I had minor surgery on my right shoulder last week, which reminds me of an old joke. Q: What is the definition of minor surgery? A: Something they do to someone else. In other words, it’s still surgery and a pretty big deal, no matter which way you cut it, so to speak.
Anyway, I had my marching orders to take it easy, don’t use my arm, don’t lift anything, etc. However, no one said that I had to stay home, so the day after surgery I decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure. The soft lights and classical music at the salon was a far cry from the sharp needles and bright lights of the surgical suite. Besides, I figured a mani/pedi was just what the doctor ordered.
Having made up my mind, I started to get dressed. I grabbed a camisole and mindlessly pulled it over my head in my habitual way. Or, at least I tried to. Apparently I didn’t think this through, and halfway through the process I got stuck. My camisole was half on and half off. It was the half off part that was really interesting. I tried to pull it in place, but every time I moved my right arm the pain stopped me in my tracks. I tried wiggling my shoulders, but the vise-like grip around my chest got even tighter.
The more I squirmed, the worse it got. There I was, caught unaware in my own underwear. There was nothing I could do to free myself. I had visions on either calling 911 or waiting for my husband to eventually come home and free me from the confines of my own undergarment. However, the thought of anyone finding me in this compromising and embarrassing position made me consider additional options.
I thought about grabbing a pair of scissors and cutting my way out. However, wielding a pair of scissors with my non-dominant hand so close to a new incision didn’t seem like a good idea. I could walk across the street and have my neighbor cut me out, but I decided against it. No need to get arrested for indecent exposure. After trying a few more maneuvers, I gave up. I would have to call my husband to come home, but I wasn’t sure I could manage a phone.
Finally, a phrase from my Feldenkrais training came back to me. “If you can’t take your hand to your head, take your head to your hand.” Mental head smack. Slowly I began to move my head toward my right shoulder instead of my shoulder to my head. Ahh, that was easier. I added a lifting of my left shoulder as I tilted my head toward the right. Oooo, now we were getting somewhere! Finally, I added a gentle folding of my ribs in side bending with the movement, and viola! I effortlessly pulled my undergarment securely in place with my dignity intact.
Feldenkrais has been getting people out of sticky situations and restoring each person to their human dignity for generations. You just have to love it….and you really have to try it!