I didn’t need to use a cane to walk around until I started getting headaches. I think those headaches, which I experienced late into 2019 and until early 2020, were probably caused by the same spinal problems I’m experiencing now. They were just minimized with certain factors that are no longer avoidable. It’s unfortunate but at least I have coping mechanism tools to deal with this situation until I get the help I need to recover permanently.
I think surgery will be the way to fix my health problems.
I have some trepidation about the surgical process, but considering that my health has not improved over the past month, when I’ve done everything I could to help it, and I’ve had two doctors validate that this seems like the best option to go, I figure why would I endure more pain and less mobility if I can help it? There are days like today where I feel like I might not even need the cane – a steel bar that I wrapped in packaging tape in a sword-like style, like Zatoichi. I don’t think I’ll use this cane to walk around outside, outside of today, because I only have wooden staves. Although I’d rather not get this cane too dirty, I don’t have many other options available to me. It’s not like I thought about needing to use a cane, and hadn’t relied on one until a few days ago.
It’s sad to think about how I didn’t anticipate this decline 7 weeks ago.
Despite my best efforts in fighting for my health then, now I feel significantly worse off than I did then. I was feeling low then. Will I need to rely on canes for the rest of my life now? I’ve wondered about my future. Let’s say that COVID-19 resolves itself in a moderately acceptable time period, where we can go to concerts again, and do things without needing to worry about catching a highly-contagious virus. Could I go to a concert without needing to bring a cane with me? I suppose the only way to know for sure is to approach that time and see how my general health is going.
Will I be able to row again?
My spine doctor’s office seems optimistic that I can make a full recovery within a few days to two weeks. It does feel good to finally have people express that level of optimism for me in the American Healthcare System. I’ve felt like my ship was wrecked and I’ve been stranded on a liferaft for months now. Maybe it’s my hubris or delirium to where I feel like things are starting to turn around? I know for myself that since I’ve experienced a number of “bad spine days” over the past few months, that those numbers won’t disappear forever anymore. It’s a feeling that I’ve worked my best to overcome, but I know that my spine now has a returning precedence for pain now. If I push myself too much, or if my spine feels it’s being pushed too much, then it could be easy for it to return to this state.
I probably will be able to row again.
I just won’t be able to push myself, whether recklessly or under control, again. I think back to a cave hike that I did some years ago. I don’t think I’ll be able to go back through that cave again and go at the pace I did. It was an underground cave with some difficult parts to navigate through, and although there are enough people around to where, if my spine went out, I could navigate through, I don’t like the idea of being a burden on others to that degree. Do I really need those sorts of high-octane experiences? I suppose this health problem of mine means that I will be forced to lead a humbler, quieter life. I can still do physical things, I suppose, but I won’t be able to push myself to those limits anymore, because my limits have been impaired. I suppose I could train my body and mind to get back to that shape, and with some tools at my disposal, I could even traverse that cave again, but then I have to ask myself if that’d be even worthwhile?
Would I want to train myself to be an extreme athlete?
The most I want from my health is not feeling restricted by it. If I take care of myself and make sure not to overdo it, I want to be able to wake up, go through a day doing things of my own volition, without feeling extreme pain after. I have more tools available to me, but I know how this story will go. I’ll do what I can, now, to downsize my apartment-mansion so that when I move out, I’ll hire movers to get everything big that I wasn’t able to move myself. I relied on friends before because we could move the big things together. It’s not like these friends have gone away. I just can’t rely on myself for that same level of physicality anymore.
The best I can hope for right now is a meager lifestyle.
I suppose I’m lucky in that I don’t have any particularly big physical ambitions anymore. I don’t need two rowing machines, so one can go after I’m able to clear out space. I’m less attached to physical objects, so I can sell or donate things with less concern now. I can learn to take care of my physical health better now, thanks to doctors and physical therapists, so maybe I could even do many of the same physical things I once did – even some months back. I would say that for anyone reading this, take a moment to consider what might happen if your spine declined as mine did. Try to take care of yourself early. I thought I had, and I was still taken down.
It’s easier to have a cane before needing it.
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 211.5
– Last week’s weight: 209.0
– Difference: This is the section where I usually fast-forward into the present. I’m writing this on September 26. I had my surgery August 31 and while I do need to use two canes to walk around outside, I can walk around my apartment without much hassle, so things are looking up.
|Inspirations: Between getting headaches and needing this cane, life has been more complicated than necessary over the past week. Hopefully, by this essay’s publication, things will be sorted out. [It did.]|
|Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Pictures: Template, with a photo from an essay that will appear that shows my improvised cane.|
|Written On: 2020 August 12 [8:07am to 8:34am]|
|Last Edited: 2020 August 12 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|