... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

These aren't exactly magnets, but they were off of a wonderful wall at my friend diane's house in England...and there are a bazillion of them.

db-driver.jpg (23044 bytes)

* Discussion *

Talk about it here.


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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette


Common Ground
Dirty Pictures
(The Mapplethorpe exhibition trial)


Samples of two of the
slide shows I've been making
can be downloaded from
this ZDNet page

and four more are posted at Beechbrook Cottage

Pictures from our The England and Orkney trip are on my own Club Photo page.

Not to be missed:  Steve has uploaded some of his new songs to the web.  Check 'em out

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That's it for today!



14 October 2001

...or yawn...turn my head...or reach...or move at all.

It started several days ago, and I think it's Becky's fault. She introduced me to Marbles, a game which is even more addictive than Free Cell. I spent far too much time, both playing the game and finishing up a slide show about our trip to the San Francisco Zoo. Both activities took intensive mouse-use and the next day I woke at 3 a.m. with a stabbing pain on the left side of my neck and the muscle from shoulder to spine and somewhat down the left arm.

I knew what caused it. And it was kind of embarrassing to admit that I'd overused my left side playing a stupid computer game.

But embarrassing or not, it's been a real...well...pain in the neck...to try to work around.

The first day I used it as a good excuse to put off doing some typing. I figured I would limit my computer time and sit with my "horse collar," as Walt calls it (one of those rice-hull bag thingies, only this one goes not only around my neck, but down the top part of my back and down the front as well, attaching with velcro across the front). I must admit it felt good, but it didn't ease the pain.

I even resorted to taking aspirin, which I only do in extreme cases. I have nothing against aspirin, but there's a "stoic" component to things like this for me and I figure that "pain" is nature's way of sending you a message and I was trying to heed the message.

But stoic only goes just so far.

The second day was the day I drove Priscilla to see her mother and I suppose driving 300 miles wasn't any too smart either, for someone who can't turn her head in either direction without stabbing pains.

Priscilla told me I had to make myself turn my head, work the muscle. Yeah--well, it was MY muscle and I was pampering it. So what if I couldn't turn my head to see the cars on my right side?

When I got back from dropping Priscilla at home, there was a message on the answering machine from the psychistrist asking if his letter was ready to mail. I knew I couldn't pamper the neck any more and that I had to get back to the computer.

I thought maybe if I moved the mouse to the right side of the computer it might take some of the stress off the left side. (I learned to be ambidexterous, mouse-wise, in England because most of the cybercafes were set up so that you couldn't move the mouse to the left side, so I had to get a bit more proficient using my right hand.)

To some extent it did do that and I was able to type relatively pain free--or with only minor pain, but I can't look down, or move my head left or right.

It also hurts to yawn. Amazing. My body wants to give one huge yawn, but I have to hold back and give little yawns because a big yawn sends shooting pains up my neck. It's kind of yawnus interruptus and very frustrating.

I can't brush my teeth with my left hand--and ever try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand? Talk about awkward!  Same with brushing my hair.

I can't even scratch my scalp, for heavens sake. As soon as I begin to raise my hand--either hand--to my head, I get that shooting pain down my neck. I've been using a back scratcher to scratch my scalp.

I did take a nice long hot shower this morning and set the shower head to "pulse" and let it work on the muscle and that felt quite good--but only until I got out of the shower.

When I cooked dinner tonight, I learned just exactly how many things I reach for in the kitchen. I used tongs to grab some things, but I still had to raise my hand up a bit in order to use them.  Trying to pick things up off the floor?  Forget it--that involves moving the head, bending over, and extending the arm.  One of those movements causes sharp pains.  All three work together to just make it that much worse.

This evening I took the equivalent of a double feature off. I sat and watched two movies, back to back, and it was great. I was all alone in the house, and the phone didn't ring, so I didn't have to get up (shifting position hurts). For 3-4 hours I sat there relatively pain-free (unless I tried to scratch my head, of course).

But then Walt came home from the theatre and when I turned to look at him, there was the old stabbing pain again.

When I sit here just typing things are more or less OK, but as soon as I make any sudden moves, there comes the sharp pain again. It will be another night with the horse collar and probably some more aspirin or ibuprofen.

However--there's one good thing. I've discovered I can still play Marbles using my right hand.

(Hey--addictions don't give in to a simple thing like stabbing pain)

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One Year Ago:
Steve Times Four
(this one is photo extensive)

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 10/10/01 by Bev Sykes