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Van Horn Advocate


Tuesday, Sept. 30, 1997

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Sore thumb creates
havoc on keyboards

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How does a one-armed man wash his hand?

I got a little insight into that problem over the past weeks when my
right thumb was out of commission. It wasn't much of a wound - just a
cut along the nail. But its location makes it impossible to tape closed,
and it won't heal. And it's on the side that hits the space bar and the
root note of a chord on the piano and organ.

The day after I suffered the cut, I played the piano for three church
services. That certainly didn't help the healing process, and over the
next week that thumb got sore as a rising. I kept hitting it, so finally
taped it with some thick, spongy tape as protection and as a reminder
not to use it.

I still use the fingers on that hand to type (pointer finger on the
space bar misses the mark half the time) and to play the organ (after a
fashion). But to keep the bandage from getting wet, I use a washrag to
soap my face left-handed, then try to rinse the soap off one-handed. Try

Washing that one hand is impossible. I can get soap on it, but there's
nothing to lather it with.

What else? Hoeing. Have you ever tired to hold a hoe in one hand and cut
down a big weed? It can't be done.

Sewing. You have to hold your material in one hand and push the needle
through with the other.

Changing a tire. You could set the jack and pump it up with one hand.
And maybe even take off the lug nuts. But it would be some feat to
wrestle that wheel into place with one hand.

Milking a cow. Yes, you could do it, but it would take twice as long.
Milking works best when you squeeze first one teat, then the other.

Washing dishes. Try scrubbing burned-on grease off a roasting pan while
it slips around in the sink.

Catching a pass. I saw a one-armed man play football, and he did a
pretty good job trapping the ball with his right hand and a left stub.
But he never made the Dallas Cowboys roster.

Rolling a wheelchair. Turning one wheel makes you go 'round and 'round.

Try tying your shoes with one hand. That's probably why velcro closures
were invented.

Button a shirt.

Curl your hair.

Drive a car.

At least I have hopes of getting the use of my thumb back. But think
about people who have to contend with those problems from now on. I
admire David Reyes, who lost part of his left arm before I met him 40
years ago. Now he only has part of a shoulder left, and it is hard for
him to even sit up straight in his wheelchair. But I've never heard him
complain, and he probably puts in more hours at work than you can I do.

My hat is off to everyone who keeps plugging in spite of such problems.

"Let me her joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.."
Psalm 51:8, NIV.

Editor's Note: Peggy McCracken is a writer and webmaster whose column
appears each Tuesday. E-mail her at with comments or
questions about her stories and columns - or anything that is on your
mind. Comments may be published on her web page at

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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