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Some Days It's Hard to Wipe Your Butt

When asked the question "What hand do you wipe yourself with?" Most folks need a moment to respond. Lately I have been thinking about it a lot. More on that in a minute.

I am scheduled to take massive doses of pain killers starting July 5th. I am going to have shoulder surgery too. The drugs however; are much more intriguing. So I am going to focus on being pain free. I just hope I don't have to sign any legal documents for a few weeks.

You know what's cool about all this? I am in good company having a torn labrum repair. Marian Gaborik of the NY Rangers and Ryan Kessler of the Vancouver Canucks just had their shoulder surgeries this month too. I am feeling sort of important now. They make millions, and already had a bidet. Me, I have to make other plans.

The doctor gave me some instructions to prepare me for life without the use of my right arm. And damn it, I am no south paw! I will have to learn how to dress myself with one hand. I believe I can just wear boxers about the house. I mean I will be loaded on Vicodin, and my wife will probably duct tape them on to keep the kids safe.

One of the guys on my team at work just took care of his son who had the same surgery and he told me to keep the ice going, sleep sitting up and be close to the bathroom. I understand the ice and the sleeping sitting, but I didn't know that close proximity to a toilet had enhanced healing qualities. Maybe I should have spent more time in there and this might not have happened...

Anyway, I started to think about all the things I use my right hand for that are going to have to switch to the left, or can wait 6 weeks. Other then finding my a$$, there are other things that I need both hands for.

Tying my shoes. I guess the flip-flops are going to be back in vogue.

Picking up my daughter. This will have to wait a few months. :(

Taking out the garbage and mowing the lawn. Doing the happy dance in advance. :)

Grilling. This is going to work some how. I'll keep you posted.

Flipping off bad drivers. I can manage only using my left. But I do prefer to expressing myself in stereo. It is not a hand-free activity.

Stuff in my right front pocket. This is where I keep my phone, my chapstick and my contact case. Dang it! My phone has a right handed security pattern that I do with my thumb. I guess I won't be making any calls. I can manage the chapstick with one hand; I have watched Penn & Teller many times. I suppose I will skip the contacts. With all the narcotics I will be taking, I probably won't know whether they are working or not.

Change radio stations in the car. I'll be a passenger, so I am good on this one.

Get my wallet out of my right rear pocket. One of the most painful positions for me right now is that one. It's already on the left. I may make some excuses so my wife has to pay for a few things. ;)

Picking my nose. I am good here to, I can switch hit.

Opening the front door. I don't think my wife is going to let me run around the neighborhood in my boxers. I'll probably take a few weeks off.

Stick my finger in the cake. We actually don't eat cake, and somehow sticking my finger in the humus doesn't do anything for me. Not a loss.

Signing checks. Actually we have online banking and I haven't used a pen in like 5 years.

Brushing my teeth. This can wait 6 weeks.

Wiping myself. I am dreading this.

So, which hand do you wipe yourself with, and can you switch for 6 weeks?

Thanks for all the votes and comments. Yes, you MAY vote and comment!

128 votes + -


jackflak wrote 114 months ago:
Ha! While I was in the navy, stationed aboard submarines, we would have conversations like this...
Two guys standing watch, staring at screens for about 6 hours....
Jack-so Joe....Which hand do you wipe with?
Joe-My right. I like to lean over to my left...allows my right cheek to be spread and then I use my right hand. Hey since we're talking about this, what hand do you use to masturbate with?
Jack-My left. You?
Joe-My right.

and fade to black...

good times!!
fishermanbob wrote 114 months ago:
the things we take for granted. good luck with all of it!
Mustangsally1000 wrote 114 months ago:
funny jackflak! OK, Mr. Almighty...this is one of the good ones, and you aren't even high yet. Looking forward to the descriptions of you becoming a lefty. You do realize, if you are a are in your right me!!! So, you grab your phone with the left..put it in the right...your thumb will take over and it will all be good. can carry the garbage out with your left hand. Bwahahahahahah..
hugs and best wishes for a speedy recovery. It'll all be good in the long run!! When you can run long..:D
Wonderwoman2677 wrote 114 months ago:
I know from experience you can pick a kid up with one arm... You're strong, I'm sure you will manage that too! Good luck. Hopoe you recover quickly. Enjoy the vicodin while you can :)
JustLindaLou wrote 114 months ago:
LMBO!!!! One of the best.... Can't wait for the drug-inluenced blogs!! uhm... you CAN blog one-handed right?????? Cuz we are not gonna be happy if we have to wait 6 weeks for more wit n wisdom from your warped mind!! (It's all about US after all!!)
Hoppymom wrote 114 months ago:
If you expect to be married at the end of the six weeks you need to figure out how to brush your teeth left handed. I wish you the best with your surgery.
girlsaint wrote 114 months ago:
Not sure about the reason for being close to the bathroom, must be that you will need to pee....because for sure you will get to experience the joy of anaesthesia and painkiller induced constipation. Just another joy that is awaiting you ;) Good luck with your surgery, hope all goes well...
demery12371 wrote 114 months ago:
I agree with girlsaint.... become friends with stool softener LOL.
And since I'm just coming back from my surgery (not arm of course) my advise is definitally follow the resting requirements :)

Love the blog... and good luck with your surgery.
tauntonlady wrote 114 months ago:
Reminded me of a very old joke... Which hand do you wipe your bum with? I don't use my hand, I use tissue... Enjoyed the blog and voted. :)
Meechity wrote 114 months ago:
A couple of days ago I sliced off the very tip of my right index finger and I can't use that hand for many daily tasks, including, well, bathroom needs.

Switching hands is VERY awkward. What helped greatly: wet wipes. They're large, thick, and cleansing.

Over a longer period of time though, you may get the hang of it!

Best of luck. :)
TrailRunner61 wrote 114 months ago:
First of all, I'm so sorry you have to have the surgery. I had it done and I'll spare you how bad it was but I'll try and give advice. Sorry I'm rambling, but I just woke up so I'm not making a new paragraph for each topic. :) First of all, get one of those ice cooler, water circulating thingies that has a pad on it that you can place on your shoulder. It relieves pain better than morphine. I am not kidding and I apologize for not knowing the correct name for it. Usually your insurance will pay for it but even if you have to purchase it yourself, it's worth it! About the toilet..since you're a man, I'd pee outside or at least sit down. For #2, use your left hand, lean forward (without falling over!) and buy some Charmin, moistened, 'butt wipes'. It helps you get what you miss. lol. Flipflops? No, no, no. Trust me, you do not want to fall on that shoulder. You're better off to go barefoot than to trip in those things. For some reason, even months after my surgery, (drug free)my balance was messed up. I learned to type and write left-handed and got to be pretty good at it. The therapy I had was horrible. They had me hurting so bad that I'd take a pain pill before I left, then I'd go home and do NOTHING the rest of the day because I hurt so bad. My therapist slowed my progress! I went to therapy from January until JULY! My Dr. had told me that I'd never be able to raise my arm above my head again. He was wrong! I ended up dropping out and painting my entire basement with a paint roller! The motion of sliding my arm up and down the wall completely strengthened my arm, so if you like to paint... go for it! Also, I drove myself to therapy one day, arm in sling, and found myself with a flat tire, by myself, along the interstate. At that time I had a gas-guzzling Expedition with huge tires. I also had left my purse and wallet at home. What a mess! lol If you can have someone take you to therapy, at least in the earlier weeks, do it. Also, you wont be able to open cans with a can opener or get lids off jars, so keep that in mind. Moving the mirror in your car. It took me months to be able to do that with my right hand alone. I had to take my left hand and raise my right arm to push the mirror this way or that way. It worked. lol Getting dressed, pants are really hard but I can help you with the shirt deal. Practice putting on a t-shirt by not using your right arm. You can slip your left hand into the left arm hole, push the arm through, pull the shirt down over your head, then use your left arm to help put your right arm into the sleeve. It takes practice but you can do it. Taking clothes off was easier, (isnt it always, lol) but I basically would pull my left arm out first, pull the shirt over my head and then pull it off my right arm. Shirts with buttons might be your best option at first. It isn't easy but you can learn to button a shirt with one hand. Good luck, keep up your sense of humor because you will need it. I'll say a prayer for you that you have little pain and that you recover quickly!
cdhaverland wrote 114 months ago:
Good luck with the surgery, can’t wait for the drug induced blogging!
mommaski4 wrote 114 months ago:
Blogging...what about blogging? Can you do that one handed? How about the hunt and peck method? You HAVE to keep blogging. Looking forward to reading some great drug induced ramblings. ***Good luck with your surgery!***
Denjo060 wrote 114 months ago:
I myself am a righty and I dont know if I can wipe with my left I never tried and hope I will never have to Goodluck and looking forward to some really interesting blogs in the near future
Here2GetFit wrote 114 months ago:
Great read. Good luck with the surgery.
SusanDoesIt wrote 114 months ago:
I actually hurt my right hand once, and changing to left to wipe was probably the HARDEST thing out if it all! Sorry...but true.
duluthian wrote 114 months ago:
Ha ha ha - too funny. Apparently Men don't wear "flip flops" they wear "Mandals" So treat your self to a new pair and good luck with the surgery.
MizSaz wrote 114 months ago:
This cracked me up, thank you! My left arm exists mostly for symmetry, so I'd be in some trouble if I were you. Best of luck, and a speedy recovery to you!
LastSixtySix wrote 114 months ago:
It takes a baby boomer's guy perspective to jolt me out of my cocoon sometimes. LOL Blessings to you and yours as you transform yet again through the help of a brilliant medical team! You'll be back to "wiping and picking" with your regular hand in no time.
kevinlynch3 wrote 114 months ago:
Sounds like your surgery is a little more extensive than mine was. I had arthoscopic surgery for an impingement and was only in a sling for 3 days. The doc wanted my arm moving as soon as posisble post the surgery. The water/ice cooler that circulates cold water to a sling that straps over your shoulder is MUST. I still use mine occasionally if I do a particularly tough lifting session and the shoulder is bothering me afterwards. I slept sitting up in a lazy boy for the first 36-48 hours post surgery with the pain killers I was on. You will notice shoulder motion you didn't think about. Pressure you put on your shoulder while driving through leaning (this was a biggie). Pressure from using a mouse because of the position you hold your arm in (another biggie that lasts a considerable amount of time post surgery). Lucky for me..I had surgery on my right shoulder and I'm a south paw so some of the things you mentioned above, I didn't have problems with. Big thing is to make sure that pain doesn't prevent you from pushing yourself once you start physio. I wish now that I had started lifting/p90x ETC much sooner than I did.
ellie0213 wrote 114 months ago:
I truly have never been asked any questions about my wiping style! Maybe it's a guy thing! LOL. We will be praying for you David! (and for your wife! Especially for your wife =D)
bllowry wrote 114 months ago:
Thanks to some aggressively anti southpaw nuns growing up, I am now pretty much ambidextrous, as the only thing I do exclusively is write right handed (and I can write left handed, but its not as pretty). I have an uncle who is also a lefty and he's fascinated by how easily I can switch back and forth. I'm sure you'll adapt; necessity is a great teacher.

Good luck with the surgery.
ctlinj7 wrote 114 months ago:
rmsrws wrote 114 months ago:
Diaper wipes that are flushable are great! A slotted spoon that you can weave the wipe through will also make things a lot more manageable. I just went through this with my hubby on his right shoulder. Also stool softners are a neccessity with all the pain meds, that will make you constipated!
mowree wrote 114 months ago:
I've heard that using the other hand actually stimulates different parts of the brain - is actually GOOD for you. Will be interesting (for all of us) to see what results from that!!!
I wish you the best with your surgery. I mean that. Hope you have the best outcome.
Thanks for the entertainment!
ChadWGreen wrote 114 months ago:
Wishing you good luck and speedy recovery from a fellow shoulder surgery survior.
TotalTiger wrote 114 months ago:
It could be worse. My dad once broke both arms. Had to get his wife to do it.
TotalTiger wrote 114 months ago:
It could be worse. My dad once broke both arms. Had to get his wife to do it.
Spunky50 wrote 114 months ago:
GREAT blog!! Still laughing!! Praying that your surgery goes well and you'll be up and "running" soon!! Hope you can type left handed we'll miss your blogs!! God Bless!!
Josette89 wrote 113 months ago:
I've had some issues like this after a car accident. My left side of my body was messed up and I couldn't wipe myself. I had to have others do it for me. Neither hand was successful. I couldn't stretch my body that way and everything was just awkward. I got better though, I am totally normal now, except for various scars on my body. Although, my best friend who was in this accident with me has a hard time with his left side. He was a lefty. He has come a long way, he can do many things on his own, but he will never be able to live on his own. He needs assistance with many things. He has adjusted to his condition very well. If he can do it, anyone can, He is inspirational.
annabellj wrote 113 months ago:
may i suggest baby wipes?
ramavisca wrote 113 months ago:
Take it from a guy who's had the shoulder surgery; keep a sponge by the bathroom sink to help you wash up. It'll be awkward using your left for a few weeks, but you'll get the hang of it. Get a bunch of button up shirts if you don't already have some. It's a lot nicer than struggling into a t-shirt. You might want to get a slim wallet to keep in your front left pocket. It really sucked for me keeping it in my back left pocket. Took me a couple months to get used to sitting on it, and by then my right was out of the sling. Someone mentioned one of those cooler chiller pads. They're the shit, really. I still use mine from time to time, and it still feels awesome. Oh yeah, and watch your pain med intake. Get some stool softener, drink lots of water, and eat a ton of veggies. Narcotics will plug you up like crazy. Good luck!
loumaag wrote 113 months ago:
This isn't exactly what you had in mind when you asked your question; however, I will provide this bit of information garnered from my wife's aunt. Several years ago, when she was in her 70's, she was playing golf and somehow fell down a hill breaking a couple of bones and tearing some ligaments in both arms. She ended up in what might best be described as a body and arms cast. She looked a lot like she was the permanent "Y" in the YMCA song. In any case when this situation came to my wife's attention (they live in CA and we live in TX) sometime later (after the cast was removed) she asked her aunt how she handled the wiping situation. After all, being female there was more to it than just a once a day problem. Her aunt replied, "Well honey, you find out who your real friends are."
GrannyLilly wrote 113 months ago:
Well Hello... I'm sorry you have to have this surgery, I had it done about 3 yrs ago and in retrospect, it was not so bad. I had a complete tear with retraction. Now I have a couple of screws in there and a graft, but hey, I came back 100%. I'm not going to lie, it is painful, keep the ice going... sleep in the chair.... take your meds like clockwork, do not put it off even a few minutes because you will live to regret it. I listened to all the instructions, suggestions and advise and was glad I did. AND most important, keep your sense of humor...using your left hand for writing, typing, wiping, eating, gets surprisingly easier... and be GLAD that you do not have to hook or unhook a bra or shave your underarms! Good luck! Lilly
caroleslaststand wrote 113 months ago:
As someone who is also recovering from surgery, I would venture to guess that you need to be close to the bathroom, because you'll be losing a lot of excess fluid for awhile. I had to pee about every 90 minutes. Has something to do with a combination of fluid created by the healing process (swelling), added by the necessity of drinking massive amounts of fluid as you heal (do drink your water!)
Anonymous wrote 98 months ago:
My cousin lost one arm in Iraq so she showed me a neat toilet trick. You pull the crotch of your panties to one side just as you sit down on the toilet. I found I could handle all three female functions that way which saved me the difficulty of pulling them back up each time. Now five months later I still use this trick as it saves me 20 or 30 seconds pulling down and then pulling back up.
Anonymous wrote 50 months ago:
I am looking at having carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand and releasing con-stricture in both ring fingers for trigger finger. My biggest worry is how I will be able to wiped and also how to take care of my Golden Retriever. But this column alerted me to the other challenges I will have, but obviously not as tough as the shoulder replacement that is also in my future. So thanks for giving me some solid ideas and also some laughs.
Anonymous wrote 22 months ago:
I’m having surgery in January and I just bought a hand held bidet. I can fill it up and wash down there then pat dry. I’m practicing now so I’ll be adept by surgery time. I’m obsessing about all the things I won’t be capable of and trying to be proactive about getting things now so I will be prepared. I’m going to miss writing the most as I’m a crossword puzzle freak.
Anonymous wrote 21 months ago:
How do you manage if you use a walker before surgery?

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