Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

YOU, go to your room.

YOU, Time Out. Now.

YOU, lighten up.

YOU play nice. Don't make me come over there.

YOU, put down the lighter fluid and step away from the grill.

YOU are NOT taking that into your room. Put it up.

YOU ... well, I don't know WHAT you're doing, but stop it this minute.

I heard that. YOU go to your room, too.

YOU need to step away from the computer. Take a dandelion break.

YOU need more coffee.

YOU need a reality check. Yours bounced.

I don't care if SHE said you could, YOU can't. Face in the corner.

What the hell do YOU think you're doing with those scissors?

YOU go play in the microwave.

YOU, stop instigating. We've got enough of that already.

YOU, get a girlfriend.

YOU stop leaning on your elbow.

YOU stop trying to nuke the cats.

YOU sit down and stop walking on your damned ankle.

Monday, February 10, 2003

RSI Public Service Announcement

Attention, campers, Pooka has a few Rules of the Road for you to remember.

1) RSI is not a funny word. Repetitive Strain Injuries can be extraordinarily painful, detract from your quality of life, and impair not only your work but even your daily activities.

2) Any unusual signs of tingling in your limbs that aren't 'normal' like your foot falling asleep, and tend to repeat, need to be checked by a doctor. (especially to rule out something far more serious)

Tingling is usually the first warning that something isn't right on several fronts, though it doesn't always show up. Different people have different 'tell signs' that an RSI is occurring.

3) Early warning is just that. Watch yourself. Watch how you sit, how you sleep, how you type, even how you brush your teeth. Patterns of aggravation to RSIs are easily spotted. Breaking that behaviour is the hard part, but could prevent the injury from becoming serious.

Rearrange your work space. Adjust the height of your chair, your desk, buy a better keyboard. Watch yourself in the kitchen, how you cut food and stir.

4) Moonmama, stop leaning on your elbow.

5) Don't automatically take the word of the first doctor you see. Seriously. Some are cut-happy and want you on the table immediately. Consider surgery a last resort. Some won't take it seriously at first, oh, it's just a muscle strain, you slept wrong, it'll go away.

RSI does not "go away" without the cooperation of both you and your doctor.

You know your body. If you're tingling or hurting and you know it's normal for you, then you have a problem and you deserve a doctor that will take it seriously.

6) RSI is not the end of the world. It can be treated. Nerves can regenerate, muscle strength can be built back up. You don't have to give things up -- just change how you do them.

7) Anyone can develop an RSI. Anyone. Even Clark Kent. Being a perfect employee, a perfect mom, none of this matters to RSI. Equal-opportunity offender. Physical structure can play a large part in it as well. Particularly long pointy elbows? Guess what, you're at risk.

8) Moonmama, stop leaning on your elbow.

9) You aren't alone. There are RSI support groups, web sites and BBS, mailing lists, and book after book on the shelves that can help you on the way to recovery. If the condition is brought about in the workplace. there are people that will come out to your office, watch you, and point out changes that need to be made.

10) Non-surgical options don't work for everyone. The cause of the RSI is only one problem, and can be combined with several other difficulties.

Non-surgical alternatives wouldn't have helped me, even had I gotten in when it first started. Yes, I had classic behaviours that can cause an RSI. Yes, they were a large part of the problem. But they weren't all of it.

When my surgeon went in, he removed a large knot of tendon in my upper arm that had twisted and coiled around my ulnar nerve, choking it off. In addition, I have very sharp pointy elbows, and just normal movement with my arm caused the nerve to catch and slide over bone.

He cut the tendon section out, then removed the ulnar nerve from my arm. Muscles were then removed, and the nerve replaced, this time on the bottom closer to the cubital tunnel to allow more freedom for it to move. Muscles were then replaced over it.

I wasn't kidding when I said they rebuilt my arm.

By the time the stubborn Pooka went in, the muscle mass was already wasting away and I had almost no feeling in my hand at all. I couldn't turn a doorknob. I couldn't even open diaper tabs for Thing 2. I could run a pin through my pinky and couldn't feel it.

My hand was all but useless by the time my surgery date arrived.

After the anesthesia wore off completely, and the pain pills had lapsed ... I already had some feeling in my hand. I remember the day I reached for something and stretched over a lit candle. I burnt my arm slightly -- and FELT IT. It was amazing. I started crying in the shower once because I suddenly realized I was using both hands to wash my hair, and my left hand could actually feel the soapy spots.

I now have full range of motion back in my arm, and complete use of my hand. Only a small strip along the scar line that is still a little numb, which is normal.

If I seem a little militant on the issue ... well, I am. I've been there, and I screwed around and ignored it. It almost cost me my hand. Just another month of letting it go, and I might have had damage that couldn't be repaired.

Until they perfect cybernetics, you only get one body.

Use it wisely.