Timeless Thoughts: The girl with the left-handed mouse

Timeless Thoughts is a monthly linkup hosted by Georgie and Tara, where bloggers write about something from their past – it could be an item, a place, an event – anything that evokes a trip down memory lane. Timeless Thoughts is held on the first Saturday of the month, and runs for two weeks.

In high school I did a lot of writing, as was customary, when it came to the HSC (High School Certificate), a series of exams that determined our entrance into university. Because we had to write several very long essays in a three-hour English exam, a lot of practice was required. We did not have the option of typing our essays unless we had a serious condition that prevented us from writing. So even practicing writing essays meant a lot of pain in the hand.

I’m naturally right-handed, and therefore used a right-handed mouse when using a computer. At some point during my practicing of writing essays, my hand got so sore that it inflamed and grew very swollen. My fingers swelled so much bigger. It was really ugly, and frightened me a little bit.

Lilian was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome from the stress the writing had put on her hand, and had to have a ganglion surgically removed from her wrist. She applied to be able to use a computer to type during the exam and that request was approved. I wasn’t hoping for the same ordeal, since my condition was not that serious, but with only a couple of months to the big month of exams at the end of the year, I wasn’t going to risk my wrist being injured further, so I ceased using my right hand for a lot of things.

And so I decided to try and use a left-handed mouse. It didn’t take me that long to pick up. But my left hand was certainly not used to using its muscles in that kind of way, especially when it came to selecting text and dragging and dropping content.

I used a left-handed mouse for about seven years. I noticed that some tasks put a little more strain and required more “strength” than my left hand could muster, so I would switch to my right hand for a little bit because it felt more natural and comfortable. It is said that the left hand does most of the typing on a keyboard, so when I thought about that… it was like my left hand was certainly doing twice the work. That wasn’t a problem. I mean, my right hand’s done a lot for me my whole life, haha.

The amusement always came when someone else tried to use my computer (even just to demonstrate something to me) and found that the buttons were reversed. They would use the mouse with their right hand but just be aware of the buttons, but I’d get a good laugh when they messaged me later with, “Georgie I went back to my computer and started using my own mouse the wrong way because I thought it was yours. I felt so stupid.” 😂

The pains, however, came when I was given a mouse at work or even had to use one at home that was shaped in such a way that it was designed for a right hand. I don’t think there was really anything else that was annoying, though. It was having a left-handed mouse that told me to stop saying “right-click on this” – because for me it was the left click. It was during that time that I learned to say “secondary click” instead. 👌 I don’t think I’ve ever met another left-handed mouse user… but if you are one, let me know. ;)

My hand did heal before the HSC came. Following the swelling, I iced it and applied Voltaren gel to it every day, and it eventually returned to its normal size. The skin around my fingers had stretched so much from the swelling that I had saggy skin for a few weeks. It was pretty gross. But I was glad the pain subsided.

I stopped using a left-handed mouse about two years ago, because I opted for a trackpad instead, and never really went back. It was hard to get used to the trackpad, but it’s been some time since using a left-handed mouse that I’m sure I’d have to go through the same motions of learning and there wouldn’t be a lot of muscle memory left.

I do think I should try it again, though, because trackpads are kind of annoying. 😆

Also, the amount of stock photos that have the mouse on the left hand side of the keyboard is… virtually nonexistent. 😜

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Comments on this post

Oh wow, your poor hand! Pretty good idea trying to use that hand less though. Glad it did heal!

Actually I never knew there were left handed mice, but considering all the other left handed stuff it shouldn’t be surprising. I think my brother is left handed. He uses a left handed bow and arrow. Not sure about a mouse though.

I do agree that trackpads and be annoying! Especially if your not used to em!

Oh man, I remember those high school days when I had to write a bunch of essays to pass HS and get into college. I notice that we do use our left hands more when it comes to typing because most of the common letters are on the left side. It makes sense because this would put less work on the right hand when it comes to typing.

I can definitely see the fun in someone trying to use your computer XD. There were times when I was so confused when I used someone else’s computer because they customized their settings. The only trackpad I could stand using is Apple’s. It’s so easy to use and I have less “miss-clicks” with it than another brand’s trackpad.

I guess it’s your turn to make some stock photos with the mouse on the left-hand side XD.

I laughed a lot at the part where ypur friends called you back because of your mouse. In the end the swelling of your hand brough you up to learning a new skill. I tried at some point to use my left hand for writing and minor actions but it was useless. I just couldn’t do it. But I guess that if I had to used it I would persevere until I could master it. Anyways it is a very interesting skill.

This is an interesting story. I can see why you were worried about putting so much strain on your right hand that you decided to use a left-hand mouse. I know for me that’d be a humongous challenge, so kudos to you for doing that. I am trying to remember my own high school days (or uni days) of writing my essays, but I guess they weren’t significant, because I can’t remember any LOL

Trackpads are not my thing. Even on laptops, I hate using a trackpad. I much rather lug a small mouse with me, which I do with my Chromebook. I am so used to a mouse, so a trackpad and I just don’t get along. It takes me twice as long as to do something with a trackpad than a mouse that I get very impatient!

Before I got my own computer in high school, I had to rely on the family computer to complete homework assignments and whatnot. The way my dad had the computer set up forced the mouse to be on the left instead of the right. No one in our family is left-handed, it’s just the setup of the computer happened that way and because of that I got used to using the mouse in both hands. Now I feel like I can do either way no problem but I still prefer right.

That’s kinda of scary about your hand. I’ve never had anything that serious. The closest I came was having wrist pain, which I later discovered was because of the Apple Magic Mouse, and had to have a brace on it until it healed (and I got rid of my mouse). I’m to hear yours healed though – scary stuff!

I found this post super interesting, thanks for sharing Georgie! I’ve always been right handed and never really tried doing anything on my left hand. Although after reading this post, I put my mouse on the left and tried to adapt to it but that didn’t work. IT FEELS SO WEIRD HAHA. That’s cool that you got to “train” your left-hand muscles to work though. xD I am super impressed.

I tried to use my colleague’s’ computer once and she is left handed. I was so confused – I couldn’t get my brain to understand that everything was reverse xD I’m actually looking into using a trackpad instead of a mouse! My mouse right now – especially after long period of time using it cramps my hand so I’d def prefer a track pad.

“Also, the amount of stock photos that have the mouse on the left hand side of the keyboard is… virtually nonexistent. 😜” OMG I JUST NOTICED