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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Left Arm Out


The New Year came without any clues. Most of the strange numbness and tingling in my left side had disappeared except in the arm. Though I could move that arm, it was pretty much useless. It did not even cooperate when it came to sleeping.

The next battery of tests would not happen until the end of the month giving me a few weeks to wonder if my arm would ever work well enough again or not. I had given up on asking why it had happened. I gave up on the anger though some days proved frustrating. I even accepted that it might remain dysfunctional for the rest of my life. I had a new question. What now, Lord?

No immediate answer came. I had to do something while I waited. I had stopped writing through much of December and knew I should do some more. I could still use the right hand just fine, so I typed one handed or scribbled in notebooks. However, it felt like a tedious ordeal as I tried to write. Even as I managed to slide out some assignments everything had an off tone. The confusion about where my life would lead infused itself into everything I tried to do.

Then one day while reading my Bible the phrase of “little by little” leaps out at me. I had to reread the entire section to glean the meaning. God told the Israelites that He would give them the Promised Land little by little in order for them to grow strong and fill the land. Maybe God had a plan to strengthen me through this trial. What could He be planning?

I felt more confusion, but a hopeful expectancy. Now I looked for the little things in life. Words at church and then reading the reiteration of the above story to the new generation of Israelites after the forty years in the desert confirmed God wanted me to just slow down.

The step by step plodding continued on into February with more excitement. How many people do you know who get overjoyed when they can actually squeeze an exercise ball without it squirting out of their hand? That did supply some interesting entertainment to the cats as they tried to figure out why I kept dropping the ball. However, they never did help me get it back.

This step got me a little closer to whatever goal God had in mind for me. However, I still had to deal with disability pay mix-ups, doctors having no idea, more tests, and no clue if I would get back to work before my short term disability ran out. The big picture still remained in a fog.

Writing became easier despite the one handed typing and awkwardness at holding paper still as I wrote. I did not get much done, but at least it came out little by little.

Then one day I finally opened a creamer on my own at the diner. It took some effort, but I definitely had to peel it with the left hand. If I tried holding it with the left, I would wind up squeezing too hard. It’s interesting how well you can make a creamer squirt when you aren’t trying.

Then I found myself having the confidence to drive. Next I had returned to work and it was spring again. Somehow I managed to do well at some data entry with one hand. I found it excruciating to be at work long or drive my car far, but each week got a little better.

Then one of my happiest moments occurred. I could touch type again! Work progressed far better and my writing came out faster. The doctors told me just to keep doing the physical therapy exercises on my own.

I still have numbness in my hands due to an issue in my shoulders. The reason for the numb side has never been determined. My body isn’t going to handle any giant bounds in its future. It must go step by step.

So here I am wondering if my left hand will remain tingly for the rest of my life. There are still foggy days on my path as I try to understand. I do know one of my goals. I must keep marching onward little by little in a life directed by God.

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This article has been read 743 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 08/23/07
Joanne Sher 08/24/07
This reads as true. Is it? The emotions throughout this piece feel very authentic, and the lesson you teach is one we all need to remember.
Jacquelyn Horne08/24/07
Very encouraging read. I've always been partial to that particular scripture, "...little by little...".
Laurie Walker08/26/07
Little by little. Even as children we're taught that way.

In 2003 I had Bell's Palsy - a paralysis of one (or rarely both) side of the face. 4 1/2 years later I still can't smile all the way on one side, but little by little it's getting better. The small milestones mean the world, don't they?