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Posted by Philip on 19 August 2017, 12:42 pm in , , ,

The metaphor of an on-screen keyboard

Although my vlog got a fair bit of engagement (57 views — not exactly viral), I actually miss writing. So I'm using my mouse with an on-screen keyboard to write this. It's a bit slower than typing with my right hand, but a little more accurate I think. So all in all, it probably averages out around the same.

on-screen keyboard

Today marks the beginning of the sixth week without the proper/usual use of my right hand. I've had a diagnosis of radial nerve dysfunction and a prognosis of 6-12 weeks for it to heal (although some bastard on Facebook said he had it for 5 years — thanks for sharing, it made my day).

It's a little surreal, having lost function without an incident. Just waking up with half as much dexterity as when I went to bed. 

I sometimes run a workshop exercise where I get people to imagine waking up to an unexpected change — in hair colour, gender, wealth, sexual preference, race or function. Change/loss of function always gets the most negative responses yet, as I remind people, it’s the only change that can happen overnight, either feasibly or without conscious choice.

My situation is a testament to that.

So I have still been working hard not to catastrophise this change in function. It’s somewhat common, known as ‘Saturday night palsy’ (referring to drunkenly falling asleep on your arm) or ‘honeymoon palsy’ (when someone else falls asleep on your arm) — in my case, it’s ‘Friday night palsy’.

What has been brought home to me is that my needs are changing as I age. Life is harder than it was five or ten years ago, I’m less mobile, less agile and more prone to falling and dropping things. So I’m also redesigning my support, finding a way to have support twice rather than once a day.

It’s interesting to use this time to reflect on uncertainty, change, acceptance and surrender. It’s fascinating to notice once again, from a personal perspective, how attached we are to certainty and how we struggle to accept and surrender to change.

My first instinct was to fight against this change, much like we’ve seen with Metiria Turei’s resignation. I immediately went into thoughts of, “Nooo! She can’t give up without a fight!” But she had. She accepted and surrendered to the changes her candid revelations had made to her personal and political circumstances, then did what she needed to do to minimise the impact.

In this respect, my using the on-screen keyboard is a metaphor for accepting and surrendering to change. It’s strange and awkward but it’s minimising the impact of my change in function. And who knows? As I use and get used to it, maybe I’ll come to prefer it.

Just as Metiria may prefer her new life.

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