The joys of repetive strain injury

My view of this week has been clouded my by arm.  It hurts.  Repetitive strain injury, RSI, is the reason it hurts.  Basically I’ve spent too much time – hours, days, years – on the computer.  Between clicking on the mouse and pounding on a keyboard I’ve managed to over use my right arm to the point where I now have a painful version of tendonitis – a bit like tennis elbow but without all the sweating on the tennis court.

and there was the episode with the bricks and the two cubic yards of dirt…

Hum? Oh the bricks.  Well, there was this pond in the backyard that we decided should be filled up.  It was lined with brick – about 8 wheelbarrows full.  I know I moved each one.  It made an impressive stack after I got them all out – 4 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet high when all stacked up.  Took me most of a Saturday to do it.  Then I filled the hole – about two cubic feet of dirt – by hand, yup, me, a wheelbarrow, a shovel and several hundred pounds of dirt.  I guess there are somethings that middle-aged men shouldn’t do, like thinking that we’re still 25

Now my arm hurt a bit before that with all the extra blogging I did over Easter week (okay and the video game I played for hours on Monday okay video game!) but by the Thursday after the pond project my arm felt like it was on fire and I could barely type or click a mouse.  Which is a bad thing.  One it means I haven’t been doing what I wanted to do with this blog and as a software engineer it made doing my job painful. It did give my a chance to slack off at work, but no video game – that is just beyond tolerance.

The pond episode was two weeks ago and I finally went to see the doctor this last Monday.  Now I could say that this is the first time I’ve ever had RSI but then a lightening bolt would shoot out of the sky ’cause I’ve done this before.  SO I kind of knew what I had to do – rest, ice, Advil, fix the ergonomics of my workstation and hire someone to move the bricks.  Well, I haven’t hired anyone yet but I’ve also just let the brick stay where I put them.  I’ve done everything else but the arm still hurt so in the hope that the doctor knew more that I did, I made an appointment and went.

The good news is that it turns out that I am treating the arm correctly.  The only two things extra things I was told was to take more Advil and to get a tennis elbow brace.  I always like it when the doctor agrees with my diagnosis.  I think I made the doctor happy because he got to play with his ultrasound machine – using it to compare the size of the tendon in my good arm to the bad arm.  Not sure he really needed to do that but it seemed to make him happy and amused me enough to forget for ten minutes that my arm hurt.

My arm isn’t 100% today but it is healing and I’ve got a bunch of new toys for my computer – a vertical mouse, curved keyboard and this weekend I install the adjustable keyboard tray.  All of that should fix the ergonomic problem.

I’ve also tackled the amount of time I’ve spent typing by spending less time at home on the computer and more time in the wood shop.

One of my other purchases was a USB microphone so I can start doing audio podcasts rather than typing these long blog entries.  We’ll see how that works out.

Next week I am taking some vacation time to putter around the wood shop and take a few day trips.  Haven’t decided on where we’re going on the day trips but in the wood shop I’ve got a few projects on list: a Murphy bed for the guest room, bookcase for the guest room, a shed to store wood, a table sled, a new stand for the table saw, a sanding table, and start on my next marquetry piece – it will have sheep it in.  Also there will soon be some new power tools in the shop.  More about that when the bundles of joy arrive.

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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