Listen to your bits…


I have spent 24 years drawing with my mouse on the computer. For the last several years, I used Apple’s magic mouse which is touch-sensitive and allows you to swipe across it to move the cursor and it has been wonderful — until a few weeks ago when I was doing a whole lot of drawing in Illustrator.

My right index finger (the mouse-finger) started to hurt, a lot. And it got swollen. And then it hurt worse. It is at this point that many people go into denial. I do not.

I treat my body like a used car. If warning lights start flashing on your car, you take it to a mechanic, right? We should all head to the doctor when our bodies send us similar warnings.

It may not be this way in your town, but here plastic surgeons are the hand guys. I visited Dr. Swamy who has been in practice here a long time and is much beloved. I took my mouse and asked if that was the problem. Yes, it was. I asked if rest would make it better enough to be able to use the mouse again. No, it would not. We agreed that I had to find a new way to draw in the computer and I had to also find a more ergonomic mouse.




The mouse was easy. I got a Logitech M570. I’ll have to be careful not to overuse any of my fingers but I can do that.

I won’t be using the mouse to draw. I am, instead, viewing this as an opportunity to buy a tool that I have lusted after — a Wacom Cintiq tablet! (Imagine a quilt-y picture instead of a lizard.)


The Cintiq tablet is actually a very fancy computer monitor that is touch-sensitive and that you can draw on. It’s similar to the iPad Pro, but you hook to to your computer and the Cintiq mirrors whatever is on screen. I’ll be able draw in Illustrator with a special pen. I’ll be able to use the pen in Photoshop as well, and I’m sure there’s more. I suspect that I’ll be able to move the mouse on the screen with my finger, much like you can on your smartphone.

On the advice of a friend (thank you, Amanda) I got the biggest Cintiq. I have gotten used to using a very big monitor and there isn’t any going back from there. Thankfully, this is piece of business equipment that I should have gotten a long time ago. I think it might actually make me more productive while also helping me to preserve my right hand – my sewing hand!

The bigger issue, and the point of this post, is that you need to pay attention to your body! Don’t ignore warnings, take care of your bits early rather than after damage has been done. Because I said so :-).


17 thoughts on “Listen to your bits…

  1. Hi Had problem with my mouse, too. Tendonitis. I now use a vertical mouse….Evoluent and no more problems. It is available in right or left hand use and in sizes. Small, med and large.
    May are does not hurt at all now and I am so glad that this mouse is even on the market! My Chiropractor told me about.


  2. Looks like you got a new toy for your troubles. Good idea to keep on top of health issues. It can save your life! Hope it works and motivates you at the same time.


  3. Interesting conicidence that you posted this entry as I have been meaning to ask you if you would discuss how you make patterns on your Mac. I remember at a workshop about 1999 in Lancaster, that you said you drew your own patterns and way back them I’m not even sure what you would have used! I’d love to see how you do it now….


  4. Becky~that is great advice and my philosophy about caring for your body. Thank you for all the information as to how you do so many of the wonderful things we are privileged to enjoy. Hope all goes well with your hands. Thank you.


  5. We love all things Apple in our house, but the one thing Apple devices are not, is ergonomic. So my iMac is built down into my desk to save my neck, and I don’t use the Magic Mouse to save my fingers and elbow (mouse elbow hurts!!), and don’t use the Apple keyboard to save my wrists. Hand surgery happening in a couple of weeks. How will I survive without sewing!!! 🙂


  6. That is so interesting…good advice. Since I am so technically behind (being old ya know)I just seem to do most things the old fashioned way . But even w/o mouse problems, my poor body has its share of aches and pains! OUCH


  7. I changed to mousing with my left hand after my right elbow started hurting all the time. It really wasn’t nearly as hard as everyone thinks it would be. I didn’t have the buttons changed either. I’ve been doing it that way for years now, and since I use the keyboard all day at work, I find that having my right hand available instead of over on that mouse, it’s more efficient. I also had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand; the surgeon thought it would help with the elbow issues. And it did! I’m all about saving my sewing hand!


  8. With the magic mouse, is there some reason to restrict using only your index finger to control it? I have one with my Mac, and use any of the 4 right hand fingers In normal use (not drawing). It is not likely that I would use the little finger much, but would have no problem with using the other three.


  9. Pingback: Listen to your bits… – DUDU GIFTS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.