carpal tunnel syndrome
Is “Kindle Wrist” an Ailment, and is it Covered by Insurance?
Having devoted time to reading books is a Summer ritual that I started in childhood. Mami would take me to the Library Museum, where I would choose as many books as I could carry, place them on the librarian’s desk and hand her my library card. It was my first completely independent act, as Mami never “censored” my choices. Her only requirement was, “if you can carry them, you may check them out.” I quickly learned to carry a book bag with me for each library visit. Thus, my love affair with Summer reading began. In fact, I may have been the only kid in school, at any level, who wanted to receive the dreaded Summer Reading List.
Go ahead. Gasp, in horror. Unless you’re an “I ❤ SRL” geek chick (or guy) like me. In that case, welcome, kick your feet up, popcorn’s on the coffee table and adjustable reading lights are available in the basket.
This Summer, I have spent a considerable amount of time on my Kindle. 90% of the time is reading books and the other 10% is reading my email, cruising the Internet or chatting on Facebook. I have also been on Lappy, my “small” Toshiba Ultrabook, because she is light to carry. She and I have perfected the knee-to-belly chunk prop, to ensure the optimal reading and typing angle. Toesh, my “big” Toshiba Satellite laptop, acts as my desktop. Toesh weighs over six pounds and forces me to sit upright at the table. I tried carrying Toesh through the house, once, to disastrous results. Fortunately, I had purchased the what-happens-when-Michelle-drops-Toesh-and-the-screen-shatters-rendering-her-FUBAR insurance. While it took three, long, agonizing weeks, until she was repaired, it was worth the wait to see her returned with a brand new screen. Lesson learned: do not parade Toesh around the house. She prefers the contemplative quiet of the kitchen table. Which is where I find myself writing this post.
I lost count after 25, at how many books I have read this Summer. But, in the past few days I felt that familiar “twinge” of discomfort and stiffness in my wrist. I do not suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, but as I have gotten older, I am finding more and more aches and pains that did not exist before. I first noticed the wrist stiffness and soreness when I was laid off. All of a sudden, my wrists felt “funny” and stiff. It was likely from lack of use, rather than overuse, because while I spent time on computers for my jobs, it was not the only physical task I did. I spent a few dollars at the drug store for a couple of wrist supports with removable metal plates, slipped those babies on, and I was back in business. When I bought Kindy, my first Kindle, I started reading exclusively on her. I noticed the “twinge” came back, but once I put my wrist support on my right “Kindle hand,” all was right with the world. The same thing happened when I upgraded to Fire K, my Kindle Fire, and finally with Lappy – although Lappy necessitated the use of both wrist supports.
Today, however, I am wearing both wrist supports and sitting on Toesh, in my superior ergonomically designed, yet affordable, Ikea office chair. And, dammit, I noticed the difference. I am sitting taller, typing faster and and more accurately, and haven’t had to reach for my bifocals to read the darn screen as I type. This leads me to my “discovery” of the day: Kindle Wrist. A condition for people who spend an exorbitant amount of time holding their electronic readers at odd angles for maximum reading comfort, leading to wrist and forearm discomfort and, sometimes, pain. I shall explore “Kindle Neck,” a co-condition, at a later date.
I am self-diagnosing myself with “Kindle Wrist,” and fully embracing the bitter with the sweet. Will it get worse, or improve with the use of wrist supports? Frankly, I don’t care. I refuse to give up my Kindle habit. I am deep in relationship with my Kindles and it is a codependency built in heaven. My next step will be to seek discomfort relief either by wearing my decidedly unsexy wrist supports, or by self-medicating with a lovely glass of Malbec, Merlot or the sweet delights of Moscato.