Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Typing With One Hand, Part 1

When I entered the 10th grade, I registered for typing class.  I knew typing was typically done with 2 hands but the fact that I only had one did not occur to me.  I had become quite proficient in junior high using the hunt-and-peck method and loved typing so I knew I would love this class.  However, after 5 minutes in class the first day, the teacher informed me that there was no reason for me to sit through the class since he was pretty sure that I would not be able to type.  He said I should go to the principal’s office and wait there for my next class.  So…I got up and left.  I didn’t think much of it.  It actually made some kind of sense. 

At dinner that night, Dad asked how my first day of high school went.  I told him it was great but I could not take typing.  As if he did not hear me, he said, “What?!  What do you mean you can’t take typing?”  Before I could answer, he said decisively, “Yes, you… can… type.  There is a book.  They will order this book and they will teach you how to type.”   

In fact, there was a book called “Typing with the Left Hand.”  Turned over to the other side, it was entitled “Typing with the Right Hand.”  I often wondered how my dad knew that.  It took about 2 weeks for the book to arrive and I started my self-led typing class in the principal’s office.  The home row for either hand is f-g-h-j.  Many words are typed with just one finger, like my little finger (were, awards, cards, are, tree, saw, dear, cares, lip, etc.).  These same words are typed using only the pointer finger for those with just the right hand, etc.  Each day I memorized several more keys.  Single letters soon became pages of text and I did not have to look at the typewriter!  This was definitely much faster than my hunt-and-peck method. 

Two weeks later and when I reached the same speed (34 wpm) as my class, I rejoined them.  At the end of the 10th grade, my average speed was 110 words per minute on a manual typewriter. 

After college, my first job was a medical transcriptionist (MT), a person who types medical records from a dictated voice file.  I did this for 41 years for various hospitals, private doctors, large transcription companies and as my own business.  I loved this job because my disability (one hand and no legs) had absolutely no impact.  I was, for the first time, just “one of the gang.”  In fact, as transcription moved more and more to working out of the home, I could apply, be hired, and begin working without anyone even knowing I was disabled.  What a different world!

To Be Continued...

One-Handed Typing Websites, Tips and Hints Coming Soon - Typing with One Hand, Part 2

Sunday, June 7, 2015

What Is It Like To...

Many times I find myself watching people do something and thinking, "Wow ...that looks easy" compared to what I must do to accomplish the same thing (if I can at all).  Most things are possible for me but I do wonder if people realize how easy they have it with all 4 limbs.

Below is a short list off the top of my head of things that are infinitely easier if one has 4 limbs.  While I am grateful every day for what I can do, there are credible challenges if a limb or two or three is missing.    

What it is like to:

1.   Travel anywhere without worrying about barriers, bathrooms or steps.
2.   Turn on the water while holding a glass.
3.   Hold a baby while feeding a bottle.
4.   Put hair in a pony or other style – mine or child.
5.   Flip a light switch on the opposite side as your hand.
6.   Swim straight and not in a circle.
7.   Pick up a full clothes basket and have no clothes fall out.
8.   Place shampoo on hand before placing on hair.
9.   Place lotion on hand before rubbing on skin.
10.  Close a zipper.
11.  Take a pot off the stove.
12.  Take a hot item out of the oven.
13.  Put anything in the oven.
14.  Clip fingernails or polish them.
15.  Chop vegetables or fruit.
16.  Frost a cupcake.
17.  Go up or down steps / curb.
18.  Open a push-down-and-twist pill bottle.
19.  Open anything with a lid.
20.  Put on a bra or other clothing.
21.  Put in earrings.
22.  Put on a necklace or other jewelry.
23.  Pick up a package from the porch.
24.  Scratch the ‘good’ arm.
25.  Hold a bowl while stirring.
26.  Hold paper down while writing.
27.  Put peanut butter on celery.
28.  Cut meat or melons.
29.  Put toothpaste on a toothbrush.
30.  Put butter/jelly on bread.
31.  Take butter and/or jelly out of a small container.
32.  Open a small container (like syrup).
33.  Have a choice of ANY seat in a stadium.
34.  Ride in ANY vehicle.
35.  Get on a bus or plane.
36.  Tear off a paper towel or toilet paper.
37.  Reach a top cupboard shelf or grocery shelf.
38.  Sit in a car when turning corners and not roll like a basketball on the seat.
39.  Hug someone at head level (love hugging kids).
40.  Live in a two-story home.
41.  Use an umbrella.
42.  Stand up.
43.  Walk and/or run.
44.  Tie shoes.
45.  Put a cap on a pen or take it off.
46.  Jump rope.
47.  Clean eye glasses.
48.  Put gas in the car.
49.  Walk.
50.  Walk on the beach and feel the sand between my toes.
51.  Walk on grass.
52.  Walk in high heels or sandals.
53.  Walk in the rain.
54.  Go up or down stairs.
55.  Have a home totally adapted to me!

#1 and #55 are my all-time favorites.  Oftentimes I marvel at how easy it must be to get on a plane and be in a far-away place by day’s end.  I wonder what it would be like to have a home totally adapted to my needs – height and width, no steps, accessible bathroom, etc. I loved the show “Extreme Home Makeover.” 

Dwelling on these contrasts serves little purpose other than as a reminder to always give thanks for what you have.  Disabled people rarely take anything for granted.

I welcome your comments and/or questions below.  

#myextraordinarylife   #amputee   #disability   #awardwinningbook    #inspirational