I was recently asked, rather accusatorially, if I was going to spend the rest of my life being an invalid on painkillers. My response was that this is what I’m getting the pain specialist’s advice on trying to avoid since I currently have to spend about 15 to 30 minutes laying down for every 30 to 60 minutes I sit upward. There should be a better way to live my life than that. I’ll have to wait and see.
It would be nicer if I didn’t have to deal with all of this.
However, there is a certain degree of fortune to this, since I am learning to pace myself well. I am learning to recognize when my body is tired. I’m not tired at the moment, but about one hour ago, I was tired enough to where I needed to rest for longer than that 15-30 minute period and rested for closer to one hour. The nice thing, I suppose, is learning to recognize my body’s fatigue signals that I might have otherwise learned to push away from either years of playing videogames or years of schoolwork and having a little bit of free time with which to enjoy life.
Now, I have almost all of the day for myself, except the time spent in pain.
Those moments, at least today, weren’t as terrible as previous weeks, but were worse than previous days, so I worry that things will continue to worsen without the right medicine and without the right treatment options. As much as it may seem like I’m being lazy by not wanting to go back to work, in this condition, I can’t. What would happen? I’d go work for about 30 minutes then need to go lay down for about 15 to 30 minutes? I’d get fired fairly quickly. Even the most patient employer would probably rather me not show up, as I am now – on medical leave, then deal with that sort of situation.
Earlier this year, my manager, regarding headaches caused by eye strain was shitty.
He told me that if we got busy that I should skip the breaks that my doctor had outlined I take, which, when I did, caused my eye strain, headaches, and health to worsen. As I have written about extensively through the Tripping On The American Healthcare System essay series, I have begun to develop not quite a disdain or distrust for doctors, but something closer to the ACAB mentality toward cops, in that the police are a necessary force in society, but they oftentimes will overstep their authority to control or manipulate. My recent encounters with the pain specialist and ER showed me that my health was a secondary concern to the doctors that were treating me, like I can empathize with people saying that police can be more aggressive than necessary.
Since I wrote all that, let me explain my healing philosophy.
I have a hunch, here, that my pain specialist won’t be helping me much more than he already has and so I’ll be doing a majority of this on my own. He might write me a note for some more time off, but I doubt I’ll get much more help from him outside of getting a spinal injection. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a back brace. So I have to do much of this by myself. That means I have to learn to pace myself by myself. If I get tired, I have to learn to notice the warning signs of fatigue or pain radiating from my right side or lower back. That’s when I go lay down for enough time for that pain to calm down.
I fully expect to get no additional help from any further doctors.
My case is already considered “minor,” so the pain specialist didn’t consider surgery to be an option worth exploring at this point and the conversation the ER doctor had with the pain specialist amounted to me calling the spine doctor and pain specialist. I can’t help but wonder how much worse this process might be in different countries – or if. This is already pretty embarrassing… if this is supposed to be world-class healthcare, I’ve been treated like garbage throughout most all of the entire process.
I don’t yet know if I’ll ever be able to row to my old paces again.
Even if I can row, I don’t know how easily I’ll be able to move everything around in my apartment-mansion, but once I can start to move things around, I’m going to wholesale get rid of everything that I won’t be taking with me to the next place, or doesn’t serve much of a purpose to me. I can still pay for this place, but it’s expensive, and I haven’t earned money in two months now. As much as I’d like to get back to work to continue paying for this expensive place, in this expensive part of the world, part of me realizes that I’ve already exhausted myself too much.
Why does my body only have about 30 minutes of energy at a time?
That’s because it’s already beyond its normal capacity, and not because I’ve been lazy the past few months. I’ve been doing as much as I physically can, despite this health problem with this herniated disc, to keep up with physical therapy, to keep walking, going to grocery stores, and living life as I normally would. If I have any chance for recovery, let alone a full recovery, then I should do my best to avoid pushing myself too much at this stage in my recovery.
I have the rest of my life to work hard and push everything around.
Now, I should be focusing on doing the little things I can to get things back up and running. I can start by mentally closing the books on certain things, like saying, no, I don’t want to worry about that project, or alright, let’s get rid of that thing – eventually.
Even if I need help carrying those projects out.
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 202.5
– Last week’s weight: 203.0
– Difference: I ate as much as I could this past week but still lost weight. At least, as I’m writing this section in late August, I am in a better state – somewhat – than this essay I wrote in early July. I am scheduled for surgery soon to fix my spine. That will help me on my road to recovery.
|Inspirations: Writing about my recent experiences and thinking about what I was being told about how I might be leading my life. I hate people sometimes.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2020 July 04 [4:15pm to 4:42pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 July 04 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|