-diverse and culturally-aware society. Everything in medicine, education, government, economics, entertainment, commerce and religion speaks of it. But that was not always so...
I was born in the mid-1950's. If you were to Google those years you would find that Eisenhower was president, racial segregation was ruled unconstitutional, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on public transportation, the first US satellite completed orbit around the earth, Alaska and Hawaii became states and domestic airlines opened their passenger service between NYC and Miami. It was in this time that I was born; and in spite of not having all 10 fingers and all 10 toes; was "wondrously formed" (Psalms 139.14). Why is this important? It is important because:
a. it was the reality for that period of time; b. it would be a full 20 year time period when the period of 'tolerance' would then emerge; c. it paves the way for the period of  'acceptance' that we now experience.
My reality was this:
1. I was born without my right forearm and hand;
   (for the record, as scarey as this probably was for my parents, I do have multiple siblings who were born after me, all with 10 fingers and 10 toes!)
2. my parents taught me that God made me this way;
3. there was a measure of expectancy/accountability:
        -they also taught me that I could do everything  that anyone else could do,
        -especially if I wanted to, though I might need to do it differently;
        -they would help me to figure out those diffent ways
        -and that I was not 'lesser' for any of these reasons.
So the impact of these realities was this:
1. I could not change how I was born: "it is what it is";
2. there was a divine purpose and plan for me to be this way;
3. the opportunity of using a prosthesis (at that time, for that culture) was a privilege and the expectancy was that I would learn to tolerate and use it to the best of my ability with their encouragement and support to be the best I could be and on a par with my peers.
During early childhood through adolescence my options were a body powered hook, a body powered cosmetic hand, a passive cosmetic hand, or nothing. 'Nothing' was not really an option. -Not in my family culture! For me, in the 1960's and 1970's the body-powered hook was the best option: lightweight and functional. In my very pragmatic mind, I knew that I did not have 2 hands, was highly unlikely to grow a hand and decided that I did not need to look the part, but wanted to function the part!
Stay tuned for the next installment: How Do You Do......?

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