I think it's time to bin this corpse of a mousepad
Time for a new solution to wrist aches
Over time, you notice the decay less. Once, after years of unknowingly peeling back the skin of your mousepad's gel wrist rest, your forearm finally and suddenly cut deep, splitting the subcutaneous barrier and gouging into the innards, tearing out chunks and spraying you with viscera. Not so much anymore. The wound is still there, it still festers, your wrist still grates, but over time, you notice it less.
It's dead, of course. You know it's dead. But it still does something, barely, and the corpse feels less of a problem now it's in a gentler stage of decay. Rather than movements violently creating a new landscape, with each day bringing a horrendous new disgorging, you're gently rasping. The bottom grows deeper and the sides wider but it's a process gradual of erosion, not sudden catastrophes. You can live with this.
It's become an unconscious process, brushing away the flecks of gel which cling to your clothes. Like scratching an itch, you only realise afterwards what your arm has just done. The same goes for pulling the flapping flesh taut over the wound when you realise it is exposed—though you might still notice when the skin rides far up, far enough that you make a show of tucking it under what remains of the body, as if that helps. And while once you actively made decisions not to wear clothes whose fibres clutch onto the rot, now it's habit to dress this way when you'll be at your computer. Your routines have shifted, the shapes of your life has changed, and this is simply what you do now. Honestly, I think it's time to bin this mousepad.
Any comfort that this tattered slab of gel, foam, and fabric provides is more mental than physical. It offers familiarity, not support. That's nice, and I'm grateful, but it's not enough. It's probably time to recognise a wrist rest was a workaround, not a solution. Time for something new: an ergonomic tilted mouse, maybe even a vertical mouse.