This month, I am turning to the kind promise “to reinvent my life whimsically.”

At this significant level of disability, I depend entirely on others to help me with reinvention (and with everything else).

Using the computer every day helps keep me connected (email and Facebook), comparatively sane (journaling), and able to contribute (blogging, my newsletter). However, using the computer is getting significantly more difficult as my hands become weaker and less able. It’s hard for me to steer the mouse click on it.

The reinvention I am attempting to address these problems is allowing me to practice a few skills: (1) identifying tools and resources, (2) asking for help, (3) waiting, (4) learning something new, (5) adjusting to a new normal and (6) being compassionate to myself and others during a time of great change.

In April, I visited the assistive technology lab at Courage Center, where I began the process of getting a hands-free mouse. I wanted to learn to use a hands-free mouse while I could still use the computer.

Today, I received the link for downloading the software. The hardware was delivered about a month ago.

Had I been willing to pay cash myself, the process would have gone much faster. Because I wanted to get help from Medicare (my CADI waiver, to be specific), I had to be patient.

There are three pieces to this reinvention.

  • The GlassOuse hardware which, in my case, fits over my glasses and has a little mouthpiece on which I can bite to “click” on the mouse. The Bluetooth connection allows me to “steer” the mouse by moving my head.
  • Dwell Clicker software (a way to “click” by keeping the mouse in one spot for an amount of time), and
  • an upgraded version of Nuance Dragon software, which types what I dictate and can follow some commands.

I am writing this before any of that gets installed, which means that I can’t insert links to any of those vendors. Hopefully, by this time next week, I will be able to use all of these new toys. (You will be able to tell if the experiment is successful.) [Later note: the links are inserted!]

There will, of course, be a learning curve. Things may slow down before they speed up again (if they speed up again), but these tools may help me continue to use the computer for longer.

By noticing the skills involved in practicing them consciously, I am more able to navigate this new part of the journey. Reaching for the quality of whimsy may shine light on what might otherwise be a shadowy path.