Every year, I look forward to the holidays season not because of Christmas, but because of all the end-of-year posts. I love reading them. There’s something about the reflection of the year past and the hope for the year coming that makes me giddy with joy. I had also planned on writing my own maudlin posts: favorite books of the year, what I learned this past year, my New Year’s resolutions, etc.
Except I won’t be writing them.
Can’t write them.
Because just typing for more than ten minutes at a time brings me pain now.
Early last week, I experienced shooting pain in my right shoulder and forearm. I wasn’t extremely worried, because this has happened before, and the pain would often go away after a day or two. But this time, it didn’t. It got worse. I started feeling wrist and hand pain, along with the finger aches that have come and go for the last year. Then the pain spread to my left arm.
And then I started feeling pain all the time, not just when I’m using the computer.
My doctor isn’t sure what the problems are, but I suspect the pain is associated with various Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). My symptoms closely match Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel, and possibly Trigger Fingers. I have to admit I’m panicking right now. Are these permanent? Does this mean I won’t have the full use of my hands ever again? How will I write? How will I work as a dentist in the future?
The one thing I do know, however, is that the injuries will only get worse if I persist on doing what caused it in the first place: Using my laptop for hours and hours each day.
So for the foreseeable future, I will be taking a total break from the computer until my arms and hands heal. (I hope they will heal.)
To all my writer friends: If you give yourself one gift this holidays season, give yourself the gift of a healthy body. Take care of it. Develop good typing habits. Rest and stretch your hands and arms every twenty minutes. Don’t wait until permanent damage is done.
I hope you all have a Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!