Jane Jetsonitis

They year was 1981. I was a little 11-year-old girl, and I loved to watch The Jetsons, well, seemed like every day. I loved that show, perhaps a bit of my SciFi Geek coming out phosphorescently. In a world where I had to do such outrageous things as empty the dishwasher, vacuum the living room, and sometimes even mow the lawn (the nerve!), a life where all one had to do was push a button seemed pretty great to me. After all, that would leave me more time to watch cartoons, like The Jetsons.

There was one episode that just didn’t do it for me, though. Jane, getting ready to do her normal wifely duties, went to push a button for dinner or cleaning or something, and suddenly all her fingers clawed up and knotted around each other. She couldn’t straighten them out, so she couldn’t push any buttons. That meant no food, no cleaning, no nothing. The doctor said she was pushing too many buttons, and I stood up and shouted at the TV, “That’s ridiculous!” As if she could have an ailment from pushing buttons! She didn’t know real work like setting the dinner table or taking my little sister with me to my friends. There life was so easy with all their automation and computers and

Well, here I am 30 years later, and guess what. My fingers are clawing up from pressing too many buttons.

I started working with computers on a daily basis in 1996. Now, every day is spent either writing or  marketing for 8-12 hours, and do I feel Jane Jetson’s pain. My 41-year-old fingers are missing more keys than ever before as a type, slowing down production to backspace, etc. Mousing is becoming more painful by the day, as my first two fingers on the right hand (from clicking and scrolling) have repetitive motion injuries, not to mention my right wrist on which sometimes I have to wear a brace. The touch pad on my MacBook Pro requires one to depress to click, rather than just tap, which is really cool for when you’re typing, as the cursor isn’t jumping all around if your palm happens to touch it. But when traveling without my USB mouse, the trackpad is all I can use to navigate and click. After two hours, the pain shooting up my right arm and settling in my shoulder nerves is so intense it takes it weeks to recover, largely because I keep working anyway.

Enter the iPhone and iPad. TOUCH SCREENS…they’ll save my middle-age joints, right?

Wrong. Even the tapping, pinching, scrolling, turning, etc. done directly on the touch screen irritates my already injured joints. Although it is better than clicking a mouse, the damage is done.

Every time I hold my hand and try to tend to my aching digits, I think of Jane Jetson. Her injuries, turns out, not so absurd after all.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Um, elbows? Has no one ever pressed a button with their elbow?

    Seriously though, have you been to see someone? I’ve known a few people who’ve gotten surgery to help with carpal tunnel, maybe that’s an option for you?

    1. christinerose says:

      Independent Author = no heath insurance + no money for a $25K+ surgery …
      It’s not that bad, really. I just need to rest it more. I’ve switched my mouse to the left, and although I’m not as efficient, it’s better for my right arm. Thank you so much for your concern! It might be an option in the future, no matter what the cost, as I have to work and write. It’s mostly age + overuse. And I think it’s a Repetitive Stress Injury more than carpal tunnel, but similar. No doubt.

  2. rose says:

    have you tried MSM? it worked wonders for me.

  3. Stygian Jim says:

    I feel you. I was diagnosed with a form of arthritis at age 17. Now at age thirty, everyday working with computers for work and entertainment has resulted in regular shooting pains from wrists to shoulders in both my arms. I’m waiting for the day when real speach to text is not something you only do when you have to send an important text or email hands-free. Good luck and remember, you can always get Rosie to do it.

    1. christinerose says:

      I totally need a Rosie in my house! 🙂
      Sorry to hear about your pain, but that real speech-to-text isn’t far off.

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