[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 31 {202.5} “Physical Therapy Rheumatology?, Part 23”

Depending on how my appointment with the pain specialist goes, my new physical therapist says the next option might be seeing a rheumatologist. I’d only heard that word in passing before, someone that studies issues that can hurt various parts of the body, so maybe that’s someone who I’ll be seeing tomorrow? Since my X-ray results didn’t point toward any major issues, I’ll have to keep stretching, practicing proper posture, and working toward better health.

My left eye teared about halfway through the session.

I can’t do a cat pose without my spine pinching in pain, which makes sense, because I can’t lay down on my stomach without the pressure in my lower back tightening up enough to hurt. I wonder, then, if when my lower back seized up after standing throughout my work-from-home shifts, I wonder if the pressure of that standing pushed my muscles inward. Now that I think about it, in the comfort of my writing chair, I wonder how much of this was a confluence of accidents or the eventuality of subpar ergonomics.

Do I understand enough to be dangerous… to myself?

If I know nothing, I ask questions. We were all in a COVID-19 panic, so ergonomics was a secondary or not even a tertiary consideration for all of us, so I don’t know how many questions I could have even asked since we were just watching the death tolls and wondering what the hell was going to happen to society. To be fair to me, I sat in the chair I’ll now be using for physical therapy and my back hurt no matter what I tried, and I had no good ergonomic options for my work-from-home environment. So I built up a standing desk, which, were it not for my subpar standing posture, I suppose, I could have weathered the storms.

When I recover fully, I would like to resurrect that standing desk, somewhat.

Only now, I’ll use it for limited purposes of maybe less than one hour? I can use a standing desk for physical activities like cataloging albums, movies, watching part of a movie, or instructional workout videos. This setup will, eventually, work its way into my home gym more formally than it was during my work-from-home days where it crowded over my rower’s space. Until that time when I get back to rowing and doing any physical activities more than essential exercises, that workspace collects dust in reality and in my imagination.

It will be nice to return to that sort of health.

Toward the tail-end of physical therapy, we talked about how the spine absorbs the shock of two to three times our body weights. If my spine had developed over years of under-educated posture and poor spinal health, then I could see how my spine could not survive. Is that the fault of myself, any physical educators throughout the years, or a freak accident in these freak lives we live?

I’m not looking for blame and I accept my reasonable amount of responsibility.

I’m not sure what I can do currently to fix my health, and I’m sure that’s what the doctors will be working toward over the next few days or whatever, but whatever that means for my ergonomics I’ll need to invest in them. My non-ideal writing workspace is about as non-terrible for ergonomics as I can build them. I will need a better workspace, and now that we’re not in a complete lockdown panic, despite the pandemic still being as vicious in mid-June [as of this writing], it should be more possible.

Until then, I’ll need to learn to overcome this current pain I’m in.

Despite the good of physical therapy, it can hurt. Despite my best efforts, it might seem like the efforts I’ve made to loosen my spine have actually caused it to become stiffer. My spine doctor wrote me email this morning, when talking about whether we should even meet now that he’s referred me to a chiropractor and there are no major spine issues, he offered a spinal injection if the issue persists until then. Well, considering I’ve been in overwhelming pain for essentially these past two months, where I might have respite moments or even days without major flair-ups so long as I don’t actually do anything, that may be a better question for the pain specialist to address.

I reserve my enthusiasm, for, in these regards, the American Healthcare System has never excited me.

It’s been two months of trying my best before I could get to where I am now! Considering my loss of wages, maybe it would have been cheaper to go to an emergency room when the pain really flared up. The pain started in mid-April but I only got my X-ray yesterday – in mid-June. For less than $2000, I could have got the X-ray the same day. Instead, my primary care physician’s office just billed me less than $500 for the month-plus of floundering. What a fucking joke this whole damn thing’s been. I’ve been through so much bullshit as we moseyed through all this pain I’ve endured to get to where I am today. Sure, I accept that I could have done more. I could have held my healthcare providers to more stressful demands, calling them daily or near-daily for status to actually prioritizing my health, but the more I consider how this second round of experiences with the American Healthcare System has gone, the less pride and empathy I feel toward doctors prioritizing cases like mine.

I might be mad now because the pain is flaring up again.

Not much I can do besides tolerate the pain as best I can until I meet with the doctor tomorrow. I wonder if I’ll even be able to sleep tonight at all? I don’t feel hunger or fatigue. Almost all I feel is this constant pressure, pain, and stress that consumes my consciousness from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep.

Probably not…

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 202.5
Last week’s weight: 203.5
Difference: I’m at the point now where I don’t have an appetite anymore because the pain just kind of lingers all day. I’ve tried explaining it to my insurance company but it’s useless.
Inspirations: Exploring my thoughts.
Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template.
Written On: 2020 June 10 [4:39pm to 5:22pm]
Last Edited: 2020 June 10 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.