How do you slice a tomato with one hand?

How do you slice a tomato with one hand?

Or slice an onion, put on a shirt, take out the trash?

I’m about to find out.

I’m going to soon have surgery on my left shoulder that will result in having to keep it immobilized for multiple weeks. Sort of like being Velcroed to my side while it heals.

So, I’ve been thinking about how make adjustments in my patterns to accommodate for that eventuality. Because during some of the weeks of recovery I will be alone.

Part of the preparation is doing the outside getting-ready-for-winter things that homeowners do, and some of it is rethinking inside stuff.

Making lunch today  I came across and example: How do you open a can using an electric can opener with one hand?  

I’m right-handed, so it comes down to this question: How many times do I use my left hand, and for what?

Part of the answer is for uncountable, unconscious things. The second part is: I’m about to find out.

Some of this stuff is easy: I can  chop and store onions and peppers and other foods that can be temporarily frozen. I can scour the supermarket for canned items that also come in plastic bags that can be opened with a knife, if necessary.

I will be able to drive, once cleared, because my car, like most now days, has  an electronic transmission with an ersatz stick shift, but is basically an automatic.

Shirts will be interesting, and I think I need bigger ones that won’t require a lot of movement.

Belts will be a problem so for a while I’ll be in sweat pants (which I hate).

I know: In this world of modern conveniences, why worry about this stuff?
Because I don’t want to Uberize or GrubHub a temporary situation into an expensive and avoidable additional expense. I can make spaghetti sauce or soup for a couple of bucks and I see no reason to have it delivered for $12 a plate plus tip.

The reason all of this came to mind, beside the fact that the surgery is upcoming, is that I was watching an older man at the car dealer today. He was walking with a cane, and had a slow struggle with an outward-opening door.  About the time a couple  of people, including me, were about to open the door for him, he managed it.

So, while I’ll be inconvenienced by being one-armed for a while, what about those people, for whom a handicap or an infirmity is a permanent condition?

They make adjustments every day, and for most of us, those adjustments go unnoticed.

We think of them when we see a TV ad for wounded warriors or pass a handicapped-only parking space.

And yes, we live in a world of miracle prosthetics, but those are not available to all.

There are people who need real help, and too often we are stupidly cruel; we use an angry-faced emoji to show our displeasure when we see such acts on the Internet.

In a time when anger has become our national pastime, why don’t we think outside ourselves, feel beyond our own needs?

People hurt.

Sometimes it’s obvious.

But mostly it’s not.

Opening a door for an old man with a cane doesn’t cost anything.



About michaelstephendaigle

I have been writing most of my life. I am the author of the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series. "The Swamps of Jersey (2014); "A Game Called Dead" (2016) -- a Runner-Up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Author Contest; and "The Weight of Living" (2017) -- First Place winner for Mysteries in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Contest.
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4 Responses to How do you slice a tomato with one hand?

  1. Jane Primerano says:

    It’s amazing how nice people are, tho’. I just went to Baltimore on Amtrak, My suitcase was kinda heavy — you know, laptop, etc., and as I turned to look for the elevator as an alternative for the steep stairs in Penn Station Newark, a young gentleman came up to me and and said, “hey, I got it,” and carried the suitcase up the stairs. Both directions, someone put the suitcase on the overhead rack which I can’t reach even with something light. People come through.

  2. Reyna Favis says:

    Having gone through something similar, I can offer you this advice: do as much as you can in advance. Take care of all the little personal hygiene stuff that will be annoying if you only have one hand or the wrong hand (clip your nails, get a hair cut, beard trim, etc.). Make lots of frozen prepared meals in easy to open receptacles or zip-lock bags. Figure out how you’re going to shower and simultaneously protect your stitches. Find your comfiest chair where you might be able to sleep in if you can’t recline. Find a pillow source so you can create soft barriers to prevent you from rolling over. Make sure your local friends are on speed dial if you need anything.

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