The position of the pacemaker (on the left side of my chest, under my arm) means that doing anything that involves raising my left arm or having to use that muscle under the arm (no idea what it’s called, sorry) becomes rather uncomfortable after a while. Unfortunately, shelving library books involves such activity – replacing books on shelves and moving books back to make a gap to replace books, or just moving books so they are upright and nicely straight against the shelf end/divider all involve the repeated use of my arm/shoulder/chest muscles. By the time I’ve done an hour’s shelving the area around my pacemaker becomes somewhat painful. We are supposed to shelve for an hour every morning, unless we happen to be rota-ed [how do you spell that?] on the Library Point, and then I often also shelve journals in the afternoons, so I was doing quite a lot of shelving over the week.
I had hoped that it would become more comfortable as I got more used to it, but this hasn’t been the case, so, this week, I asked my nice supervisor if it would be OK if I no longer shelved in the mornings, and she said this was fine and told me I should have said something before, which of course I should. Bad Bookmouse. She had to tell our line manager, who was very nice about it, but also chastised me in a jokey kind of way (!). I will carry on shelving the journals in the afternoon, as these are normally a lot lighter and I’m usually just putting new issues in boxes, so the level of activity required is less than when shelving or tidying books.
I’m slightly annoyed that it has come to the point where I’ve had to stop doing something. I feel like a skiver, even though I know it would be stupid to carry on doing something that’s causing me pain. Also, despite the fact that I know my colleagues will be their usual lovely understanding selves and not think badly of me, I still feel self-conscious about not being able to do what everyone else does – memories of school and sometimes having to sit out of P.E. and things spring to mind. I know this is silly, but I suppose it just comes back to me wanting to be ‘normal’ – which is also silly as we all know there is no such thing!
The (an) irony is that I know a few people who would quite like to not have to shelve in the mornings, but I was quite enjoying it! There’s something rather satisfying about putting books back in their proper places and making them nice and tidy. I’ll just have to find other ways of making myself useful in the mornings.
[Edited to add:] I should point out that I still love my pacemaker very much, or at least as much as it’s possible to love a very tiny computer, because it helps me do lots of things I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. It really is an amazing piece of equipment and I’m very grateful to have it.