The Light Switch

Really pleased this morning, I’ve achieved what was quite a longstanding goal. The first time was a couple of days ago, the second was just now.

The goal? To use my bad arm, unaided, to switch the kitchen light. Not much at all, but it shows how I’m getting gradually more movement.

The switch in question is on the wall, around 5 feet off the ground. Around about shoulder-height. With some degree of effort, I can get my arm to the horizontal, but just getting it that few inches higher, I haven’t managed. If I extend my arm too much, it gets too heavy and I can’t support its weight. So I have to move the bits of my arm very deliberately – it feels exactly like a crane. A Herculean effort. But, a couple of days ago, I finally conquered it. Even when I get my hand high enough, I’m not really dextrous. The reeason I can do it at all is just because I us my fist a bit like a club! But, one thing at a time…

Right now, I’m still at the stage where I sometimes succeed, but mostly I fail, so there is a further goal – to get my success rate up to 100%. Yesterday, for example, I crashed and burned. So it’s kind-of a continuous challenge for now, until I’m reliable.

This post probably seems quite trivial. I hope so. Be grateful that what takes me a year, you can do with no effort whatever.

I don’t really see any improvement from day-to-day, so having finally accomplished this after trying for so long is a milestone. My mindset is that all of these disabilities are temporary, that one day I will overcome them – this seems to be a typical trait of survivors no matter what their current situation. I think I need that sense of hope to keep going.


  1. Reblogged this on Stroke Survivor and commented:

    Fandango appears to be getting back to normal after his house move, and a short while ago he posted his Friday Flashback.

    I have always liked that idea, so shall also post my own. As much as anything, it reminds me of where I was. Hopefully, you will find it entertaining too.

    I had a quick look through today and found a post which exemplifies my recovery – the light switch! I had a goal for a while to use my bad arm to turn on a light. I blogged about it and when I finally got there, it had been after about a year of attempts. This was the post where I commemorated my succss, two years ago tomorrow.

    I’m not sure it I explain the problem very well in my post. Most of the time, my arm hangs down to about groin level – its default position. If I work at it, I can lift my arm to shoulder level. I can hold it there maybe five or ten seconds. Getting it any higher than that is a major effort. I can’t, ven now, put my bad hand on my heead, say.

    The reason this switch came in was because it is about 6 inches above shoulder level. And for a while, it was impossible. Now, I can do it, but I’m still only strong eenough to lift my hand up for 10s or so, so three is no room for dicking around.

    I tend not to try it particularly any more, just because I can do it every time I try. If fact, I was able to do it just this morning. I still have to move my arm this bit then that, very like a crane I guess, the kind of movements I made seamlessly before without even thinking.

    I’ve noticed that even though I can flick the switch as an exercise, I never try to use the bad hand instinctively to turn the light on or off as I’m entering/leaving the kitchen. I always have to go in the kitchen deliberateely in order to test myself. So it is far from “natural”.

    My hand unfortunately is still the same. I can use the fist as a “club” to flick the switch, but I can’t actually use the fingeers. Even if I make a pointy fingeer beforee I start, it has curled up again by the time I raise my arm to the switch. If you remember Action Man with the kung fu grippy hands, that is our default position.

    So my hand is mostly useless. My arm is doing okay though, I think. Onee of my bugbeears is that survivors are mostly just left on thir own to either sink or swim, so I haven’t seeen anybody to tell me otherwise! Truly, I can understand why some peopl just give up.


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