Saturday, September 19, 2009


Well, I think that I can safely say that I can be a park ranger with one hand tied behind my back... well, tied up in a sling anyway. It isn't easy though. I got up earlier than I usually do because I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get ready this morning. Showering had many obstacles for me, but I won't go into details. Putting on my uniform was tough! I think that after a few days I will be able to use my right hand more, but for now, I really can't at all because it hurts to move any muscles that have to do with my right arm. I had to put my badge and my name tag onto my shirt and get my three-times-larger-than-usual arm through the sleeve. Buttoning wasn't too hard with one hand. When I got my sling back on, I was glad that my uniform has a collar. That collar saved me from a lot of neck irritation from the sling today. Pulling up shorts, fastening the clasp, zipping the zipper, and putting on my belt was a one-handed juggling act that I still can't believe worked out. I was able to get my whole uniform the way it should be except for shoes. I'm sure that I can't tie my shoes with one hand. I am stubborn and determined, but that is one thing I will accept that just can't be done. I wore my sandals today. After what felt like hours of getting ready, I finally made it out the door.
I had asked the closer last night to leave the flags up, so that was already done. I opened the gate and stood in a fire ant mound while I was trying to get the gate fastened in the open position. Because I was wearing sandals, I got lots of ant bites on my toes and had to take a minute to dance around and swat ants off of my feet. Its OK, go ahead and imagine that, have a good laugh. My next major challenge after I drove through the park was to check the iron ranger, the drop box for payments. Its hard to unlock and get into to deter theft... and one-armed rangers apparently. I managed to do it though.
I really wanted to leaf blow because the walkways were a mess from the rain and leaves. I can't use the backpack blower because I can't wear it with my sling and all of the controls are on the right side. I will probably be able to use the little blower but it will be a real difficulty to start it. I thought better of trying it today. Paperwork seemed to take forever as I was trying to write legibly with my left hand. I kept watching the window, hoping that park visitors would arrive and give me a break from paperwork. They finally did! I had several divers today so I spent some time checking them in. While I waited for more people to arrive, I walked around the park and tried to take some pictures. That was the most frustrating and disappointing part of my day. I don't have the strength and dexterity in my left hand to hold the camera steady. I usually use two hands anyway. Very very few of my close-up, macro shots turned out because I was too shaky. The landscape shots were a little more forgiving, but it was so aggravating to not be able to get the shots that I wanted that I gave up. I didn't take anymore photos after my walk this morning. I'll try again tomorrow, but here is what did turn out.
I am very proud of myself for one big obstacle that I tackled today. I had to pick up our Gator from the repair shop so I had to hook up the trailer to my truck. I backed up to the trailer like a pro and somehow, blindly got my ball right under the trailer hitch on the first try. I wound the stand up and the trailer dropped right into place, nice and easy (with the help of some WD-40 and some prying with a screwdriver). Oddly enough, the hardest part was plugging in the lights, it took me four tries, but I got it! The rest went very smoothly and I brought the Gator back with no trouble. I took it easy for the rest of the day and went home as soon as my evening relief came in to take more powerful pain meds than the ibuprofen that kept me going all day. Tomorrow will only get easier, right?


idyllicchick said...

Oh Amy! You poor thing! OH crikey, at least it's the slow season, eh?

Cathy said...

Even with one hand you still take wonderful pictures! Thinking about you, hope you're feeling better soon...C

Anonymous said...

Cathy, I just told Pop that Amy's photos on a bad day are ever-so-much better than anyone else's on a good day! Poor Amy - reminds of the struggles that Pop's had with his various injuries. Your ingenuity and perseverance will get you through, but please give yourself permission to just go to bed and rest. With your arm up. And meds. Wish we were there to help!

Ranger Amy said...

Thanks everyone. I am VERY glad that this didn't happen during the busy season.