At a ripe old age* and nowhere near the peak of my career, I’ve developed the “lazy man’s disease.” Not to be confused with actually being lazy, which was recently defined on Jonathan Goldstein’s rendition of sloth-ism, but, as my grandpa said, “it’s what lazy men claim to have to get out of doing work.” In case you haven’t pinned it down, I have carpal tunnel. And I’ve got the numb shoulders and screaming wrists to prove it.
Stemming from repetition – I spend a solid six + hours on the computer every day – carpal tunnel comes from doing the same things over and over again, in my case, typing. The same grandpa who accuses the lazy caught the disease from busting tires. The movement doesn’t so much matter as the fact that you do it millions of times in a row. While he was building muscles and helping contribute to the physical world, I’m nerding out and contributing to cyberspace.
At first the pain was sharp and infrequent – only existing when I’d put in a long day at the keyboard. Thumb locks were a nightmare and zipping my jeans was an impossible feat; the pain kept my fingers from gripping. For weeks I wore only sweatpants and skirts; slip-ons became my best friend. Despite the awful and throbbing pains, this was one of the more comfortably-dressed months throughout my lifespan.
As it turns out, treating your thumb and forefingers like they are opposing magnets is not a productive way to live. My former beloved past times of knitting and eating were coming almost impossible. But thanks to my mother’s in at the doctor’s office – she’s a PT assistant – I was able to buy a discounted pair of wrist braces. Yes, wrist braces, apparatuses that keep my joints in place while I’m asleep. Each Velcros into place and, with its hard-sided restraints, eliminates any chance that I may walk like an Egyptian in my sleep.
Between those and my adult retainer, I’d surely be the hit of any slumber party.
*I’m older than the cast of any Disney show, but younger than Donald Trumpp.