Buying a New Toaster Cured My Chronic Pain

I’ve previously written a quite unpleasant post about some recurring pain I’d been dealing with that had made it excruciatingly difficult to use a computer for any productive amount of time.

I am happy to, today, report a small update: I am definitively recovering. I can now use a game controller for a few hours per day, over a consecutive week of light to heavy play time. This is something I’d been unable to consistently do for some time, beginning with thumb joint pain that set in during my initial time with Pokémon Scarlet, worsening with Tears of the Kingdom and Pikmin 4. The pain would be so great that it would impact any activity whereupon I’d need to use my thumb to grip an object, such as opening a jar or holding a skillet.

What fixed the pain was buying a new toaster. You see, I have celiac disease. It’s usually characterized by GI issues, but as a complex autoimmune disease there are certain odd manifestations of it, one known one being joint pain. The cure is thankfully quite simple: follow a strict gluten-free diet. Unfortunately for me, I’d already been following a strict gluten-free diet.

What I hadn’t been doing, however, is avoiding all gluten. It turns out that it’s very easy to be exposed to a toxic level of gluten simply by accidentally eating a crumb or two. Buying a new toaster (and instructing my spouse to avoid double-dipping a butter knife) has gone a tremendous way in eliminating sources of cross-contamination. It only took a few days for the improvement to be very noticeable.

Hopefully this doesn’t happen again. If it does however, I’ll at least be mindful of what may be causing it.

What’s so frustrating about this endeavour, however, is that I spent a lot of time believing the pain to be caused by some kind of overuse injury — that I was not typing correctly, or just too much, or that the ergonomics of my workstation were hurting me. I spent a lot of time in futile trial and error trying to identify the cause, only to rediscover something I’d already known about my condition.

If there’s a lesson here, it might be that perseverance can only go so far toward solving your problem if you happen to be going in the wrong direction.

Course correction is great.