“It’s a ganglion cyst,” announced my doctor, after gently squeezing and manipulating my right index finger, and feeling the lump below the middle knuckle. I’d felt kind of silly going in to the doctor just for a stiff, persistently swollen finger, and had put off the visit for a month until I realized that it was not only getting worse, but also affecting my ability to grip things. Then the doc went and fetched a foam-padded aluminum splint and some bandage tape. So now my right index finger is immobilized through the middle of September, in hopes that without physical aggravation from everyday activities, the cyst will subside and I won’t have to see a specialist to have it aspirated or operated upon.

Fortunately, I don’t rely on my right hand for everything. In fact, there’s very little I can’t also do with my left hand, aside from obvious stuff like wear right-handed gloves or type YUIOPHJKL;NM,. Most lefties are ambidextrous just because they have to live in a world full of things designed for right-handed people (sewing machines being a rare exception). I have lefty scissors (which stay nice and sharp because no one borrows them), a lefty can opener, and my pen jar lives on the left side of my desk.

Which is odd because I don’t write left-handed. I’ve been writing right-handed for the past forty years because that’s the way I was taught, per my mother’s request. I could never figure out why some of the other kids in my classes got to use the lefty scissors, but I didn’t. She could never figure out why my penmanship was poor.

So here I am, learning to keep my pen in what has been, for penmanship purposes, not my dominant hand, but my dormant hand. Heaven knows which is my “dominant” hand (I need to ask my psychologist friend, David, what was the final analysis on that random question). The things I learned as a child I do right-handed, the things I learned as an adult I do left-handed, and many things I do with either hand.

I can write left-handed, but not surprisingly, my penmanship looks like a first-grader’s, and it’s slow going from lack of practice. I’m also finding, much to my surprise, that I have resurrected not only dormant writing skills, but also dormant writing problems: I get b d p q mixed up again. I know how to spell and I can read okay, but something gets scrambled in the writing process, not unlike the way my numerals get mixed up sometimes. The ways of the brain are mysterious, indeed.

Today is Monday, and sometime tomorrow I need to decide if I can either scribble fast enough or type fast enough on my laptop to take notes in my Thursday class, or else must request a note-taker via the college’s disability access department.

Which all is kind of humorous, in a cosmically ironic way. I’ve been a note-taker for other students, in classes where I was already very familiar with the subject, so I wasn’t spending quite as much effort understanding the teacher. Equally ironic is that this class I’m taking is on the “Exceptional Child” – it’s all about different kinds of disabilities.