Becoming a Toilet Southpaw

In just a few short weeks, I will be undergoing shoulder surgery for a busted rotator cuff.  Because nothing says “Happy 40th Birthday” better than surgery.

Back in December, I tweaked my shoulder trying to act younger and stronger than I really was.  The lesson I learned?  I’m old.

Toilet Southpaw 300x300 Becoming a Toilet Southpaw

While I iced my shoulder religiously after the injury occurred, I never fully got rid of the pain.  After a round of physical therapy and months of rest, my right arm still doesn’t have full range of motion.  While I’m no longer in Yelping Out In Agony pain, this injury has certainly puts some limits on my lifestyle.

Taking off a bra results in wincing and muttered cursing.  Upper-body weight-bearing yoga postures feel unstable and shaky, like I’m trying to twerk but doing it wrong.  If I thought my throwing was pretty pathetic before my injury, it’s downright embarrassing now because my arm resists the follow-through.  I aim for my son, but the ball ends up in the bushes.

I’m over it.

An MRI revealed that I have a high-degree partial tear in one of my rotator cuff tendons.  And there’s probably a bone spur swimming around the pool party.   The options I were given were:

1. Just learn to deal with it

B) Get injections for years, or

III) Opt for surgery to repair the tendon and clean the shoulder out.

While this surgery isn’t required, I’m at a point now where I’m tired of feeling gimpy.  I want to be able to do fun activities with my kids like rock-climbing and not stress out that I’ll one day tear the whole tendon apart.

I worry that if I don’t take care of this now, it will only get worse as I get older.

So, August 16th I’ll be getting arthroscopic surgery to repair my tendon.  Afterwards, my shoulder will be immobilized from anywhere between one to four weeks.


I’m hoping that with my incredible strength and youthfulness (note sarcasm here), recovery will fall in the short end of things.  But I won’t know how bad things are until they go in and take a lookie-look around.

Basically, I might just be useless for a while.  I won’t be able to drive, and luckily my husband won’t be traveling and will be available to help out with the kids.   The bonus?  I get a free pass on cleaning the house and will take a hiatus from my current title of Sherpa.  And I might be able to skip out on wiping my daughter’s butt for a while.


But then, I realized, how will I wipe my OWN BUTT?

I’m right-handed, and that delicate matter is handled by my dominant hand.  I have never, ever even attempted to wipe with my left hand.  Is it awkward and unsuccessful?  Will I need to resort to screaming on the toilet like a potty-training toddler?

“I’m DONE!!!!”

I’m close to my husband, but that is territory I’m not willing to embark upon together for at least another 30-40 years.

So, for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to have to start practicing performing that job with my left hand.  Because I like to be prepared.  And because I don’t like to ask for help.  Especially with my underwear around my ankles.

I will become the switch hitter of bathroom breaks.  The Ambidextrous Ass Wiper.  The Toilet Southpaw.

Ditto goes for brushing my teeth, eating, getting dressed, and generally feeling like a functioning human being.

I’m dreading giving up control over the cleanliness of my home.  I’m afraid my kids will get tired of me not being able to play with them.  I’m not looking forward to asking for help with simple tasks that I’ve been used to doing on my own for over three decades.

And having someone wipe my ass for me?

I’d like to feel youthful again, but not that youthful.



  1. That is certainly a fun way to start life in your forties!! On the other hand (ha!) they do say that learning new skills keeps our brains younger for longer so your body may be doing you a huge favor! LOL! While I realize that self care is important, you didn’t mention if you will be able to blog, now that is really important!! LOL! Wishing you much luck and a very happy birthday!! xo
    Kathy Radigan recently posted…Waiting for My Postcard from GODMy Profile

    • So all I have to do is think of it like Sudoku and I’ll gain brain power too? Sweet! LOL! I do believe I’ll be able to text and type. That’s what I’ve been told anyway. Thanks for the lucky wishes, I’ll need them!

  2. That’s so funny. I’m laughing at having to wipe your butt with the opposite hand; not the hurting your shoulder part.

    It reminds me of the time my Dad broke both elbows, while roller skating with us. He insisted he drive us home and said the, “F” word the whole way back. I had to help him turn corners. Then yes help him with bathroom duties once. My mom was working, what could we do? I wiped with my eyes shut. He didn’t like the way I brushed his teeth, so he attached a tooth brush to a ruler and bushed them without moving his elbow. He painted a picture that year for my Grandpa with the paintbrush in his mouth.
    Alissa Apel recently posted…My Profile

    • Both elbows? BOTH? Wow. I can’t even imagine the horror. I guess I’ll certainly have to become inventive like your dad. And I love that he painted a picture with his mouth! Did he do stuff with his toes, too? Thankfully, I think it won’t be longer than a couple of weeks. This week, my goal is to teach my husband how to put hair in a ponytail. Should be fun.

  3. Oh, ouch. So sorry that you have to go through this. But yes, take it as a pass to let other people do certain things.

    As for the butt wiping…. yup, practice makes perfect :) Good luck with the surgery.
    Alison recently posted…I Know This Much To Be TrueMy Profile

    • Yes, relinquishing control is so very hard for me to do. But soon I won’t have a choice! I have been practicing a bit. So far, so good. And thanks for the good luck wishes!

  4. Oh dear, all the best with the surgery. I do hope you figure out how to manage everything, though I’m sure it will be a big challenge. You probably won’t be able to blog much either (I’m guessing), so we’ll miss you!
    TK recently posted…Toddler Tales (15): An IdentityMy Profile

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge