Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rotary Cutter...Rotator Cuff

Hmmm....rotary cutter/rotator cuff...sounds almost the same. Except that one of them wrecked the other. That would be the evil but fascinating rotary cutter ruining my rotator cuff. (It is basically a razorblade on a pizza wheel.) With my frugal self, I purchased the tiny rotary cutter when I started art quilting, and in my creative frenzy, didn't realize that the little cutter had gotten dull and was too small to be cutting through heavy fabric, layers of paint, thick pellon, peltex and metal mesh. My arm and wrist would get a little sore as I worked, but not enough to slow me down. But then the pain got really bad and I had to eat left handed and could hardly drive the car. After a joyful (not!) and painless (not!) MRI in early February that revealed two of the four pieces of the rotator cuff were torn, I started physical therapy. Fortunately I am getting slowly better and have avoided surgery. But it is so hard to want to create art when your arm and hand don't want to cooperate.

I can't blame it all on the rotary cutter of course. Maybe the furious, hour-long scribbling on pellon with crayons during a panic attack had something to do with it. Maybe the years of competitive sports finally took their toll. I guess this is nature's way of slowing me down and so that I work on only the projects that are really important. Maybe it is forcing me to breathe and meditate and think about where the anxiety is coming from rather than just scribbling it out. The good news is that I have gotten pretty skilled with the left hand; I can steer the old computer mouse from the left and even do layout design left-handed now. Not quite ambidextrous, but working toward it!

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