It has taken me 40 work days, but I now believe I could properly test a site on my own. This is a Phase III project, but they skipped the II and most of the sites I have been getting are better described as testing—overall, very boring sites with a lot of empty holes. However, I am familiar with all the forms; can lay in grid with the transit or triangulation; excavate a marginally clean unit with straightish walls; take pollen samples; identify sediment types; munsell; produce site, plan, and profile maps; and wrangle an FS log and artifacts with minimal mistakes. I have learned more practical aspects of CRM archaeology these 40 days than I have in years! This is what I told my Project Director yesterday when I thanked him for giving me this opportunity and explained that I need time off the get my carpal tunnel treated. I am in the process of destroying my wrists. I knew carpal tunnel was going to be a problem, I just didn’t realize it could get this bad. I am barely getting any sleep because of my constantly aching and throbbing hands and fingers. It gets even worse if they go numb and then come back to life. The braces don’t help at all. So back to the orthopedist I go, the same one who suggested I stop running after my hip strain, who told me to not going on the hiking trip this last April because of my Achilles tendonopathy (but that it was not a career-ender—I could return to survey in a few months), and who is now probably going to tell me to take a break from excavating. I’m going to push for cortisone injections so I can go back to work, and then try to get the surgery this winter. My Project Director is being very supportive—he told that he was absolutely willing to work with me, that he had hired me because he needed an excellent survey crew chief and that he was happy to take the time to train me to phase II/III until a phase I comes along. He is even willing to let me work in the lab a few days if I need to stay out of the sun after the injections. It is a good deal, apart from no sick time.
I am trying to avoid getting depressed about all these injuries. My Achilles are not quite healed yet. When I started this job, I stopped doing the eccentric exercises and my left tendon has tightened up and again and starts aching occasionally. I am pretty sure it will completely regress as soon as I start surveying again—especially on slopes or in deep sand. So I can neither survey nor excavate without hurting myself. I appear to have picked the wrong career and am generally fucked.