24 August 2013

Beating the Demon: My Survival Story

An open letter to the amazingly creative gang on Fantastical Crafters Ravelry discussion group.

Reader Be Forewarned
This story contains mentions of demons and demon hunters. If the thought of reading about supernatural creatures or tangled skeins disturbs you, read no further for your own safety.  
If Buffy the Vampire Slayer were here, surely she would cheer on the many of us who arm 
ourselves with (knitting) needles and (crochet) hooks. 

Stick 'em with the pointy end! 

Greetings, Fantastical People!

I've been less active on this board and on Ravelry.com in general during the past year. But now, I'm Baaack! I am so happy to be here again.

I've just survived a crafter's nightmare. A Demon came and crawled into my wrists. He would not let go. I armed myself with every weapon available, and yet still he came. Every time I thought that I had vanquished him, freeing me from my chains, he came back again with a vengeance.

Every day I would get home from work and I wanted to cry because the burning, aching sensation would not stop. I would lie in bed every night with my arms throbbing and pounding. It was only after three months when the Demon's visits became unbearable, that I hauled myself off to get some medical help. Sure enough, that Demon Pain was none other than the terrible Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I battled with him daily for almost of year and a half.  

Even on the weekends I battled him.  I would begin to chase my Demon away with the help of rest and ice packs, but surely as the sun rises in the East, back he would crawl every Monday like clockwork.  

Meanwhile, my knitting needles and crochet hooks started gathering dust. (I had just learned to crochet the year before this began.) Small armies of mice asked if they could take up residence in my project bag, since I wasn't using it 'n all. My Stashweasel started complaining bitterly about my yarn pile going untouched and she moaned that she was unloved. My heart was breaking. How could I neglect such an important part of my existence? I had to destroy this vile creature, no matter what it took.

My work was suffering too. My day job involves a lot of typing. I am an archivist in charge of historic collections in high demand, so I couldn't just slack off at work to save my soul for Aran and Mohair.  While I was off battling my Demon, I wasn't very communicative online in my personal time because I was trying to avoid the pain by not typing. Occasionally, my Demon would allow me a spare moment's rest to craft something tiny. In fact, the only FO* I knitted in the past year was the item I made for our Bag of Holding Swap. Even bringing this little critter to life was precious time to me. 

To win this epic fight, I had a lot of help. For knowledge, I went to a genius chiropractor-scientist, Mr. Schwartz, who taught me the benefits of certain training exercises and a clever trick with a rubber band that worked like a charm. Demon-Pain Hunter (and massage therapist) Bobbie was often at my side, offering me support, advice, and back-up. I could not have been more fortunate than having divine interventions -- often at just the right moment -- from my Super-Wonder-Goddess acupuncturist Tracy. I am convinced that only She, with her magic needle can set my internal wiring straight after battle.

Whew! It's been a long haul. The Demon is dust, and it's rare now that I even glimpse a pixie-demon-spawn lurking. I am back, baby! I really cannot thank my medical team enough. I have finally conquered this, and learned the importance of using arm rests and buying ergonomic furniture and along the way.

I know that after reading this you might think: This sort of creature always afflicts "old" people. 
Let this be a warning to crafters reading this: I am only in my mid-Forties. There were warning signs of this Demon's presence in my life that I should have paid attention to even earlier. The twinges and creaks haunted my body during my Thirties, but I blew them off as no big deal. “I'm a tough girl. I can stand up to you, Mr. Pain,” I told myself. In fact, my very first evidence of this Demon trying to steal my handwork away was when I was typing my Master's Thesis in my mid-Twenties.

Public Service Announcement:  If you love to knit, crochet, or even just to write things out longhand, please, please learn from my mistake. 

PS. I'm happy to post what I've learned for the benefit of others, so such Demons as Carpal Tunnel will not be able to walk our streets again.

*FO = Finished Object

© Maria Day, 21 August, 2013. All rights reserved.Author's note:  This work of autobiographical satire is posted by the author for your edification and reading pleasure. Please do not reproduce, copy, or borrow portions of this story or illustrations without her express written consent. Thank you! ~runningwave~ @ Pull of the Tides management

1 comment:

  1. What an inspiring story of perseverance! And the fantasy theme of demon warrior ("stick 'em with the pointy end!") is icing on the cake. The creativity of your story, plus the strong personal artistic style of your self-portrait, makes this post a very enjoyable read. Congratulations on your winning the battle, and I am sure that your adorable Stashweasel is very happy to have you back!