Dealing with a Crippling Wrist Injury

For the last five years, I’ve struggled with wrist pain. Multiple trips to doctors years apart yielded no results–they just told me to put some ice on it and take Ibuprofen, even when I told them I’d already tried that. The response was something along the lines of “well, go home and try it some more”.

Well, after years of jumping through hoops, I joined up with a health clinic–on a quest to get the free dental service for youth offered there–and lo and behold, the doctor there realized I have a serious problem and sent me to a hand clinic. The hand specialist decided I have tendonitis instead of carpal tunnel (what a relief *rolls eyes*) and sentenced me to wearing a splint on my left wrist for a month.

Now, I’ve dealt with pain in my wrist for years. I’ve had several one or two month periods where I didn’t do anything more than homework and blogging–and occasionally not even blogging–to soothe my wrist. Although the pain has grown more consistent over the years, I’ve kept the worst of it away through ice, stretches and occasionally painkillers. I’ve managed to slow down, if not reverse, the progress of the tendonitis. It took four and a half years to go from occasional searing pain to daily pain.

Although it is helping with the pain, wearing the splint in some ways is worse. I am left handed and being unable to write with pen has completely undermined my brainstorming, plotting and scheduling. I created my daily to-do lists on paper. I created my worlds on paper. I planned my novels, short stories and even blog posts on paper. Having to do without is crippling. Since putting the brace on, I’ve felt depressed and uninspired. I’ve stopped carrying a notebook for the time being because I can’t use it.

While I’m glad they’re taking my problem seriously now, I’m angry because they chose the worst possible time to put my wrist in a splint. I’ve spent this whole summer trying to create a writing income–with minor success–and edit Moonshadow’s Guardian. The week before the splint my computer caught a virus, paralyzing my work for two days. Right when I got back into the groove, they put the splint on me. Now I’m barely more than halfway through Moonshadow’s Guardian with only a week left before school. My non-fiction has slowed to a trickle, and I haven’t been sending out queries. Why? Because without paper to brainstorm on, the ideas have slowed almost to a stop. On top of that, everything takes longer and I’m both depressed about it and worried about time constraints.

What I have managed to do is continue editing Moonshadow’s Guardian. I edited eight or nine chapters last week. I already know exactly where this edit is going, so I can still forge ahead–although I now spend longer getting into the writing zone. I can type with both hands still, but my left is slower and I can’t do it for too long without causing pain(I probably shouldn’t be typing with my left at all, but you try typing with one hand–it’s impossible unless that hand’s tied behind your back). The worst part about all this? I know if I was up to speed I could finish my editing before school starts next week. In my current condition, I probably won’t finish until the end of September.

Dealing with tendonitis is a long, difficult journey. It’s easy to get depressed, and frankly I can’t give you advice to stay out of depression. But I can give you advice to get through it: focus on the idea that one day you won’t be in pain anymore and you’ll be able to use your hand, scale back on your writing and get lost in other people’s books. It’ll give you something productive to do with all that time you spent reading and maybe even take you to another planet.

Next Friday I’ll be finding out whether or not I can take the thing off, so stay posted.

One thought on “Dealing with a Crippling Wrist Injury

  1. hang in there. years ago, i, too, suffered from tendonitis. i was so freaked out. there was so much pain i thought i might never be able to use my hands for much of anything ever again.

    i did get better, though. one of the things that helped was changing the way i typed. it’s hard to explain in writing but there’s stuff online about it. it’s about keeping your wrists straight and moving your whole hand rather than bending them at the wrists to reach different parts of the keyboard. it may be a little slower but it makes a difference.

    i also use a timer to remind me to take breaks from the keyboard regularly. there’s free software out there that will do this.

    again, hang in there, and let me know if i can help in any way.

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