Ay ay, ee’s ‘armless …

Regular readers of Australian Videocamera will notice that over the last week or so I’ve not been as voluble as normal. There is good reason for this. Two of them in fact.

The first is we been moving house, from the leafy forests and isolation of Quinninup, to the metropolis of Australind near Bunbury in the south-west of W.A. We figured that two years in the wilderness was quite enough thank you very much and whilst our little cottage was lovely, the truth is that the isolation, lack of resources, issues with freight, Internet connectivity and from Jacqui’s point of view, the cold and wet, it was time for a change.

The second reason was bit more immediate. 18 months ago, after a savage pain in my right wrist it was diagnosed that I had not just carpal tunnel syndrome, but a ganglion that was pressing on the artery multiplying the pain by factor of, oh I don’t know, about 14 million.

So last Thursday, I went under the knife at the Busselton health Campus. I admit I thought this was going to be a nice simple procedure; that is sit in a chair, have a local anaesthetic and behind some sort of screen or another,  doctor would gnaw away at my wrist with some sharp implement or another.

10 minutes later, I would be out of the door, or bandaged up with a bunch of nurses waving bye- bye at the door and all would be well with the world.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As it turned out this was full on surgery: that is I was dressed in some weird backward facing frock affair, had to wear nonslip socks, from sort of plastic beanie, attached to all sorts of weird machines by various tubes, and finally given a jab in the arm that meant about one and a half seconds later I was off in sleepy Bobo land for the next hour and a half.

Upon awaking my right wrist was bandaged from the base of the fingers to halfway up my arm and I had absolutely no feeling in my right shoulder downwards. Two hours later after a couple of coffee and sandwich they sent me home.

A week later I’m still bandaged, the pain is mostly down to a bit of a throb except the bit where they stuck the knife in which stings like hell, but I do have full feeling back in my right hand. In another week the bandages can come off and in four weeks time I get to see the surgeon again who gives me hopefully the all clear.

Now generally, I wouldn’t be discussing my medical attributes or issues on a website, unless of course it was dedicated to the cause, but in this case the reason I had carpal tunnel syndrome was simply due to bad posture, excessive typing and mouse usage. The ganglion was a side benefit.

Apart from the ganglion, though many people that can relate to these issues on a daily basis – that is the bad posture, typing and mouse usage.

When I first started in this game with the computer industry in the 80s was the first time I think or recall that the phrase carpal tunnel syndrome was mentioned and it is usually associated with girls in the typing pool ringing in sick saying they couldn’t come to work today because their wrists hurt.

And we laughed and laughed and poked fun at malingerers.

I’ve changed my tune. It’s real and it bloody hurts. A lot. I wouldn’t wish this on my best enemy.

What I can say from experience, is that there are certain things you can do to lessen the chance of getting it or at worst, minimising its impact. Most of it is common sense and stuff we have been told for years.

As mentioned, posture is a big thing, a very big thing and I urge everybody who sits at a desk using a keyboard to look up relevant websites as the best way to sit, have keyboards and monitors and suchlike at the right height and distance and all those other things we’ve been told about.

The other thing I will suggest, and I understand this will come across a blatant advertorial but is not, or at least not intended, is find yourself a decent keyboard that is proven by those human mechanical expert people, and as importantly, a mouse that is also ergonomically suitable.

From my point of view, I like the Microsoft keyboards. And the mouse I settled on which I wrote about a few months back is the Logitech MX vertical. You can read my original review here.

Someone did suggest I should show you before and after photographs, and I admit I briefly played with the idea but on reflection I have no desire to give those filmmakers who specialise in zombie movies any further ideas or inspiration so have gently declined the suggestion.

It will take a couple of weeks to get back to full speed, so the surgeons and doctors and nurses tell me, but in the meantime, I am coming back up to grips with Dragon NaturallySpeaking to try and increase the output because one-handed typing is not fun. Hopefully, normal service will resume within a few days.

And then of course, there is all the unpacking to do. What joy.

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