My body just gave me a stop sign: For four days now, three fingers and half of the palm of my right hand are numb and prickle. You can imagine that I was quite upset, because having some serious issue with my hands is my worst nightmare: I already envisioned my hand rotting off, so I could never play the piano again.

When it did not get any better, I saw a neurologist at the hospital the other day, after some work at the institute. (When I was finished, no medical practice was open anymore, but I knew I had to clarify this to be able to get some sleep later on.) After two hours of waiting in the emergency department, I got a 10 minutes check from head to toe. Now I know that I have (1) neither a brain tumor (2) nor multiple sclerosis. However, I have a serious irritation of the nerve that runs along the downside of my right forearm, which quite certainly stems from working at my computer many hours every day and putting my arm down on the table while typing, reading, or marking in pdf files, so that all the weight of my arm comes to rest upon that nerve. I have to look after it and relieve it now, otherwise I will risk paralysis of my hand. If it does not get any better, I have to see a doctor again.

I am currently experimenting around with different positions of my arm while working. Apparently, the nerve is irritated at the whole length of my forearm, from the ball of my hand to the elbow, so however I put it, as soon as it lies down for more than a few seconds, I already feel the numbness and prickling increasing. You can imagine this is quite annoying, especially having to use the mouse without my hand touching the table. I have dragged my laptop to the front edge of the table now so I can type with both my arms in the air completely. This is, of course, more exerting in the long run, and I often have to make breaks and let my arms just hang down to relieve them. But at least I can type at all – everything else would be fatal! And in the future, when the nerve has gotten better again, putting the arm on a pillow while working might be a solution to prevent it from coming back. This is a tricky thing because it affects an activity that is so central in what I do professionally, and therefore almost vital for my future existence. But it is a definite sign to look after me and do not push too much.

Do you have signs of wear from something you do or did at lot, and now have to deal with them in long range?

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