Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Those gosh-darn workarounds

Several years ago, I went on a purging spree in our house, which included getting rid of an OXO Salad spinner - the kind where you push the little pump like thing on the top and the water from your lettuce is magically whisked away, leaving you with moisture-free leaves. I ended up selling it on Ebay (even though I squealed when my mom first gave it to me), because for several years before the purge, I'd stopped buying fresh lettuce, opting instead for the bagged, pre-torn, pre-washed, convenient stuff. I didn't really give much thought to why I'd stopped, but now I realize it was because I didn't like (or couldn't do) the extra steps of tearing, cleaning, and sorting the lettuce with my achy, breaky joints.

Thankfully, I haven't cried a river over my beloved salad spinner. Even though I am back to buying fresh lettuce leaves, I don't mind the extra steps since my fingers don't give me much trouble anymore (unless, of course, I'm contending with a power outage!)

That said, I realize that in converting to bagged lettuce, I'd come up with a sort of "workaround" without even knowing it. On one hand this is great...I mean, how resourceful of me. But on the other hand, how sad that I never even realized why I was casting away one of my (once) prized kitchen utensils.

I realized I created another workaround just recently - not because of limited mobility or joint pain - but because the three-hole punch I use to put together handouts for Johnny's business was broken. It's been broken for several months now (I know - I should have taken it up with management), but it wasn't terribly awkward to use, given the workaround (a cross-over maneuver I performed with my hands during each punch) I created to deal with the busted springs. Of course, after Johnny did a round of handouts himself, there was a bright, shiny new three-hole punch on my desk the following week. (Hmmm, I wonder.)

But the funny thing is that the first couple of times I used the new hole punch, I couldn't remember how to use it without doing the hand contortion I'd come up with. It just goes to show how we can forget the changes we've made to accommodate our situation, be it a broken hole-punch or an aching finger.

So just keep an eye out for this concept of making do and creating "workarounds." Forgetting how you've changed the way you do things in order to accommodate the pain you're in can be dangerous - we can forget what "normal" should really feel like. It's good that our bodies are capable of adjusting, but just make sure you're not letting unnecessary pain, fatigue, etc. go unattended because your workarounds have become the norm. Take a moment to recalibrate your health meter, and just make sure you're still on target.

1 comment:

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