[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 39 {209.0} “Move Like Ninety-Year-Old”

My spine doctor told me last week I moved like I was a 90-year-old and I’m not offended. I feel like I’m a 90-year-old. I had trouble moving a 4-pound box today, whereas years back, I carried around a 75-or-more-pound box for enough time to where it surprised the mail courier when two people had to carry it out. I had thought that box was heavy, yeah, but now, a 4-pound box gives me trouble…

There’s a balance between rest and muscle atrophy.

I believe that what I’ve been doing over the past month, and what I’ve been trying to do all along, is keep my spine in as good of condition as possible to avoid any long-term damage. It seems difficult getting a straight answer from some doctors or medical advisors on what specifically to do. The more I deal with my own spinal health, the more I wonder if others know anything about spinal health besides astute experts in the field of spinal research? Most of the doctors I’ve talked to seem to know next to nothing about spinal pain. Apathy arises, too, when the official documentation states that my condition is minor. A minor disc bulging might not seem to be too big of a deal, but when it translates to the amount of pain I experience all throughout the day, each day, and have experienced for months now, it gets more difficult to tolerate.

Still, I must endure; for what reason, I suppose for living a nice life.

The true question becomes whose nice life? If doctors and insurance companies seem actively willing to forget the Hippocratic Oath, then they are not interested in me having a nice life. I must continue to fight for my health, as I approach my mid-30s, rather than the condition my body is currently in – that of a 90-year-old. I met a neighbor of mine the other day that has had spinal problems throughout his life, goes to the hospital frequently for check-ups and assorted other checks to confirm that he can continue living independently, and he, even in I would imagine his mid-70s, moves around more actively than me.

How has this American Healthcare System become so corrupt?

Why has this system failed me so much that even months back, I was considering ways of rearranging my gym equipment to work-out more efficiently, figuring out ways to exercise while balancing the rest of my hobbies in life, whereas now, I can’t even lift my left foot above the bar of my rowing machine? I was going to write a second essay where I copied my email I sent to the insurance company today.

I’ll go ahead and paste it below:

Let me ask this, then, since my previous questions were not answered:

Is there even a point to waiting for the second opinion? Even though “[we do] not approve or deny your surgery.” I have to wait for the second opinion from [your company] before my surgery is approved.

Can I go ahead and schedule the surgery for as soon as possible?

My health is declining by the week.

I have stated repeatedly.

However, this statement is usually ignored or responded to with apathetic statements.

I would rather not have to deal with permanent disability.

If the expert opinion from [the insurance company] leads to a decline of surgery, then how much would that cost me? At this point, I believe it is irresponsible to wait three or more weeks, and so I’d rather not have my health sacrificed by [the insurance company] to where I could never pick up a weight over 5 pounds again, through all this red tape, just so someone can say “yeah, you should have had surgery sooner.”


I don’t think they’re replying because they know I’m right.

If a company is designed to help patients facilitate a better quality of life, why are they actively impairing that facilitation, except through their own corporate greed? They may have red tape, and I respect that, but there should be shortcuts in situations like mine. They should say that in normal situations, it can take up to a month to look at one x-ray and some doctor notes, but for situations where the patient states repeatedly that their health is declining, they should be able to do more.

Other than giving me a 1-888 number to give to my doctor.

That shows a complete lack of empathy in the patient. They could call on my behalf to check on things. They could do more, but instead, I expect to see no reply, so I will continue, daily, to write more and more replies telling them how my condition is degrading. They probably will see me as a problem patient. I don’t care. They didn’t care about my health before, except through the procedural guidelines of their system. Their replies assured me that they were doing the most they could, and yet, I know the most they did was reply to the message, and now, they don’t even do that.

I am worried – anxious, even – that I may never row again.

I may never be able to do even a light five-minute set. Over the years, I put in the most I could into both of my rowing machines, and the results they gave me, perhaps, helped me endure this much pain now. I will be forever grateful for the gifts that they gave to me, and as much as I would like to continue giving my all to these rowers and receiving their benefits, I worry, too, first that I won’t be able to even get my feet into the rowing machine again, and second that even if I do that every stroke will have an associated health check. This can be good, but with good form, you can get lost in the movement and not hurt yourself. I am losing confidence I’ll be able to do some great workouts again.

At most, maybe some light rowing?

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 209.0
Last week’s weight: 206.5
Difference: I’m writing this section on September 19. I had the surgery on August 31. I currently use two canes to walk around when I go outside, like crutches, I suppose. When I’m at home, I can mostly get by with lifting myself up with my arms, rather than the two canes. When I’m out and about though it tends to be too draining for me to do much of that sort of aerobic exercise. Still, I feel like I’m doing better. I have more overall mobility than I did when I wrote this essay. My spine surgery wound is still healing. I would say that I can now walk around like an eighty-year-old, and maybe eventually, I could walk around like a fifty-year-old, but I don’t have the confidence now that I’ll ever walk around as the thirty-three-year-old that I was before my spine got as bad as it did. I’m still mad about that. If events unfolded differently, would I have even needed surgery? It’s difficult to say.
Inspirations: Other than what my doctor told me? Just moving around my apartment-mansion at the pace I’m going. If I walk faster, it hurts.
Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 August 03 [5:33pm to 5:59pm]
Last Edited: 2020 August 03 [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.