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It hurts to type this. Physically. I really shouldn’t be on my computer at all. I had to rest my arms most of the weekend to even type this out; but I felt it was important to explain to my readers – and especially my VisDare regulars – why my comments, tweeting, etc has fallen off so sharply in the past few weeks.

Bottom Line: I suffered a significant injury fifteen years ago, related to my then-intense schedule of sign language interpreting. I taught public high school at the time, and RID-certified interpreters are expensive (for most school budgets), so I was told that it was in my job description to interpret (which it wasn’t) and that’s what I needed to do if I was going to keep my job.

At the time, it was possible to interpret in education settings (in the state of Georgia) without being a RID-certified interpreter. That’s no longer the case. But at the time I was young, a fairly new teacher, and I adored my second language (still do) almost as much as my native English. Also, I wanted to keep my job. So I did what I was told.

The problem? Imagine doing calisthenics for eight hours a day, five days a week, for several years consecutively, with only the summer and major holidays for respite. Weekends are sometimes eaten up with graduations, school plays, and other events where interpreting services are needed.

Upshot: sign language related repetitive motion injuries are a beast. I ended up in physical therapy then – twice in three years. In the end I had to stand my ground against those who said it was part of my job description. In the end, it cost me my job. But at least I kept the use of my arms.

Then somewhere, at some point in the last few weeks – that old injury flared up. And flared. And grew. And while it’s eased off some, it’s not going away.

So now I’m heading back to the therapist’s office. For occupational therapy this time.

Unfortunately, my first appointment isn’t till NEXT week.

In the meantime, I’m self doctoring as much as I can. I can handle typing for small bursts (hence this post), but fine motor skills such as mouse-clicking, turning locks, holding a pencil, tying my shoes, turning the key in the ignition, zipping zippers, pouring a glass of water – not to mention the amount of ASL that I still do now and then with friends, family, and students – all causes sharp, throbbing pain.

Typing is the invisible beast. It doesn’t hurt so much while I do it, but boy howdy do I pay for it later. (I will pay for typing this blog post later.)

I do what I need to accomplish my day job(s). But I’m also limiting my computer keyboard time until I can see the OT next week. VisDares will continue, but my tweeting, commenting, etc will likely be limited until the OT can help me out of this tangle.

I’ve done what I can to maintain the integrity of my arms, and avoid flare-ups. So I’m hopeful I haven’t done permanent damage to my arms. We’ll see.

In the meantime, look for the usual VisDare updates on Tuesday midnights…just maybe without a lot of extra verbage. If you see me on Twitter, or even Facebook – it’s probably because I’m taking full advantage of Siri’s voice texting mojo. Bless her digital magic.

Also, I apologize in advance for crazy typos and autocorrects. Because Siri doesn’t always “get” my Southern drawl, apparently.

BONUS: The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe, in ASL <— This video shows the kind of things I interpreted 8 hrs/day, 5 days/wk, 180 days/school year for about nine years. This and Midsummer Night’s Dream (yes, the full, unabridged Shakespearean play) were my two favorite things that I ever had to interpret into ASL. (Algebra and Physical Science, though? OMG. Let’s not go there.) This guy does a far better job with this poem, though, than I ever did. Enjoy.

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