Clothing (1)

I was reading the blog of a friend of a friend, who was talking about how she dresses and makes herself up. She, too, has a dodgy dominant side, just like me. It put the idea into my head of writing about my own restrictions, so here goes:

When I think of a lot of things, we use our left and right hands to oppose each other, for example when opening a jar. Because I effectively have no functioning left hand, there is nothing to oppose the right. This comes into play when dressing too – you can imagine doing up the zip on my coat is a problem. If you can’t imagine, try it!

Other things where I miss two hands working independently of each other are things like tying a tie, or shoelaces. Further, because this has been an issue since the stroke itself, I now feel that my mind has forgotten how to do these, although I’m sure they wouldn’t be too difficult to re-learn if I were physically able.  So for now, there are no ties (not a problem while I’m not working anyway), and I need to buy special corkscrew-shaped elastic laces in my shoes. But essentially, two problems for the price of one!

Early problems, which still crop up from time-to-time, include things as trivial as getting tees, polos and jumpers back-to-front – incredibly, it is difficult to get the orientation right when you have only one arm to manouver the garment. It never was before the stroke, but it is now. Little things like this are an obstacle. Another thing is putting socks on correctly. Easier said than done with just one hand, try it. The problem is that the heel of the sock ends up twisted around (i.e. covering something other than the heel of my foot!). But, as I say, I can get around these things easily enough these days.

Putting trousers on is another trick, just because I need to get them to waist-level (and possibly with a shirt tucked inside – tucked fully inside, mind!) before I can fasten them. Most easily, this involves sitting on the bed (for I dress in the bedroom) and lying backwards, i.e. doing things flat. This way, I can both fasten my trousers, and my belt.

The fun then comes when I realise that I’ve forgotten to take my insulin. I inject into my tummy so need to pull my shirt out to access my belly, and then start everything over!

The other thing this woman talked about was making herself up, and doing her hair etc. Possibly one of the areas where it is advantageous to be a guy. I keep my hair short enough so that I can wash it every day, and do without combing it. So I don’t really worry about a style. And, it’s easy enough to shave with my bad hand. Squeezing shower gels or shaving cream into my hand is, er, an acquired skill, but in terms of difficulty, easy-peasy.

I suppose I’m lucky in that I don’t really have any problem with things like buttons, my remaining hand is dextrous enough, and I can control both the button and the hole, at least enough to marry the two together. In fact, buttons are less of a problem than zips!

The last issue I can think of is hats – things like beanies etc.

I have a few of these – I like the warmth they offer, especially at this time of year. But using one hand to get these things to stay on my head, which is give-or-take spherical, is tricky. My technique, as with many things (don’t ask about the cat food!), is to resort to using my teeth. I’ll let you work out the rest!

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

6 thoughts on “Clothing (1)”

  1. Reblogged this on Stroke Survivor and commented:

    We have just had christmas (least said about that, the better) but fortunately Fandango is trying to keep things vaguely normal by publishing his pompts, including his Friday Flashback.

    I dug out a post today from two years ago, where I try to explain the difficulties I had putting on clothing. I’ll let you read the post for yourselves, but two years later, I still ecognise all the things that I write about in the post, but obviously with two more years practise…

    Incidentally, this post turned into a one-of-two post, the other was written a day later. If you can stomach it, you can find that second post here.


  2. I guess you learn to work around some things but zippers and coats and so many things would take me ages to do it, if I even would succeed. We are flexible in a way that we adapt to the situation as it presents itself. I’m getting better and better in saving energy. I discovered I do very small things to do that like closing the cupboard once everything is inside that needs to be. I try to bundle things up, so doing something invloves getting started, the thing itself and the finisish up so that I need to get up once and can rest afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. We work at things just so they become less of a problem. The remarkable observation is that these are all, in themselves, tiny things. But you don’t really have a choice – when it is cold and raining you can’t really give up on fastening a zipper. I suppose the choice is not to go out at all, but if I never went out, where would that leave me? So I don’t think there is a choice.
      It is amazing, isn’t it? Our thinking is so much improved over before!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve not had a stroke. I had two transient ischemic attacks…yea. small strokes. Doctors here seem to have a vivid imagination when it comes to calling things by other names. the TIA’s both manifested as “strokes”, just not the level a “stroke” needs to be to be called one. The end result is that I have a right hand that goes completely numb for about twenty minutes at a time whenever……there’s no rhyme nor reason to when it goes on me. I am, unfortunately, right handed.
    I have several implements to make it “easier” to do general getting dressed, or semi-undressed to use the bath facilities. None of them work well, and learning to use the left hand for such things has been interesting to say the least. People really don’t understand what we go through unless they belt one hand behind them and try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yes it’s funny how we don’t notice any of this until we lose it, isn’t it? My bad hand can “feel” everything, just can’t use it for anything useful. I tend to use gadgets in the kitchen to do a lot, but it terms of getting dressed, I ended up breaking the things I tried, just out of frustration.


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