Dealing With Injury As A Writer

This past Memorial Day, a perfect storm of events came together causing me to be injured. My Pilates instructor and I mixed up our dates, and I didn’t have training. Rather than work out on my elliptical, I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood lake under cloudless blue skies and a soft breeze. I hadn’t even gotten off my own street when I lost my footing in a sinkhole and went crashing to the pavement. I landed on my right arm, and as I struggled to get up realized I’d hurt myself fairly badly. I’d fallen directly in front of the city golf course, but drivers whizzed past. In Minnesota, on a perfect day like this, nothing comes between a golfer and their tee times!

Long story short, I have an aversion to dialing 911 or going to emergency facilities, so I waited 24 hours before realizing this was more than just a bruise. The Urgent Care doc explained I had fractured my right elbow, and put my arm in a cast. Having the use of only one arm posed an immediate set of problems – getting dressed, bathing, cutting up food, even brushing my teeth. Worst of all, it became extremely frustrating to type with one hand. Lots of one armed paper hanger jokes have gone to my head as my frustration increased.

To remedy the problem, I’ve resorted to using speech recognition. While able to write and get some things accomplished, speech recognition software, at least with Microsoft, has a ways to go in terms of being truly useful technology. Your speech has to be very slow and distinct, and you need to absolutely proofread everything before hitting insert, as the software often translates my speech in laugh-out-loud-funny ways. I would also recommend not using the software while you’re under the influence of painkillers.

On my last doctor’s visit, I got a swanky new removable plastic custom cast (not pictured). Now at least I can drive, bathe, and exercise. Able to choose the color, I selected purple in tribute to Prince. However, I am still left to rely on speech recognition for writing. If anyone knows of better speech recognition software or other tips, please let me know. And, I would love to hear stories from other authors on how they overcame similar situations. I’ll publish the responses this summer.

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