Monday, 14th April 2003

My cinema elbow is water cooled.

No, I have not gone nuts. Well, at least I am not any crazier than otherwise.

The Hague, a beautiful Saturday, about 1½ month ago

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My love has dragged me away from my keyboard. At that time I was very busy with Object Oriented Software Development of but I take a day off and join her to a bar, cinema and restaurant. I enjoy a couple of white beers in the centre of The Hague.

Ticket Catch Me If You Can The movie catch me if you can is above expectations, very good. I am fascinated for three hours. There is no problem yet.

An elbow

During dinner, in the cosy Sirene (.../restaurantsVan/DenHaag/...) (Phone +31 70 364 5547, Bagijnestraat 6, map by Yellow Pages) my left elbow starts hurting.

That is a nuisance, but no reason to panic at the spot. It is quite normal for me to incur minor injuries without knowing. At such times my mind is too busy. Physical complaints only surface when my brain runs idle. Optimistically I assume that the pain is a temporary problem, probably sat in a wrong posture, bumped it, or I don't know what.

Bursitis elbow

After a month of pain my optimism is gone. The elbow remains painful, the red hotspot has swollen and dwindled. The pain keeps me from sleeping. I can't stretch my left arm well. My left arm looses power.

The doctor is very enthusiastic. He recognises the bursitis elbow ( immediately and tells me it is painful and long lasting, but nothing to worry about. I should cool the elbow and avoid pressure. Fine, that sounds like an implement able scenario to me.

Cooler, release 1

So far so good, but how does one cool an elbow without applying pressure?

The first thing that comes to mind is a cooling module, wrapped around my arm with a tea-cloth. It is not a working solution. It cools all right, but it is far from comfortable. The hard cooling module presses on the elbow and causes more pain than it solves.

Cooler, release 2

As a first improvement I devise an freezing back of ice, melted halfway, so the water presses softly against the elbow. A few times per day I wrap such an ice back around the elbow.

Yes, this is much better. But, there are still a number of bugs:

Cooler, release 3

An ice pack, frozen on an up side down cup, with a plate underneath.

It is better.

Yet, it is not perfect yet. It only works when I keep my arm bended. It is not really comfortable either.

Cooler, release 4

A phone conversation with sir Michiel Scager from Utrecht results into a whole new path of solution. A wet sock from the lonely-socks-club, fixed with bandage crams around my elbow. The evaporating water cools the elbow, mostly at the hot, painful spot. It is like a mini fridge.

This works well. The sock keeps it's position, without pressure, stretches comfortably with every move I make. Gravity works in my favour now, running cold water to the point of pain.

Kudos to sir Scager. All what remains are some minor problems.

Cooler, release 5

As an final alternative source of cooling I use a mixing bowl with ice water. Refrigerating plastic bags with about half a litre water take turns in the fridge, not fully filled, anticipating expansion. Two such bags a day suffice to keep the bowl cool.

When the sock runs dry, I gently tip the ice down, with the painful end of the elbow. The elbow cools immediately in the icy water. The sock absorbs ice water at the far end, resulting into perfect cooling.

Ice water cooled cinema elbow

So, if you ... you have nothing to worry about.

This individual has not gone nuts. He is the proud co-inventor of the ice water cooled cinema elbow.

Till next nut,