Arthritic Hands and the Kindle

by Rachel Baker on November 19, 2010

For almost a year, I’d seen a significant increase in the amount of time the outer part of my hand near my knuckles ached. I refused to believe it was arthritis because well, 35 year olds don’t have arthritis.  But, as time went on, it was getting worse and I was taking two and three Ibuprofen more often; and I was beginning to admit I was seeing the first signs of arthritis.  During a doctor’s appointment a month and a half ago, I mentioned the pain in my hands and feet and found out it was arthritis (who knew you could have arthritis throughout your whole body? My neck was also included in the diagnosis).

We’re not going to talk about how finding out one has arthritis on their birthday makes one feel old, but it does; and in a fit of teenager-like rebellion, I only took my anti-inflammatory medicine for about one and a half weeks (not the whole month as prescribed) until it felt better (in my foot).

During this same time, I got a Kindle for my birthday. I spent the month reading as much as I could get my hands on through my Kindle because of the novelty of the gift … well, that and there is so much available that one may want to read but can’t find in the local bookstore.

Since I got my Kindle, I haven’t read a traditional paperback or hardback book.  I haven’t picked up a pencil to make notes, and I haven’t flipped one page.  The Kindle only takes one hand (the whole hand to hold and the thumb to click a button for page turning), and you can make notes and highlights right there on the Kindle (two hands needed for this).

My hands were feeling GREAT!  I had almost decided that “knowing is half the battle” and since I knew it was arthritis, I could train my mind to ignore it.

I had almost convinced myself I was a master of “mind over matter” and “knowing was half the battle.”  My arthritis was not going to keep me from enjoying the things I loved to do.

And then it happened – reality set in … Two days ago, I started reading Decision Points by George W. Bush.  This book is a 497 page, hardcover book – big, heavy and awkward to hold.  Last night, my hands ached so much I had to take the anti-inflammatory again.

While I was laying on the couch watching t.v., rubbing my hands, trying to figure out why my hands were inflamed since I’d virtually done all the same things since the last time they hurt badly and there wasn’t a major weather system moving in, it occurred to me – What’s changed is I haven’t been holding a traditional book of any sort. It never occurred to me that the stress I was putting on my hands by holding books was causing excess inflammation in my knuckles – that’s just not something people think about.  My hands had been able to rest while using the Kindle all month.  They haven’t had to span across a book to hold it open and they haven’t had to turn pages.  When I started thinking about it, I realized that over the past year, it had taken me longer to read books that once took one or two days – because I’d have to put the book down more often due to aching hands.

I decided I had to share this revelation with others. I thought sharing this may help others who have had to minimize their reading time because their hands hurt incorporate something they love back into their lives on a constant basis.

So, here’s the gist of this: If you know someone with arthritic hands who loves to read, but has a difficult time holding books, and you are trying to figure out holiday gifts, consider a Kindle. Right now, you can get one for $139.00.  I suggest adding a book light.  The person will be able to order books from the Kindle (they will need to have an amazon account and a wireless connection) rather than a computer if they so desire.

Disclaimer: I am not being paid for this post by Amazon. As an affiliate, if you click one of the amazon links on my site, I do get a small percentage of the sale.  However, where this is concerned I don’t care if you go through my site, just bring back joy to a reader with arthritis who has a difficult time holding a book.

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