Mmm-boy! I love me some a yer fancy modern pharmaceuticals!
In the last few weeks, I've had the last fifteen years of typing every day catch up to me in the form of severe pain in my hands, which matches all the descriptions of "computer elbow". This malady is one of those repetitive motion injuries you hear about, that can include actual tiny tears in the muscle tissue, as well as nerve pain as the damaged muscles pinch the nerves that run from your elbow to your hands. It feels like someone is more or less constantly hitting me in the funny bone.
And as a bonus round, it is aggravating the neuropathy caused by the chemo that was better for a year or so, but is now back in a most vengeful way, like a jilted lover. Oh, how well I remember that lovely combo of the feeling like my fingertips are on fire and pressure in the hands and lower arms that builds up until it feels like my fingers are going to explode. Ever get your fingers caught in a door jambe? (Cringing a little now?)
I spend about three minutes in every ten holding my hands above my head and shaking them to try to get the pressure to go down.
It makes touching anything hard, like turning a key in a lock, zipping up my jacket, handling metal cutlery, opening the fridge door, and of course typing, a uniquely penitential adventure.
While there is no cure for the chemo-induced neuropathy except time and luck (with some people it never goes away entirely) there is something to be done about the repetitive motion injury: stop doing the thing that caused it. For at least two weeks, to give the damaged and inflamed muscle tissue time to heal. I suppose eating properly and getting a lot of exercise to boost the body's immune and healing systems would also not be a bad idea.
I've been trying various stretching exercises, which help temporarily. You sit on the sofa (or the pew) with your hands flat on the seat on either side. Then turn your hands around so the fingers are pointing backwards with the palms still down and flat. Now lean slowly backward so the fingers are pushed backwards in an L shape. Then slowly back again. Do this several times during Lauds, Vespers or Mass.
To get the full Crazy Lady effect, do the other stretches in between during the standing parts of the Mass, putting your hands and fingers behind you into weird contortions, then shaking them vigorously. Doing this during the Consecration is especially effective.
Yesterday I realised I would have to do take a break. I was writing an email to a friend back in BC, and the only way to do it was to hold my arms perfectly straight out, with my fingers splayed out like a starfish, and wrists held in a perfectly flat plane with my arms, no twist. I could type, very slowly and winceingly, with my thumbs.
Right now, I'm busily making things worse by taking strong painkillers, which work well enough that I can forget that it's actually just masking the symptoms enough to send me back to the keyboard so I can continue to do the thing that caused the problem.
I've already injured my way out of one promising career. I'd still be slinging bread dough if I hadn't been stupid and slipped a disk when I was 32.
Maybe it's a sign from God. Maybe it's just plain time to give up the internet entirely. Somehow.