No sooner had I written about resistance yesterday, then I slipped on the wet bathroom floor and fractured my right wrist. Yikes! This is going to be a tough hurdle to overcome.
A six-in-the-morning ER visit, a revealing x-ray, a failed attempt at work and an afternoon visit with my primary doctor later, and I was splinted, medicated and swiftly contemplating how to meet my word count with a non-functioning right hand. While limited, I had some fairly good possibilities.
Fortunately, I had everything I would need: a functioning left-hand, trackpad, a facility with Dragon Naturally Speaking, a Sony Digital recorder, and a firm intent to finish the month with 50,000 words written.. Thankfully, I already had all of them in place.
The Apple trackpad
I replaced Apple’s sleek shiny white mouse with their trackpad a year ago. I did this to reduce stress on my right carpal tunnel. Thankfully, this prepared me for its absolute necessity until this fracture heals.
Unlike the mouse, the trackpad doesn’t require much of your wrist to function. To generate the gestures needed to move the cursor, scroll, and select, the fingers of my left-hand work just fine.
As you can see I use an Apple Bluetooth keyboard and have attached it to the trackpad via a connector called the magic wand. I can shift the trackpad to the left side, but I don’t have enough hand facility to negotiate that so I will leave it on the right for now.
I use this product by Nuance on my PC at work. In October, I purchased the Mac version in order to use dictation on my home Macbook Pro during Nanowrimo. At the time, I thought it would take some load off my hands during writing. Little did I know one hand would be out of the picture, and The Dragon would be an absolute necessity.
The Mac version has some significant differences from the PC version I’ve used at work for over five years. Luckily, the actual dictation part is quite similar. I resisted learning how to work with the changes in the interface and commands, so never wrote more than one scene with it. That was going to be different now.
To be fair, I also used the dictation that’s built into the Mac OS. While it can be a lifesaver, it is fraught with tons of errors in interpreting my speech. Hands down, Nuance has the better product.
A digital recorder completes the package
My October Nanowrimo preparation included purchasing the Sony PX-333 Digital Recorder. This device, purchased on Amazon for about $50, is narrower than a pack of cigarettes, records speech and downloads it to your computer via USB. Dragon Naturally Speaking then transforms it into words on the page. My first trials of it worked but it was awkward, so i have not used it at all in November, until now. To make it to 50,000 words in the next two weeks with a fractured right hand, I know I have to ride this learning curve. I’ll keep you posted.
I offer much respect to those with permanent disabilities who use what they have AND the tools of technology to write and create, Be it during National Novel Writing Month or otherwise, this is no small feat. It is doable and requires focus and belief in your goals. Much respect.
I had no idea when I started this journal that I would lose the function of my right-hand in the middle of the month. I think unknown forces in the universe placed all the little things like the trackpad, magic wand, the dictator and purchasing the Mac version of Dragon in my toolkit long before I’d need them.
So, my part in the matter is to recognize that while circumstance has slowed me down, it will not take me out of the game.
That and a lot of editing will get me through. Oh, and the pain meds.
Has crises slowed or stopped your progress? How did you handle it?