Today I’m going to share some tips and tricks that I have learned through my years being 1 handed. Now, remember that things come easier for me because I was born without my right hand. Those who have suffered a traumatic amputation due to illness or injury might have to approach tasks in a different way or it might take longer to learn/re-learn certain tasks. Don’t get down and don’t beat yourself up for it. Everything takes time and YOU will figure it out, YOUR WAY.
Where to begin? How about…..
1. When tying my shoes I need to be seated. I cross my leg over in order to reach my laces with my nub. Kneeling while tying my shoe is very difficult though can be done it’s just easier to sit down.
2. When tying someone else’s shoe it’s best for them to be higher than me; meaning if my kids are sitting on the stairs they sit up higher than me or they have to put their foot on my leg in order for me to hold the laces with my nub.
3. There is NO shame in slip-on or velcro shoes! Especially in today’s fashion I prefer shoes I don’t have to tie but that isn’t always available.
4. For Females: I put my bra on the same way you do, one breast at a time 😂 Sorry had to do it! I just attach the closure hooks in the front and turn it around to the back. In my specific case, I don’t care for front closers that are harder to hold.
5. Coats; To put on, I put my nub in first and sling the coat to my “good arm.” To take off I drop both sides off my shoulders and take my nub out first then my “good arm.” When wearing my prosthesis I put my coat on without it then pull my sleeve up and put my arm back on, it’s much easier than trying to thread it through the coat. To take my coat off I take my arm off first, the complete the steps of taking is off.
6. Pants aren’t an issue.
I have some videos available to visually demonstrate how I do different fasteners, here is my shoe tying video. You can find the rest here YouTube Channel
1. Most cars on the road today are pretty accessible and easy to operate for those of us with one hand or other similar limb differences. One of the best inventions thus far is the push button start. It allows me to start my vehicle with my nub, vs reaching all the way around the steering wheel to turn the key. If I were right-handed this wouldn’t be an issue, but for those of us who are left-hand dominant push buttons make life just a little bit easier.
2. “Suicide knobs” or tractor knobs are an optional attachment you can use to help with turning the wheel if you have difficulty. During drivers ed back in 1997, we tried it out, and it turns out I was way too strong and it caused me to oversteer the vehicle.
3. Radio controls on the steering wheels! This came out in the early 2000’s and the first vehicle I got with those controls to change stations and volume control blew my mind! I no longer had to reach across to change stations or turn the volume up. It saved stress on my shoulder from reaching across and obviously was “safer” than me reaching through or over the steering wheel. Thankfully, it’s another advancement in the auto industry that is almost standard on all vehicles these days.
Oh, the wonderful world of babies! I’m a blessed mom x3 so I have explored the world of baby equipment and even saw new things come about in the 6 years time frame from my first birth to my last birth. I thoroughly researched and tested a lot of equipment before we had our first son back in 2008. Here are a few of my findings.
1. Finding the right stroller that is one hand open/close. Our first was a Chico stroller and infant carrier car seat combo. After testing the other major brands I found that Chico worked the best for my limb difference situation. I was able to hold the carrier on my nub and also get it in and out of the stroller. I was able to use that stroller/car seat for the first 2 boys, but they wore it out needless to say. So when our youngest came around it was time for a new one and this time it was a Graco jogger style with the closing mechanism in the seat. (a little strap you pull and the stroller folds in half)
2. Car seat location. For me being left handed I prefer to have my babies on the back drivers side so that I can access the latches, belts and other safety features that keep my kiddos safe in the car. If I were right-handed I have my baby on the passenger side for convenience for getting them in and out of car seats.
3. High chairs, who would have thought that high chairs needed to be addressed for accessibility? Well, they do! Think about it, most high chair tray’s have buttons on both sides… Not really accessible to someone with 1 hand. So I had to find one that had the single button/grip in the center to use.
I hope this short article will get you thinking outside the box. I also hope that it shows how adaptable humans are. We truly are the creators of our own lives. We can figure out almost anything thrown our way if we CHOOSE to. I personally do not use adaptive equipment, though there are tons of items out there to make things easier for anyone who might be limited due to any kind of physical limitation.
Live and learn is a popular saying for times when you might have made a mistake, though I believe it to be relevant throughout life as a whole. Every day we are learning something, whether we are learning to ride a bike with 1 hand, or a 16 year old taking their driver’s test, we have to figure out how to accomplish the task at hand. No one comes into this life knowing how to do everything, no one will ever know how to do everything, no one does everything the same way as everyone else. All we have to do is look past “visual differences” to see that we are all different, but are also ALL the same creatures learning how to live life our way. ❤️