Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Struggles with the Stream of Consciousness

Despite my early struggles with typing, I now am capable of touch typing, allowing the thoughts that race through my mind to have a physical dimension. They appear in black and white (or whatever font and background color I choose), and allow me to share what's on my mind. Yes, you, lucky reader are privy to some of the craziness that flows betwixt my not-so-pointy ears.

My normal script
The advantage of typing is that my thoughts can be conveyed in a form other people can understand and allows me the priviledge of being able to edit the text after it has been spewed.  As an introvert, I need to take some private time to focus a thought, organize it, edit it, and present it.  This is great for when I'm writing emails, work documents, resumes, etc.  It is important that all these documents are legible.  Those of you have been afflicted with my handwriting know that me using a writing utensil to communicate is an exercise futility.  On good days, those who are familiar with my handwriting have a 90% chance or so of understanding what I want to say.  On bad days or for people who have not been exposed to it, well, that understanding percentage drops to about 40%.  So, I type.

Well, not being able to use my right hand made even the most simple of written communications slow and difficult.  Though I have practiced writing with my left hand, clearly it has not been enough. While my hand was trapped in it's blue cast I wasn't able to hold any type of writing utensil and I was limited to typing with my left hand and right ring finger.

This is what I learned when I couldn't use my right hand to fully type.  I need my right hand.  Not able to type properly I wasn't able to get thoughts out of my head.  They were dammed up behind the part(s) of my brain that had to look at the keyboard and direct my right ring finger to the appropriate key.  Even though I was in a writing mode, the words would not flow out of my head.  And (at least in my head) when words are trapped by a dam, like water they eddy and swirl and are lost.

Things didn't necessarily improve once I was in the splint.  I could use all the fingers on my right hand. Except my thumb.  Which I use to hit the space bar.  My typing turned into "Is [hit-space-with-left-thumb] this [hit-space-with-left-thumb] thought [hit-space-with-left-thumb] ever [hit-space-with-left-thumb] going [hit-space-with-left-thumb] to [hit-space-with-left-thumb] be [Ow!-Use-left-thumb-for-space-bar] completed?"  I spent so much energy trying to teach myself to use the left thumb to hit the space bar that once again swiftly flowing thoughts washed away.

On the other hand, I went back to a standard two-button plus scroll wheel mouse, switched the buttons and was able to mouse quite competently with the left hand.

It is now a month post-break and the majority of the pain is gone.  I can use my right thumb for both the space bar and the track ball on my mouse.  I can use forks, spoons, and table knives with my right hand.  With any luck I have strengthened my brain by learning to do simple tasks in mirror image.

And I'm now able to capture my stream of consciousness, once again, in legible text.

1 comment:

  1. God, what a pain in the ass! The things we take for granted until we can't do them anymore, Makes me want to write a lot of long form blog posts by hand and just scan them in, just because I can. I also liked your imagery around the words getting dammed like water.