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April 13th, 2011 Carpal Tunnel, Tendinitis and Psychology School

The past few months have been some of the most frustrating of my life. A combination of carpal tunnel and severe tendinitis have severely reduced the functionality of my hands. This is not a new problem, but rather an old one that has not improved over time.

I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome four years ago, when it was at its worst. I was given a series of tests to ensure the problem was in fact carpal tunnel syndrome; I failed each with flying colors, in record time. The specialist I saw made a set of custom splints, which I was told to wear as often as possible and especially to bed. This, largely, solved the problems I was having with carpal tunnel syndrome. The next battle, the one I’m still having today, was with tendinitis.

Tendinitis is a much less severe problem; it is the sort of issue that goes away if you rest long enough. Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome, it will frequently heal on its own. Unfortunately, my particular case has been severe enough that it has only continued to grow worse over time. I have seen a total of four doctors and two specialists; each has told me to exercise frequently and “stop doing the things that caused this.” It is now at a point at which using a computer at all outside of normal business hours (during which I do not have a choice) causes my performance to deteriorate the following day.

It goes without saying that this has resulted in extreme changes to my normal life. I used to spend my off hours primarily online chit chatting with friends from afar via IRC, AOL Instant Messenger, Google talk and e-mail while working on projects such as websites or WordPress plug-ins. Instead, I now spend my time watching movies and cooking when my husband or roommates are available to help me lift pots and pans. I just recently picked up a copy of DragonDictate, which is how I am writing this post.

These recent setbacks have made me look more closely at what I really want out of a career. My profile on many social networking sites has a bio which reads “a web developer who always wanted to be a psychologist.” That isn’t actually a joke; I legitimately have always wanted to be a psychologist, I sort of fell into the IT thing in web development and design had always been something of a hobby of mine. I haven’t really looked into going back to school because it seemed like such a very difficult thing to do. It also didn’t seem terribly necessary. I enjoy web development and design a great deal.

The sudden and dramatic realization that I would no longer be able to ride this career to the end of my days provides a sort of urgency not previously present. Quite suddenly, the prospect of going back to school seems less difficult than the prospect of attempting to continue working this career for the rest of my life. I looked up psychology programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and found that a local school which my roommate attends, DeAnza College, offers a two-year psychology course, the transcripts of which are fully transferable to the Pacific School of Psychology; they have a master’s and doctorate program. Tuition is affordable (enough), it’s very close to where I live… Really, the only question remaining is whether or not my hands will last long enough to complete the course.

I would like to apologize wholeheartedly for being unable to keep up with the requests made of my WordPress plug-in, the “Anyfeed Slideshow,” or the Apple Mail.app UUID reader. There are many projects with which I am involved that I will need to retract from, should this continue to grow worse.

I will continue to look at this from as optimistic a point of view as possible, with the intent of finding a permanent solution to this problem; be it the transition to a new career, or cyborg limbs (for which I pine greatly). I sincerely appreciate the well wishes and support that I have received from my dear friends. Thank you all. Without you, this would feel like the end of my life.

6 Comments Written by at 7:43 pm
  1. goopypanther
    April 13th, 2011 9:18 pm

    Aww, hopefully you can get some shiny new roboclaws installed soon.

  2. Bob Pavlenko
    April 16th, 2011 12:13 am

    Second on the roboclaws, or at least something similar.  I'll ask my mom about some other things you can do to alleviate the pain some.

  3. Katie
    May 24th, 2011 6:43 am

    Funny. I have the same "career" description, and tried PsyD school. I haven't finished...yet. :-) Interesting that another landed in this job...and that I found your website by chance by following a link from wordpress.org. I'm trying to learn wordpress magic for a web project. It's a small word, afterall! (queue annoying Disney theme music)

    • May 26th, 2011 6:14 pm

      Thank you for leaving a comment, Katie! It's always awesome to hear from people walking similar paths. How is the psychology school going? I have a feeling it would be kind of hard; making a change of careers this stark in contrast.

      I wish you the best of luck in learning WordPress magic; if you're familiar enough with PHP, it should come quite quickly. WordPress is very well documented (except when it isn't). Feel free to drop a line (the "contact" link above should give you my e-mail address) if you need any help along the way. I won't claim to be the source of all knowledge for WordPress, but I do know a thing or two and I like helping people when I can.

      Be well!

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