Instructables

How does one get dressed, etc with non dominant hand?

Having Right shoulder surgery next week. Short of just  wearing sweats, any hints on using zippers, buttons, and other "activities of daily living" with the non-dominant hand? Thanks

Gorfram4 years ago
Practice, starting now. You'll notice that you actually use both hands for lots of those bitsy little ADL-type things - some of them actually require two hands. For instance, if you're a woman, you probably won't be able to fasten a bra closure one-handed (well, you probably won't be able to even if you're a guy, but it may matter a good deal less :).

For things you can do with just the one hand, it'll be a lot like when you were a toddler or kindergartener and were just learning to dress yourself or form letters on a page. Your brain and your right hand have come a long way since them (one hopes :), but your left hand will be just starting out.

Also, ask your doctor whether you'll be able to use your hand at all: even one finger can make a big difference, one finger + your thumb makes a huge difference.

- Sort out which clothes have the least problematic closures. The ones with fussy little acres of fasteners you can put off wearing unitl your surgeries healed. Elastic and velcro are going to be your best friends forf a while. Zippers can often be helped with a little "tag" of flat cord or ribbon (about 1.5" long & 1/8" wide) loopped through the eensy beensy little hole on your zipper pull.

- Write out the checks to pay your bills during the recovery period now,. Put them in a safe place and mail (maybe you should put the stamps on now, too) as they come due. Same for any other important paperwork coming due, and for birthday cards you wouldn't want to miss sending.

- if you don't have one of those showerheads on a flexible hose, consider installing one. Washing one-handed, while keeping the other arm dry, is a lot easier if you can bring the water to where it's wanted.

- If you drive a stick-shift car, you may need to trade cars with someone who drives an automatic for the duration. Maybe it's easier if you live in Britain or some other place with left-side-driving, but it'd still be pretty darned tricky.

- Without exhausting yourself, take care of as much as you can before surgery - catch up on housework & paperwork, cook meals to freeze, organize things that will be easier to use once they're organized, etc.  But remember that prepared food (and paper plates) can be bought, laundry can be done by your dry cleaner, and most paperwork can be left to accumulate while you're healing up.

- And ask for help. Your friends and family will be happy to pitch in, especially if you can rotate needed tasks among them. When my mothers was recovering from her hand surgery, my siblings and I did relays, and wound up joking about "handing off" Mom like a baton. :)




Well said.
Thanks. :)

And extra super-thanks to LRW for givng me "Best Answer." :)
seandogue4 years ago
Struggle or get someone to help you. Been there myself on several occasions. Broken arms, partial paralysis after a physical assault. I struggled.