Ergonomics

Earlier this year, I asked the firm for two things I thought would make my desk a better place to be 8 hours a day.  A headset for my phone and an ergonomic keyboard.

Oh my.  So much love for the headset.  On a Top 5 list of Best Things I Ever Did for Myself, the headset easily makes it.  Into the Top 3, even.  I should have asked for it years ago.  Why?  I don’t need the headset for talking with my hands free.  I need the headset for listening with my hands free.  Shortly after the headset arrived, I spent  approximately 130 minutes (over two phone calls) typing while my boss remotely dictated something to me.  This is not uncommon.  I used to do that with the phone in the crick of my neck.  Wrong.  Bad.  Stupid.  I love you, Headset.  U and Me 4Ever!

On the other hand, I did not need the keyboard – yet.  I did feel, however, given a) I type all day and b) weird things happening to my body as I get older (see also: contact lens intolerance), that it was reasonably likely that I would need such keyboard in the future.  Why not prevent a repetitive strain injury rather than treat it after it occurred?  See?  I just have the best interests of the firm at heart.  (Seriously!)

Upon noticing the keyboard installed at my desk, my boss had a sweet conniption.

“Your arms are not in the right position!  They should be 90 degrees at the elbow when you’re typing!  Tell them you need this fixed and if they don’t fix it tell them to speak to ME!”

I saw her point about the elbow bend, I did.  But, I also didn’t think it was that big of a deal.  Alright, the ergonomic keyboard sits about an inch higher than the standard one.  So what?

So what, indeed.  My forearms began to ache with increasing intensity over a period of time.  I started to notice that I was often sitting with my shoulders hunched up around my ears.  By the end of last week, I was crying for the weekend so I could rest my forearms.  And finally, in my yoga class this past Sunday, my wrists FREAKED OUT when I put them flat on the floor in a plank, which they have never done before.

Well, friends.  You can mess with me but you cannot mess with my Sunday yoga class.  Time to get my act together.  I called Facilities first thing Monday morning and it was decided that a portion of my desk would be lowered to accommodate the keyboard.  That was done today; the relief was instantaneous.

If you’re thinking it sounds preposterous that one inch can make so much difference, well, so am I.  It’s ridiculous.  And I really love how in an effort to prevent a problem,  I made one.  That’s rich.

I thought it would make my boss happy to know I’d had the desk lowered so I told her when she called in this afternoon. “Thank God, she said, “You can’t mess around with this stuff, Les.”

A chorus of Amens from the naturopath, the pilates instructor and the chiropractor entrusted to correct her years of ergonomics abuse.  And, from me, too.

2 thoughts on “Ergonomics

  1. I, too, have had that pain. My chair kept sinking lower. New chair needed. Now I have to alternate between left and right hand when using the mouse because of the damage done. I’m hoping it will get better . . . please. I also have taken to using the mouse on a folded Trivial Pursuit game board on my lap; amazing the difference.

    1. Ugh, that’s terrible – but I like the idea of using the mouse even lower. Do you find it hard to use the mouse with your less dominant hand though?

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