back in business (sort of)

Whew! A year and a half of silence on the blog. And yet I’m still here. :) In fact, I’ve long felt discontent about the fact that the permanent homepage of this beloved space of mine was that sad face below. And Cassy’s recent bloggiversary got me into some deeper thinking. I realised how much I missed blogging, as a way of expressing myself, of recording little bits of my life, and of connecting with others. So I’m giving it a whirl again, and let’s see how it goes!

To start off, I think you deserve an update on the RSI. I am happy to say that I can present a happier face nowadays.

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A few months ago was the anniversary of my serious RSI attack. While giving my arm a rest as much as possible definitely made the acute attack subside, a year in, the fact remained that every activity which required me to use my hand and arm with any kind of force (typing emails, chopping onions, swimming, holding a friend’s newborn baby for half an hour) would lead to a dull pain for the following hours or days. I was always *aware* of my right arm. Perhaps that’s a weird way of describing it, but think about it – if a part of your body is fine, you don’t actively *feel* its presence, nothing is attracting your attention to it. I was not able to say that for my right arm anymore – it was (and is) continuously making itself known.

The baby thing freaked me out especially, as I hope to have kids one day, and the idea that I would not be capable of holding them when they needed to be held really shook me. So I finally sprang into action and stop half-ignoring the problem. Here’s what I’ve been doing about it in the past few months:

  • Avoiding putting unnecessary strain on my right hand and arm. (This involves knitting, but more on that below.)
  • Seeing a physiotherapist once a week. She gives me a deep back and arm massage, and I can feel the benefits – nowadays I am mostly pain-free on the weekends, when I don’t use the computer. Her treatment has also been essential in making me understand how widely the consequences are felt – I have realised since that a lot of the pain comes from my shoulder and upper back (oh how interconnected the body is!).
  • Doing stretching exercises for my hand and arms throughout the day. (There are days when I’m better at keeping this up, and days when I’m worse. I’m working on it!)
  • Making great efforts to improve my sitting posture. Chair at the right height, both feet on the floor, good back support. I was resisting trying this for a long time because I’ve been used to sitting cross-legged all my life, but I’m happy to report that it was only difficult for about a day! Clearly the benefits my body felt helped shed a bad habit very quickly.
  • Upgrading the equipment I use – I have tried a number of alternative mouse devices but have yet to find the one that works for me. Work in progress!
  • A fair amount of daydreaming about not having a desk-and-computer job, but that’s for another life period maybe. :)

None of these things have been the magical solution. For example, I am already feeling the effects of typing this blog post in my arm. But I do feel that I am making real progress and working towards acquiring a set of skills and tools to cope with this thing, which is clearly going to be a permanent part of my life.

As I hinted above, knitting time has been greatly reduced as well. I pretty much outright avoided it for a long stretch of time, going back to it tentatively every once in a while to see how my arm would react, and then abandoning it again. There have been successes and failures. And even a few FOs. More on that next time.

So, anybody still there? :)

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