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It pains me to say this…

August 20, 2012, 8:12 PM

Yes, it pains me to say this.  Literally.  It only took 25 years of using a computer to do it, but I have managed to give myself a repetitive stress injury from typing.  I know – I’m as surprised as you are.  And it’s not what you think, either.  I figured that eventually, I would do something to my wrists from all of the stuff that I do on the computer despite the precautions that I take, like using a wrist pad.  Turns out that my use of the wrist pad, which is a habit that I picked up from my job at the phone company more than a decade ago, has done me a lot of good, because I didn’t injure my wrists.

No – I injured my left thumb.  And you know what I did to injure it?  This:

My left hand, with the thumb doing exactly what caused the injury - adding spaces.

Yes. I hurt my thumb by hitting the spacebar.  I call it “spacebar thumb”.  I managed to get a pain around my thumb a few weeks ago, and it was from hitting the spacebar on my keyboard.  My doctor told me this, and it made perfect sense.  Though I admit it did make me laugh at first, because that was the last thing that I would have expected to be the cause of the problem.  But it does make perfect sense.  I wake up in the morning, and everything feels great.  Then over the course of the day, depending on whether the needs of my job put me at my desk most of the day or elsewhere in the office, the area around my thumb feels similar or sore.  Then after a nice, long, and very textual Journal entry like this one, my thumb doesn’t feel all that good.  Still, I never would have thought that typing was the culprit.

So right now, I’m taking an anti-inflammatory for it, and then I’m going to be supplementing it with a thumb brace that I ordered online.  Yes, they make such a thing.  And I also found out that this is one of the less common things to need a brace for.  I went out looking for thumb braces yesterday at Target and CVS, and was surprised to come up almost completely empty.  Target had braces for all sorts of different things.  They had wrist braces, back braces, knee braces, ankle braces, plus all sorts of athletic tape and other junk, but nothing for the thumb.  I even asked the guy at Target, and he confirmed – they don’t carry it.  They had braces for if I hurt myself just about everywhere else, but not for a thumb.  So I went over to CVS.  I figured Target sells so much other stuff that their not having it was a possibility.  So I went to CVS, since they’re a pharmacy and specialize in selling health stuff (plus they have Bobo).  They had all of the same stuff that Target did, plus one thumb brace.  I pulled one of those out of the package and tried it on in the store to see how it felt.  Result: I couldn’t figure out how to get the bloody thing to go on right.  I even read the directions on the box.  No go.  So that went back in the box and back on the shelf.

I ended up getting this one, which is “Memory Foam Thumb Spica” from Elite Orthopedics.  I like this one because it looks bigger than it has to be.  Let’s admit for a moment – this isn’t exactly the stuff from which tall tales are made.  I got this injury… from doing the website.  What I do for my readers, I suppose.  So the fact that this one is big and goes down past my wrist will at least make people think that I did something much worse than I actually did.  Plus it’s black.  Black automatically garners a few extra cool points just for being black.  When I injured my wrist back in 2005 from scanning at Walmart and wore a wrist brace for a few weeks because of it, that one was flesh colored.  How boring.  This new one at least looks cool.

So that’s supposed to arrive on Wednesday.  Hopefully it will help things, giving my thumb an opportunity to rest for a while so that it can recover.  And hopefully after it all gets better, I won’t have to deal with this again for another 25 years.

Song: And for those of you wondering about the "Bobo" reference, here's the source. Yes, that is Walter Jones, aka Zack from Power Rangers.

Postscript: And yes - my thumb doesn't feel as well now as it did when I started this entry. I still find it amazing that the website got the best of me on this, but there you go, I suppose...

Categories: Health issues