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“Cap lima” and other weirdness with DragonSpeak and life with RSIs

May 13, 2009

Kimberly Patch, if you are reading this, please know that you are one of my younger twins. I have passed on your most vindicating, encouraging, and candid article, “Greetings from Planet RSI,” to several friends, my daughter, my sister, and my doctor. My doctor has promised to read it because I assured her that the prevalence of RSIs makes it very important. For readers interested in RSIs, here is the link:

Ms. Patch’s article speaks for me in virtually every detail of life with an RSI. Thanks to Kimberly Patch, I know that RSIs are not uncommon, and, in fact, my symptoms and experience are very typical. The only trouble is that the typical symptoms and experience are very troublesome. And actually, I have some history that Kimberly Patch did not have, and in fact, my doctor would like an updated neck MRI to check on the progress of my degenerated discs at C-6 and C-7.

Following are some liberations and deliberations from recent days.

Liberation from martyrdom

I was humbled literally to tears when my sister and several of my friends told me they read Ms. Patch’s five-page article after I sent it to them. My sister said, “She got better and hopefully so can you! It’s your number one job to find the ways.” It meant everything to me that they cared enough to go to the effort of reading this in order to understand not only the reality of the pain, but all the changes in my interface with the world that have come about as a result of this condition. The fact of their reading this frees me from guilt when I simply cannot be responsive to them. Most important is simply the interest and love they showed me at a time when I can do so little in return. I don’t need to put up a front or to aggravate my condition. They love me. I am grateful. I love them. And may God be magnified in all of this.

Liberation from economy

If you’re on a snug budget, I would urge you not to acquire an RSI. You will spend thousands of dollars on doctor’s visits, nerve testing, ergonomic devices, eating out, and general mechanisms of evaluation and consolation. An RSI will liberate you from your budget, trust me.

Liberation from planning

If you have an RSI, you’ll find that it’s very difficult to make plans and keep them. Your ability to drive may be sporadic; many abilities may be intermittent, including your ability to socialize when utterly demoralized.

Liberation from savory food

The taste of salt may not be worth the pain of shaking it onto your food.

Deliberating the future

As of my husband’s last 401(k) statement, I am elated to think that he could retire tomorrow — if we had three months to live.

I am the chef at our house and my husband is the sous chef. I add the spices. I use a spoon now for the spices because shaking the bottle is too hard on my wrist. The trade-off is having to pop the cap.

Not bad for a slow white chick from Schenectady

I just winged a fly with a dishcloth. I was very careful to protect my wrist and elbow. The fly was not so careful and he died.

I printed an envelope today, DragonSpeak and I, no hands. It truly seems one of the great achievements of my life.

Liberation from coffee pots

It hurts too much to press my French press; I can’t begin to screw together my machinetta; and my percolator is too big for one cup of coffee when I’m alone. I switched to instant coffee, an acquired taste that I acquired and then lost. Finally, we reverted to our 70s thing and bought a Melita filter and filter bags. I’m not a drip fan; I miss the tasty oils, but it beats instant, and I love throwing away the bags.

Liberation from routine

There are days and there will be days that I can’t open the lid of my computer: a huge deviation from what I call my routine. Even when Dragon is doing all the typing, I come away from my desk feeling as if I have been typing for hours. My hands are tense, always at the ready to help and rescue me. I need to practice sitting in a relaxed position and keeping my hands and arms relaxed.

Liberation from writing it down

For the first time in my memory, I do not carry a pen. It hurts to hold a pen. I had been calling my husband to make notes for me, as though he were a recording device. Finally, I bought a recording device. It’s a companionable little thing. I wear it around my neck and talk to it and it plays back what I said and then I DragonSpeak it down.

Liberation from your own name

I customarily sign some of my e-mails with “Love, L.” It’s actually easier with Dragon speaking to type, “Lauren” than to type “L” because to do that, I have to say, “cap lima,” a moniker with which I’ve yet to identify.

Liberation from almost everything

I lay on my memory foam pad, thinking we should have painted a scene on the living room ceiling. Handel’s Julius Caesar was playing and Beverly Sills was singing Cleopatra, transporting my throbbing elbows and burning hands that felt as if the flames were being put out with wire brushes…and somehow explanations were unnecessary. All I could know was that Caesar and Cleopatra were the Beautiful People.

Deliberating liberation

I am so excited: I begin occupational therapy on Friday. My proactive doctor has assigned me six visits. I hope there is help at hand, as it were.

  1. May 14, 2009 6:48 am

    Lauren how good it is, and how painful, to be thus liberated ‘from everything’ to see the Beautiful People. I am sad and glad for you.

    Praying for you today, and for your occupational therapy tomorrow. God bless you with His great unconstrained blessings in all these liberations. (& please be liberated from a response to this comment, dear Cap Lima!)

  2. Laura permalink
    May 15, 2009 1:58 pm

    Cap Lima is not the most charming nickname. I can understand why it might not appeal to you in the depths of your soul.

    How cool that your doctor is going to read the article. I wonder how often doctors stop and think, let alone read suggested material, about what their patients are actually enduring, and why it would be a noble endeavor for them to work hard to solve/mitigate the problem. Your doctor doesn’t sound like she is lacking in determination or understanding.

    I very much hope that the occupational therapy yields results beyond expectation.

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