Back to work

You can find the beginning of this saga in my previous post.

For the next couple of months after my first round, I got better. My finger functions returned slowly, and the pain was under control, thanks to the incredible patience of an equally unbelievable occupational therapist. She gave me so many tools to manage the pain and get back to my former self, tools I still use to this day.

Tools like using heat packs to mitigate pain, mirror therapy to fool the brain into thinking both hands are fine and what I like to call projection therapy, visualizing my hand moving even though it does not, the later ended up causing more pain later and I stopped. All these tools allowed me to work for a while; I could even drive a manual car to work and back. There was a downside; pain tires you faster, and it ends up catching you during the day, so my workdays got shorter.

My days were getting so short I could barely make it to 13:00, and I had to think of my commute, 48kms each way. Traffic was not enjoyable any more, the longer I stayed in the car, the more pain there was.

I am going to diverge for a few lines because most people do not enjoy traffic and traffic in Johannesburg is unusually cruel. I looked forward to my long trip to and from work; I religiously listened to audiobooks and podcasts; it was my escape from the madness of the rat race. As for the cruelty, I only drove in one other country, though I got driven in many others, and from my observations, South African road users are undisciplined and dangerous.

Back on track, the shorter hours, the fact that I could not travel and my lack of concentration due to the pain did not help me at work. I was, on average, four times slower if not more.

Some things helped me, since I was writing a lot I bought Nuance Dragon Professional Individual which allowed me to dictate using a headset, it takes time to learn and train the software, but I got it at a 90% plus accuracy and dictated a lot. I still dictate, but Nuance Dragon is no longer offered for macOS, so now I use the Apple dictation system.

I also did things like configuring my Mac and PC to left-handed mode; in other words, switched the mouse buttons around. When considering a mouse, be careful to buy something you can use with the working hand you have, if you are not going to use your right hand, buy a neutral hand mouse, most manufacturers have them. I use both the Apple Magic Mouse and Logitech’s MX Anywhere 2S.

Things you may also want to look at if you are, like me, with a single working hand, is to enable sticky key. Also, find a small keyboard you can use with a single hand, it takes getting used to, but it is worth it. I find that the size of the Apple Magic keyboard suits me perfectly, Logitech and Microsoft have similar-sized keyboards.

The pain got more bearable as the weeks passed, then Round Two came, more of that in the next post.


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