So It’s Official

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 9:44 pm

I now have a doctor’s Seal of Authenticity: I am suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Joy to the effin’ world. In some ways this malady is a symbol of my geek cred: no Tech Guy is truly worth his/her salt until they’ve passed through this particular vale of tears….or at least vale of zinging pain up and down their lower arms.

Now that I’ve finally gotten here, however, the question is, what to do about it. I’m not afraid of undergoing surgery for CTS; it’s a completely routine procedure at this stage in the advance of medical technology, and the probability of a serious improvement is practically guaranteed. Problem is, we’ve spent so gap-frappin’ much money on medical procedures in the last two or three years, keeping us walking on the tightrope between solvency and serious cost-cutting measures to stay out of snowballing debt, that I’m heartily sick of it.

Don’t read too much into this: so long as we keep our jobs we’re not in danger of any serious financial hardship. It’s just that we had a pretty good nest-egg going before my cortisone injections/back surgery/physical therapy/kidney biopsy got hold of our bank account and shook it like a terrier with a tube sock. It’ll take a while for us to build it back up, and the last thing we need in the interim is another surgical procedure to bite us in the ass.

So I’m pursuing available non-surgical treatments including prescription topical anti-inflammatories, vitamin B6 and a homeopathic topical solution my company sells before throwing in the wrist-brace and pursuing surgery. If any of y’all in the Geek community have favorite non-surgical tips ‘n tricks for dealing with CTS, I’d love to hear about them. Although you can skip the part about wrist braces; it’s way past that at this point.

So, that being that, I only had one other thing I wanted to bring up. it occurred to me lately that, whatever else his retirement might bring, George W. Bush is probably going to be one of the happiest, most carefree ex-Presidents this country has seen in a long time, perhaps ever. There will be plenty to keep him busy if he feels like it. He’ll have a decent run of lecture tours, speaking engagements, groundbreaking ceremonies; he’ll be welcomed throughout much of Middle America and even notable chunks of the coasts for parades and fundraising dinners for local conservative politicians. But mostly what I picture him doing is what he did so much of during his time in office, what he managed to do more of than any President in history, namely not much. Clearing brush. Working out. Going on long bike rides with his security detail. And just sitting on the back porch of his ranch home, drinking coffee and watching Barney chase armadillos in the back yard. There may very well be a sweet corporate gig in his future—all those lobbyists he appointed to be assistant- or undersecretary of the very cabinet positions they used to lobby ought to be good for something—but in the meantime there’s lots of money socked away, plus a lifelong Presidential pension. Plenty of time to relax and take it easy for a while.

This is not meant to be an indictment of Shrub’s outlook on his responsibilities as the recent leader of the free world (even though pretty much everything else I’ve written about him is). I’m just observing that, unlike most if not all of his predecessors and probably most if not all of those to follow, this former President would not seem predisposed to leave office with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Margaret and I were talking about this during a drive earlier in the week. Her position was that GW was going into his retirement secure in the knowledge that he had done his best to champion that causes of Justice, Decency and Not Getting Blowjobs In The Oval Office. My argument went further than that. I don’t think Bush will ponder his place in history and find himself on the side of the (ahem) right; rather, I don’t think he will ponder the question at all, one way or another. I think he will reflect back on his time as President of the United States as a real hoot, an awesome roller-coaster ride with a couple of really scary loop-de-loops in it. In some very prevalent ways, his will be the anti-Lyndon B. Johnson ex-Presidency. The consequences of his actions while in office will in all likelihood utterly fail to follow him as far as the breakfast nook, much less his grave.

I think that, when called upon to do so, Mister Bush will trot out his pensive-puppy look for Katie Couric or Wolf Blitzer and play back the snippets crafted for him by top-shelf conservative speechwriters, about the burden of responsibility, the judgment of history and his place therein. Until it is time to once again fold and stow his leader costume for another day, and throw on his bike shorts for a quick ride before dinner. Enjoy your retirement, Mister President; and watch out for those armadillos.

10 Responses to “So It’s Official”

  1. SheriHi Says:

    Find a massage therapist who specializes in carpel tunnel. I had one for a few years in the late 90s (she now lives in California) who really saved my arms. The theory goes: it’s atrophied muscles that are pushing on nerve endings causing pain. Those atrophied muscles are in your neck, shoulders and upper back. I couldn’t believe it when my massage therapist stared working on my back- I’m like, hey! The pain is in my arms you quack!

    But after 6 sessions and stretching at home, I saw a vast improvement. I’ll start asking around for MT in the south end.

    And you are correct, Bush is not reflective. He certainly doesn’t shine in the dark.

  2. Gavin Says:

    I have two suggestions for you:
    Vertical Mouse
    Pro Trackball

    Oh, and your old Aikido stretches.

  3. Gavin Says:

    One more:
    No It’s Not A Joystick

  4. Tony Lenzer Says:

    As you know, Andrew, I’m not one to find excuses to say nice things about the Former Leader of the Free World. However, I do find it difficult to believe that one who has occupied that position for eight years doesn’t come away from that experience at least a little reflective about the enormity of where he’s been and what he’s done. Surely, surely some of it has had to rub off, get under his skin, and into his thoughts….

  5. fisherbear Says:

    I’m inclined to think that it’s simpler than that. I think he spent the last eight years surrounded by people he trusts who told him that he was a steely-eyed gunslinger defending Freedom, America, and Baby Jesus, and he didn’t have enough curiosity or critical thinking skills to look outside his bubble and notice that they were lying to him. They lied to a lot of other people, too, and I doubt he’ll have much trouble finding enough true believers to keep him company at the ranch house in Dallas for the next twenty or thirty years.

    Of course, if he winds up getting indicted, that might (might) pop the bubble. I’m not holding my breath.

  6. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Thanks to everyone who offered their input on my CTS! Gavin: I currently use a Kensington Expert Mouse; have done so for years, love it to death. That 3M pointer looks interesting as well….but it’s for righties only. I’m so sick of the Right Man keeping me down! 😡

    fisherbear: I like your spin on the ex-Prez, because it seems like a kind of compromise between my own position and Margaret’s. “Incurious” is a good term to describe Mister Bush.

    And personally, Dad, I do believe he is fully capable of failing to consider the consequences of his actions. I think the only time I’ve ever seen any real sense of the enormity of his responsibility flash across his face was during his speech to the nation immediately following September 11, 2001….and even then, all he was able to muster was barely controlled panic.

  7. fisherbear Says:

    On the subject of ergo stuff – I’m very fond of my ErgoRest articulating arm rests. I never quite developed CTS, but I was well on my way, and my quest for a decent keyboard never really panned out. Putting an ErgoRest under my mouse arm stopped the progression and even reversed it a bit, so it may help you as well. I have a couple of extras you can experiment with if you like.

  8. Tony Lenzer Says:

    OK, Andrew, forget the mice and all them other doohickies…buy yerself MacSpeech Dictate, and yer Mouth’ll do the talkin’ so them Fingers kin…take a nap. Try it, You’ll like it. I did/do.

  9. Uncle Andrew Says:

    Hey fisherbear, I’d love to test drive those at some near opportunity, thank you!

    And Dad: unlike someof us, I don’t have an Intel-based Mac to run it on. Also, unless MacSpeech will use bezier curves to run a manual outline around a selection in Photoshop for me, I’m afraid it wouldn’t do much to cure my ails.

  10. Tony Lenzer Says:

    Well, Andrew, maybe it’s time to (get Paul to) Trade Up! This could very well be presented as a work-related expense, since that’s undoubtedly how most of the carps got into your tunnel

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