Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Tag: Aging

48 hours to Laos

It’s a gray, cold, blustery day here in Daejeon; the kind of day that you just don’t want to roll out of bed, but instead keep bundled up with a comforter wrapped around you and get through the day with a steady diet of sitcoms and food delivered to your door. 

Well, I did roll out of bed at 8:00am as usual, made myself a cup of instant coffee, and then called On.

Just 48 more hours and I will be getting on a plane again and flying back to Laos.

It was only four weeks ago that I was there and I can’t believe that I am going to be back there again so soon; however, it was either now for 11 days, or wait four-five months before we could be together for three weeks.  

What do you do when you love someone so much, but know that next month you will barely make ends meet? Barely in the sense that I might be living on a steady diet of instant ramen every day for the next month. I know, I know I have been down this financial dilemma road before but in the end the heart wins out over being rational and practical. Besides, On and I have some planning to do for the future. 

At the same time I feel a little guilty for heading off to Southeast Asia again when I should be saving up for one back to the States. It’s been over a year since I last was home. I am still missing home a lot and missing my family more than I have in all the years that I have lived overseas. It’s part of that mid-life crisis I have been going through as I get closer and closer to turning 50. 

When I set out on this great adventure years ago I never imagined that I would stay here for as long as I have and, when I was back home for two months at the end of 2006, how much I yearned to come back to Asia. It was different when I was in my 30’s and always on the go; now I am starting to slow down and the life that I thought was exciting and stimulating is not just losing its luster, but not as appealing as it once was for me. 

Suddenly, I am wondering what I have done—what have I really done and have I made the world, at least the little part of the world I live in, a better place? 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

For about the past month I have been noticing a tingling and slight numbness in my fingertips on my right hand (and sometimes on my left hand). 

I didn’t think too much of at first, but I have also been noticing some pain in my forearms as well. I know that I have been spending a lot of time on the computer these days and my desk and chair is probably not suited for the amount of work I have been doing on the computer. 

Then a few days ago, this numbness and tingling sensation was more pronounced than it was a few weeks ago. 

Time to go to WebMD. 

I could very well be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome with symptoms that include tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain felt in the fingers or, less commonly, in the palm. Additionally, these symptoms most often occur in the parts of the hand supplied by the median nerve: the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. 

Yup, that’s what I have been noticing the past few weeks. 

If I am suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise because it “is a common work-related injury [with] work that requires forceful or repetitive hand movements, hand-arm vibration, or working for long periods in the same or in awkward positions-usually when combined with underlying health conditions-may cause carpal tunnel syndrome.” 

I might be able to treat it at home by soaking my hand in cold water as well as some wrist exercises. I probably should buy a better chair for my best, or better yet limit my computer usage. 

Even though I am going to be 50 in a few months, I think I am in better shape now than I was 10 years ago. Nonetheless, I am going to have to start taking better care of myself. The past few months have been quite stressful for a number of reasons and I know the stress has been starting to wear me down.

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