Hugh, you HAVE to take my word on this...
Hey, Janet, I totally do... in fact, I was about to start my response to Katherine with "Well, we'll have to let Janet tell us how it really is, since I don't have these problems but..."
So yeah, you're the person on the ground and have to say what works for your people. What interests me is how loss of function in one area can force you to pay attention to other aspects of Aikido you might otherwise overlook. One of my current teachers totally flips out if you grab him--he says, "Sure, give me your thumbs, I'll break 'em and then where are you?" So I'm exploring Aikido without grabbing myself, of necessity. Even before that tho, it was a principle that if I could only make the technique work by holding on, I wasn't doing it right.