Hazards of a reading addiction

Platform reading

Readers - they're everywhere; photo by moriza via Flickr Creative Commons

I’m nursing a case of acute tendonitis. It’s a first for me but not the first injury I’ve had that’s reading related. Three of them stand out, but not one of them has persuaded me to change my ways.

The first was the third assault on my poor tailbone. I was engrossed in a book and couldn’t put it down long enough to walk downstairs. Several steps from the bottom, I misjudged distance and took the remaining steps in a tailbone-jarring slide.

Having broken my tailbone twice previously (ice falls unrelated to reading), I knew the drill. The young doctor didn’t. He appeared mortified when I told him he’d need to stick his finger where the sun don’t shine and check to see if it was a break that needed medical attention. Without a word, he exited. When he returned, after consulting a colleague or a medical tome, he blushed and did exactly as I’d suggested.

As usual, the break had not penetrated skin, which meant six weeks of agony but no treatment. At least broken arms are visible. Friends don’t take seriously a break with no visible signs, but I’ll put a broken tailbone against any other bone break for points on the pain scale.

The second reading-related accident occurred on the same set of stairs. This time it resulted in an ankle so sprained it could have competed for both purple and pain points.

Farm chores don’t stop for accidents so it was a week later when I sent up the white flag and had it checked out. The young Irish doctor doing a locum in the emergency room gave me the sweet relief of a pain killer and said, “Didn’t it occur to you to stay off your ankle?”

I mumbled something about chores, to which he replied I could agree to walk on crutches while it healed or be consigned to hospital. A week on crutches wasn’t long enough to improve my graceless clumping about, nor to heal the blisters that formed under my arms, but I did at least become more careful about reading while descending stairs.

The latest reading-related injury is due to a combination of wanting to avoid disturbing my sleeping partner and a stupid determination to finish a book before drifting off. For a good three hours I lay on my right shoulder, uncomfortable the whole time but not wanting to awaken Robin. I always read on my right side, and the iPad isn’t heavy, so I figured there’d be no problem.

I was wrong. Dr. Chang at the Brighton Medical Centre in Adelaide assessed the damage as “acute tendonitis” and prescribed an anti-inflammatory and rest. I’m being good on both counts, thanks to indulgent family members who are keeping watch when I’m tempted to do more than I should.

I wish I could say that at 65 I’ve finally learned my lesson(s). But I’m still inclined to read a new library book while I’m walking back to our condo so there are few signs of growing wisdom.

Maybe when I’m 85…?

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6 comments for “Hazards of a reading addiction

  1. March 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Cathryn, As long as you can laugh you can handle anything. Glad you’re okay. Just remember my motto: Don’t get killed! Take care (and I mean TAKE CARE), Naomi

  2. Michelle Jarman
    March 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Audio books Tutu!!! 🙂

  3. March 30, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    As long as I wasn’t listening while crossing roads. 😉

  4. March 30, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Good motto, Naomi. Life’s short enough as it is!

  5. March 31, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Cathryn,
    Gee, you’ve got me beat! I’m a rabid reader, but never do it while walking or cycling. (or swimming, etc. etc.)

    Be careful. We’d miss your posts.


  6. April 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Glad to hear your avid reading hasn’t tangled you in anything accident-provoking, Angela. You have too much important writing to do to spend time recuperating.

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