Working though the pain.

Whew…2014.  Where did the year go?  Can’t believe how fast this school year is going.  Lovin’ it!

I have been dealing with some shoulder pain since April last year.  After a couple rounds of steroids I finally had enough and set up an appointment with a specialist. My shoulder problem isn’t a shoulder problem at all.  In November, I had an appointment with an Orthopedic doctor who wanted to x-rays and after seeing those, an MRI of my neck.  I was a little freaked out at this point, not knowing what that meant for my interpreting career.  Mid December the results were in.  I have a bulging C5/C6 disc and a ruptured C6/C7 disc.  My initial thoughts were not positive.  I can really talk myself into being a “Debbie Downer”.  (Sorry to all the people named Debbie) The doctor suggested physical therapy to improve my posture.  …and then he said “if that doesn’t work we’ll look into surgery.”  Why did he have to say that? Why couldn’t he have waited until that point arrived in my treatment?  I try to ignore that part of the conversation and focus on the physical therapy option. Also, What’s wrong with my posture?  I’ve always followed my mom’s advice and “hung from a hook” on the top of my head.  As a pianist I know the importance of good posture. After my initial physical therapy (PT) session, I apparently am too hunched forward. Okay…I can see that.

Fast forward to yesterday, my first day back to work after break.  A fairly light day as far as interpreting.  By the end of the day I was a weak, numb, tingling, mess.  After work I had my eighth session with the therapists.  I have made improvements as far as decreased pain, decreased numbness, and with some of my rotation angle measurements (yeah…didn’t know there were such things). While I’m not 100%, I’m doing much better.  The two weeks of no interpreting was helpful in my recovery. I know that it is still a long process, I have to convince myself that I can get through this.  I love a challenge, even though I complain about them as it happens.

My plan is to find creative ways to get my stretches in during the work day.  Some of them are a challenge because I don’t want to look “odd” and distract the students in the classroom.  I really don’t want surgery.  I really want to continue interpreting. I love what I do…




Self Check…

Every once in a while I forget what my job is… I get way more involved in what’s going on in the classroom than I should. I’m human, it’s allowed.  Anyway, after those days I end up feeling lousy and have to take a day or two to get myself in check.

Thankfully, Classroom Interpreting has many reminders for me to review.  I believe I have a good self-realization thing going on so that I know when I tend to cross the lines and can reign in my actions quickly.

Professionalism is important.  Not only towards the teachers in the classroom but for all students as well.  Without that we can be labelled a troublemaker and find ourselves without a job.

When I feel those breaking points about to boil up and out, I’m going to count quietly to myself to calm down before I let any unprofessional-ism leak out.

If you have any suggestions or comments please feel free to leave them.

Why I don’t like reporting out.

I was feeling under the weather,sore throat and general malaise, and took the day off.  I must have slept for 20 hours that day.  I ditched the sore throat but the general blahness has persisted.  I’m here at work and trying to “fake it, until I make it”.  We only have a four days until Winter break is upon us.  Hooray for scheduled time off! 

I know for me, I feel guilty if I’m not at work.  I love what I do and basically don’t trust anyone with my kids.  Possessive, I know. When I got back to work yesterday I heard the kids did better in Science than they had all year.  UGH!  Was the sub-interpreter better?  I am I failure as an interpreter?  All these questions racing through my brain.  I know I shouldn’t feel that way but I think it’s human.  Without the daily feedback of a co-interpreter I am always doubting my ability.

Being human can be a burden 😀


Working for a school has it’s benefits.  One of the biggest, in my opinion, is the time off.  Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do.  The time off though gives me a chance to really rest my working arms.

Coming back after six days off I could really feel how “out of shape” my arms were.  It’s not like you don’t use them in regular daily life but it’s finally hit me that “interpreter arms” and “everyday arms” are different.

We are coming up on a longer break.  I need to remember to keep up with my craft while I’m resting.


Happy and Healthy makes for a great Interpreter

Keeping yourself healthy can be hard while working at a school.  It seems that some infection is going around all the time. It’s good to know if you are experiencing a cold or the flu.  You can check out the CDC’s Site for some helpful hints.

Somethings I do that I’m sure makes me look like Monk but keeps me relatively healthy through the year:

    • Don’t share my pencil or pens with students.
    • Carry my own Antibacterial Gel. (And if I offer it to someone else, I am the one squeezing it out of the bottle for them.
    • If I am sick, I stay home to get better.  I know that it’s hard to get a sub-interpreter but I am going to be out fewer days if I can “nip it in the bud

I have been lucky, injury wise.  I don’t know if growing up, playing the piano has built up my muscles or if I’m just lucky.  I do get sore in my shoulders and take the time to rest them.  Below are some links that I have found on a cursory search.

I need to incorporate these exercises to prevent future injuries – Injury Prevention.

Cumulative Motion Injury 

Overuse Injuries in Sign Interpreters

Terp Topic is always a wealth of information.

An interesting read about stress. Application of Demand-Control Theory to Sign Interpreting: Implications for Stress and Interpreter Training 
Stress can be very damaging to your health.  This site has 33 Ways to Reduce and Prevent Stress
Eating healthy and getting enough sleep are a given.  Sometimes it’s easier to eat Poptarts for breakfast but I can tell my brain isn’t as sharp on those days.  Protein is my friend 🙂