Tendonitis Was NOT On My List

We put in an orchard several weeks back, which involved clearing land and then digging seven holes in hard clay.  Part of the job was completed with a shovel, but below the first six inches, there was nothing but solid clay and rock.  Excavating this required a sledge hammer and a three foot long steel rod.  By the end of the day, my arm was tired.  The next day, my arm was sore.  Now, six weeks later, my arm is incapable of doing simple things like lifting a salt shaker, firmly grasping another human being’s hand, or brush my teeth with any grace.

I went to the doctor on Friday after multiple suggestions by my loving wife.  I received a steroid shot (darn it, there goes my chance at being a pro-football player), some painkillers, some muscle relaxants and a stern warning from the doctor not to lift anything heavy.  Swordfighting is right out.  Using my right arm is frowned upon.   Enter the weekend to-do list.

It is impossible to do anything when you are right handed and you aren’t supposed to use your arm.  Let me be more precise.  It is impossible to NOT do anything when you are right handed and aren’t supposed to use your arm.  I DIDN’T not use my right arm about two hundred times this weekend, in spite of all the friends and helpers trying to keep me from doing anything.

And, regardless of my weakness, all the pain, and all the admonitions NOT to do (whatever I was doing)…we got a LOT accomplished.  We sanded and stained five sets of pavillion poles for the new household pavillions (the pavillions are new, not the household).  We drilled, strapped, canvased and painted seven Scuti shields, we cut out, ironed, and sewed half the seams on fourteen war tabards for Pennsic war, and we fixed, strapped, padded, built or made a number of old and new armor pieces.  Oh…and I made eighteen pair of earrings.  (I was sitting idle at the time and the painkillers were doing their job).

Of all the things that I tend to put on a to-do list….getting tendonitis was definitely NOT one of them…

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2 comments on “Tendonitis Was NOT On My List
  1. Dafydd says:

    I hope those pavilion poles aren’t side poles, because period tents don’t have side poles. Oh wait, you have photocopies, never mind.

  2. Bad Richard!

    Tip #1: Be VERY careful of using your left arm to make up for not being able to use your right. If you think it sucks not to be able to use your right arm, you’ll REALLY hate it when the second arm goes too. And it only takes a couple of weeks if you’re abusing your left arm badly enough.

    Tip #2: Learn as many ways as possible to not abuse your arm/hand, because tendonitis can become permanent. And that’s no fun at all. Eventually you’ll find all sorts of little ways to do things without making as many damaging movements. Also, if you let it go into remission enough, it’ll go away (if you catch it early enough) or at least back off enough that you’ll be able to do more. For example, when I first developed tendonitis I’d lift things like mugs very carefully with both hands. It takes some time to develop things that work around the injured tendons, but it’s really important to do so.

    Tip #3: Get wrist or arm brace(s). To be honest, they don’t help much with the medical side. But it’s the only visible sign that you have a handicap, which ensures that people will help you with things like lifting heavy objects or opening heavy doors. Also, you can balance things on them (like grocery bags) in ways that will abuse your tendons less.

    Tip #4: Frozen bags of peas. One of the best ways of applying cold to the affected area. Running your arm/wrist under cold water now and then is good too if you can’t get to something frozen.

    I’m so sorry to hear about the tendonitis. Please please listen to your dear wife, because it can become a permanent and very debilitating injury if you don’t let it heal.

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