I woke up one day last week and couldn’t move my thumb. My left hand throbbed, and the base of my thumb especially felt like it had been crushed in a door. At first I thought I’d slept on it and the pain would subside quickly. But instead of getting better, over hours, then days, the pain got worse.
I must have pulled something in my hand, I thought. After all, I’d spent weeks carting around storage bins as I moved my mother from a house to an apartment. Then in a panic I thought, maybe it’s early onset arthritis. But I’m too young for hand arthritis. Knees, yes, but not my hands. And that kind of arthritic pain didn’t just pop up overnight, did it?
Don't try this at home. Image: Christal Roberts
Despite aspirin, ice and gentle loving care, nothing helped, and I was like a clumsy child when it came to everyday tasks. Picking up a water bottle was excruciating, turning a doorknob or a key was agony, and as for getting dressed, I have two words for you: bra hooks.
It wasn’t until three days of pain and a visit to the doctor’s office loomed in front of me that I figured out the source of my ailment: Candy Crush Saga.
Yeah, you heard me, I had what I like to call Candy Crush Hand.
Remember “Blackberry Thumb?” Well, CCH is a variation. Also called basal thumb arthritis, it’s an inflammation of the basal joint at the base of the thumb. The causes can be a trauma or injury to the thumb, or as in my case the repetitive gripping of my Android in my left hand as I played Candy Crush Saga using the index finger of my right.
For hours. Getting me to level 218.
Tired of Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Star Wars and Angry Birds Seasons, I started playing Candy Crush right after the mobile app was released last November. I got one taste of the challenging puzzle and my addiction began. I played it on my 90-minute commute into the city, during my 30-minute lunch hour, during my 90-minute commute home, and worst of all, sometimes an hour or two or three in bed before going to sleep.
That's right, I gave up my bedside mysteries for the monkey on my back that was Candy Crush Saga. Propped up on pillows, I’d tightly grip my phone in my left hand and use my right to move the candies around. All those pretty, shiny, juicy colored candies. Lining them up in threes, fours and fives. Filling those specialty orders of striped and wrapped candies.
And when I ran out of Candy Crush turns, I played King’s latest game, Pet Rescue Saga (Level 170). Back and forth I would go, alternating between candies and pets until the wee hours of the morning.
My thumb did not like it. So, I stopped playing. Briefly. Then when I started up again, instead of gripping the phone in my left hand, I put the phone on my lap, or laid it flat in my palm. The aspirin and the ice then had a chance to work and the pain gradually lessened. Now my case of CCH is almost gone.
But I'm not alone. I bet a survey of the millions of daily Candy Crush users would find a whole range of Candy Crush ailments. Lollipop Goldstein at Stirrup Queens had one of her own. So as a public service announcement, I wanted to get out the word that this is your thumb on Candy Crush Saga. Any questions?
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