More lessons learnt about adversity and more on Excel for cityscapes

More lessons learnt about adversity and more on Excel for cityscapes


Today’s post will be some self-indulgent stuff that I am learning from this experience of chronic pain in my right arm. I will try to write it up in an interesting manner so as to practice my writing skills. I will also preview my proof-of-concept about using MS Excel for making cityscapes.

Me and my illness, my illness and me…

In the scheme of things, having some sort of temporary (I hope) nerve damage in one’s writing arm is not a disaster.  To begin with I thought the arm and hand were unusable because of the pain when I used them. But I was wrong. They work perfectly and there is no weakness. Yippee. Just pain. Damn! With sufficient pain-killers I can use it normally, albeit in a drowsy manner. More than about 30 minutes of computer use, however, pushes the tolerance of the pain-killers.

So I underwent a nerve study. Me being me, I used my left hand and MS Word to create a diagram to provide the doctor with facts for their diagnosis, Here it is:


My wife Nicole rolled her eyes at me doing this. “Typical” I could see her thinking. (Note to self: wouldn’t the world be interesting if we did actually have thought bubbles appear from our heads. I would constantly be in trouble!)

The doctor who performed the Nerve Study was pretty cool and looked like he should have been on television. He was also so thorough. The Nerve Study involved connecting me up with wires to a computer and then sending electric shocks up and down the arm to trigger my muscles. Graphs on the computer monitor leaped around and the doctor muttered to the technician in the way that only medical practitioners and parents can. Did it hurt? Not really. It was akin to someone flicking you with their finger. Then he started pricking me with a pin and asking whether I felt it.

End result: he believes that the pain is a combination of something nerve related and something rheumatoid. Now I need an MRI scan.

Meanwhile I am learning to use the mouse with my left hand. In fact, just generally trying to use my left-hand for most things and ignore the right one. That is what I am doing in writing this.

Notes on characters suffering chronic pain

  • They can get angry fast
  • Constant rubbing of the effected area (conscious or unconscious)
  • Occasional squeezing of eyes or looking down or deep sighs
  • Some people revel in telling everyone (attention seeking?) while others feel really uncomfortable speaking about it (makes me feel incapable and I resent that and am embarrassed)
  • People who would normally want something from people who are now in pain expect the latter to constantly demonstrate their pain and look at them suspiciously if they manage to maintain normal composure.

Preview of my Excel Cityscape proof-of-concept

The following image is pretty average, but it proves a point: Microsoft Excel can be used by amateur artists to create a simple 3D cityscape background. I used some free textures and Paint.NET to put it together with a figure from DAZ Studio. Once my left hand is up to speed I will try to finish the post on how I did this.





  1. Three things – both meant to be entirely practical.
    1. Try a chiropractor, seems like something is knotted in your neck. (Been there done that, but mostly with leg/back pain. Without chiropractic, I would’ve been in a wheelchair a decade ago. I’m not.)
    2. Learn the keystrokes for as many things as possible on the computer that you do with the mouse. Not all things have keystrokes these days, but most are still available and will give you a slightly-bigger-muscle alternative to the ultra-fine-muscle mouse use. I make the assumption that you are using a pc, but I understand many similar ones are available on macs, if that is what you use.
    3. In the second ‘Notes on…’, it’s ‘affected’, not ‘effected’, in that context.


    1. Thanks ☺ Yes my wife uses a chiropractor and it helps her immensely. So that is an option that i am definitely considering.

      Picture me slapping myself in the forehead. I really should have thought of using shortcuts myself but didn’t. That’s a good call ☺

      Damn it! I always mix up affect and effect! Thanks ☺

      On the bright side i’ve woken up with little pain about an hour ago. Perhaps the body is fixing itself.

      Thanks for your concern. ☺ it’s quite nice having a fellow blogger write such comments ☺


  2. I am in awe of your arm diagram and descriptions. You were so prepared and practical (at least you didn’t go to the doctor with terrifying print outs from Web MD). Also very impressed with your notes for future writing :) I hope you get through the MRI and results process quickly!

    Decided to comment because I thought of you when I tried a new lasagna recipe! Realised I was doing it the hard way when the recipe got to “set the sauce aside”. I skim the recipes for crazy ingredients/directions, missed this one in its innocousness. LIKE… all of this chopping and pulsing and boiling and simmering for SAUCE I COULD HAVE BOUGHT IN A JAR??!!!

    This made me think of Frodo in Lord of the Rings- do you think he ever thought ‘I should’ve hitched a ride from the giant eagles to Mount Doom?’ (Especially when he meets the giant spider.)

    Though Tolkien is very thorough on the adventure and backstory so he probably would have put the thought in? Wrote a song? Drew a picture of a bleak landscape as a metaphor for crippling doubt and reluctance? (That metaphor could be the whole three volumes, really.)


  3. Also, that picture with your writing on pain is a wonderful combo. Though I really hope you’re at least getting used to managing it, if not feeling better!


    1. Hi Sharmaine :-) Good to hear from you :-) Your story about the sauce gave me a laugh. You’re on holidays for some weeks now?

      The pain is manageable on some days and on others less so. Actually it seems worse on days when I move around and am upright. Being horizontal helps.

      Such is life.

      Nevertheless, tonight I got out a post and video that had been sitting here almost complete for a fortnight. So despite some soreness I am feeling happy :-)

      Merry Christmas and have a happy 2015 :-)


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