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Here I am 3 weeks into the recovery of My right rotator cuff. I’m doing really well and continue to be free of pain. How lucky can a girl get? 

That’s not to say that living in this sling is easy. Needing help to take a shower, get dressed, and fix a meal aren’t things I’m familiar with.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my life depending upon everyone else, but  if that became a necessity I’d have to adjust, and could be a better person for it.

For me the biggest downer has been not being able to use my right hand to communicate. On day three, I attempted to do a crossword puzzle with my left hand. Although I finished the puzzle it was unreadable. But being what some people call stubborn, I decided I had to do something about the out of control pity party I was staging every day.

I decided to pick up every crossword puzzle I could find and even if I couldn’t complete them, I’d use them as a game to teach myself how to write with my left hand. I started printing out the alphabet with both capital and small letters every day with ole lefty. I wish I had saved the early attempts to show you, but I think you can still see the progress that I am making in these photos.  By the time the sling comes off in 3 to 4 weeks, I will be ambidextrous as far as writing is concerned. Will  I continue to use my left hand to write? Maybe, maybe not. If I don’t it will have been one of the challenges that I gave myself to get rid of my stinking thinking during my recovery.

Being a writer with a head full of ideas, typing with one finger isn’t any fun. It abounds with frustration and anger. So I’ve started dictating my thoughts to my computer. That would be great if the computer understood and spelled everything I was saying correctly. But it doesn’t. Therefore I’m learning to pronounce my words very carefully. Still there are lots of corrections to make. So as I dictate I use my left-hand and fingers to delete and correct what I’m writing.

But that is not the only problem. When my shoulder is completely recovered and I can go back to using my right hand I will be back in the flow where ideas flit about like fireflies on hot summer evenings. The flow of words I put down on paper by dictating are choppy and not particularly well written. I am told the reason for this is that these two ways of writing use different parts of the brain.

But you know me. I want to write when I want to write and to get out the words as often as possible. For someone who keeps a daily journal it becomes problematic in that I am not processing my thoughts as freely as I usually do. But I’m doing the best I can and for a little bit everyday try to express myself in a new way without getting too frustrated.

This is my effort for today. My brain is way ahead of where these words are coming from. But what I have written here helps soothe the path to full recovery of both my shoulder and my frustrated ego.


  1. Good for you, Joan. I applaud you on that ambidextrous path.

  2. Joan Rough says:

    Thanks Janet. It’s a great thing to do to keep my brain functioning well.

  3. You look wonderful, Joan! I love your fighting spirit. Many people who I know that have had shoulder surgery have experienced a lot of pain and a long recovery. So bravo to you for using your creativity in recovery. Sending healing hugs your way.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thank you, Kathy! I really am very fortunate. I haven’t heard anyone who’s have this done say they didn’t have pain. Yes it is a long recovery but it’s getting me in touch with reality and change. Sometimes those things are not welcome in our lives. But every now and then it’s good to shake things up.

  4. Joan, good for you! What a good example you are to those of us who would give ourselves a free ticket to feeling sorry for ourselves if we were walking in your shoes.

    I love your smile in the face of your sling.

    Being pain free is a blessing. My father-in-law had shoulder surgery and he was in excruciating pain for quite awhile.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thanks, Saloma! It is very easy to give ourselves a Free ticket to pity ourselves. But I’m learning that feeling sorry for myself doesn’t make me feel happy. Laughing and smiling is what it’s all about when life feels overwhelming.

  5. Who knew that becoming ambidextrous would be a result of your surgery. Your persistence shows in many ways, including printing out the alphabet in large and small letters. (You gotta love it!)

    And (almost) pain-free. Wow! My mother wasn’t so fortunate, as I remember. Best wishes for continued recovery!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Yes, who knew! Before I started writing with my left hand, I was very sleepy and had brain fog. Printing out the alphabet is exercise for my brain and since I’ve been doing it I’m feeling alert, happy, and ready to take on the next challenge! Thanks so much for your best wishes ! What are you doing you need to go out let’s see