Sunday, March 2, 2008

Day Six: Technology Wins the Day

I've never really been a man of few words. I'm not the silent type at all. My style runs more toward the loquacious than the taciturn. The last week, however, my easy flow of conversation has been severely cramped--digitally speaking--owing to the loss of dexterity in my left hand. In reality, there's nothing wrong with my left hand, it's just that I've been ordered not to use it.

Semantics alert: I find it more than a little ironic to use the word ‘dexterity’ with reference to my left hand. "Dexter" is the Latin root for “right" (as opposed to” left"). FYI, "sinister" is the Latin root for “left." I've heard it said that in medieval morality plays, the bad guy always enters from the left, making him the "sinister" character. The use of the word "dexterity" to describe facility with one's hands probably comes from the fact that most of us are right-handed.

If you've just come from a different planet or your surname is Van Winkle, I'll leave you to read previous posts to gain a fuller understanding of my current sinister limitation. But, since inquiring minds want to know, several friends have asked, "as a doctor, don't you find it hard to be the patient now, following the orders of another doctor?"

To me, the answer to that question is obvious. However, we medical doctors do have a reputation for not taking our own advice. I'm not sure if this reputation is truly deserved, but I have heard of instances where doctors made very poor patients. Truth be told, it took me a long time to come to the point of having an MRI scan done, so I suppose I could be accused of lack of compliance with standard medical care to some degree.

In other professions, this is usually referred to as stubbornness.

Not being a particularly stubborn person, and hoping to encourage other patients to actually act on the advice of their doctors, I have decided to be a compliance and motivated invalid. Besides, my physical therapist told me if I do everything he says I'll get out of this darned sling a lot faster.

Anyway, if you have detected a certain loquaciousness to my current post, it derives from a certain technical superiority I have achieved over my lowly laptop. I've engaged the assistance of a software program called Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I use extensively at my office to complete my electronic medical records.

I forgot that I have a resident version on my laptop, which does not contain the extensive medical database that is stored on my network at the office, but works perfectly well for everyday conversation. Now, I just lean back and shoot off my mouth, and the poor little laptop does all the typing for me.

There's nothing more reprehensible than a winner who gloats over-much, so I will show my poor vanquished laptop some benignant restraint (not to mention the patience of my gentle readers, most of whom have come to appreciate a certain brevity in my recent posts). I will end this post with a final thought, which I found most pleasant:

As Soulmate was driving us to church this morning, I mentioned to her that looking after me for the last week or so has probably better prepared her for our upcoming adoption. Having just bathed me, dressed me, fed me, and bundled me out to the car to go to church, I allowed that she would be doing just about the same thing with our little Chinese adoptee, who will be about one year old when she comes home with us sometime this summer (God willing).

“No”, she said, “she will be a lot harder, because you're at least ambulatory, articulate, and potty trained.”

Wow! I feel so affirmed!

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