Thursday, 20 December 2012

Writer's cramp.

At this time of year we suspect a lot of GPs will be doing something they don't do very often nowadays and that is to write legibly.

With the increasing use of computers to hold medical information most of the time we spend typing away on computers. We only rarely write letters by hand usually only on home visits when admitting patients to hospital and if we write in surgery it is usually only a few words on a post it or instructions to staff on hospital letters etc.

We do still sign prescriptions but the signatures we use are usually a squiggle that over time becomes less and less recognizable as having any letters in it due to the need to repeat it quickly and often several hundred times a day.

Indeed some of the team have 2 signatures one for prescriptions the other for cheques and credit card transactions but these are becoming less often used as PINs replace signatures.

So when one of the team sat down to write a few Christmas cards they experienced something they had last experienced at school - writer's cramp. Writing prescisely involves fine muscle movements and we realized that we don't use these muscles as often as we used to and so after just a few smartly and legibly written and addressed cards our dominant hand hurt.

The last time we experienced this was in our English Literature exam when the grade you got was dependant on the weight of paper you wrote on that the examiner could read and so writing legibly at speed was a must do.

Praise be to the Party for deskilling the muscles in our hands that are needed to do things not dependant on a working computer system. It was surprisingly painful and unexpected and brought back painful memories of English Lit. as well!

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