[Rowing Machine] 2021: Week 01 {221.0} “Can’t Imagine Exercising”

When I stood up after writing “Receive Second Opinion?,” my lower body expressed so much pain that I suppose the only real coping mechanism I have other than taking any sort of painkiller is excessive eating. I ate some snacks, I ate a meal unnecessarily, and that calmed me down well enough to sit back down here to write this essay. I wasn’t under any mental duress when I stood up. I can’t imagine exercising…

This Rowing Machine column was primarily focused on summarizing my rowing sets.

I haven’t rowed in months now, but I still keep this dream of rowing again alive, despite the best efforts of the doctors within the American Healthcare System to treat me as though I am worthless and otherwise not deserving of proper health. They prefer to treat me as though the pain I experience is not their problem. So here I am, barely able to do laundry, and when I am ambitious I might be able to move around a box or two, but every week, I feel less and less able to do things as my spine hurts with stronger and stronger frequencies after doing things like standing up, walking around, or even waking up from sleep. It’s frustrating to express this fruitlessly to the number of doctors I’ve talked to, and will continue to talk to, only for them to treat me poorly.

After all, I’m not kicking and screaming, so how much pain could I be in?

I have never felt this much pain so consistently in my life. Never was rowing this painful for me. I always took care to consider my physical health so that I would never push myself to the point of injury. Even when I rowed excessively. I can’t row right now and there are times, including right now, where I doubt I’ll ever be able to row again. I don’t know how the pain management doctor expects me to work with the sports medicine doctor on an exercise program if doing any sort of exertion causes me intense physical pain for days. I’m sure that the pain management doctor understands pain from a purely logical perspective, but as far as understanding his role from a patient recovery perspective, I don’t think he really understood that his role would be to help me get moving again.

How can I encourage myself to move when every movement hurts consistently?

It would be like sitting on a rowing machine that has spikes on it. I wouldn’t do it. I do have an appointment with a sports medicine doctor in a few days, so maybe this doctor – the third I will have seen about this post-surgical spine and tailbone pain – will have some degree of empathy in this situation. If not, I’ve reached out to two other doctors’s offices to schedule meetings with other pain management doctors and I have a list of other doctors to reach out to in the next few days.

I’ll give an example of how this pain feels.

I reached forward to adjust the mouse and the pain in my tailbone and lower back is like it sucks all the life out of me and turns my tailbone into a spike that impales me from the inside. It sucks all my motivation and inspiration for living a full, creative life from me. All I want to do when I experience this, which can happen several times a day now, is retreat into sleep. It’s a terrible sensation. Even now, when this sensation has calmed down, I don’t feel well. I don’t feel motivated to do much of anything. Yesterday, when the pain was significantly more hindering, all I did was sit around and watch media to escape the present. It might seem counter-intuitive for me to sit around on my hurting tailbone, but no doctor has seemed especially interested in helping me through this process, so I have to become Doctor Zombiepaper and treat the patient as best as I can – better than them – and if escapism is a route for recovery, then that’ll be what I prescribe to myself.

Let’s say through some miracle things are sorted out physically by this essay’s publication.

Let’s say a doctor believes that I am in pain and therefore tries to do something to help me through that pain. Let’s say that I am able to start rowing again. I don’t know if it will renew my confidence in exercising to be able to row again, but at least it will be nice. My body won’t feel numb from the pain and I won’t feel the desperate need to escape existence for a few minutes or hours. Even now, in this part of the sentence I’m writing, I feel an intense physical pain that makes it difficult for me to focus on much of anything. I can barely keep my thoughts straight as the pain sensations move around my body from my tailbone to my left side to my numb left foot. No doctor’s been interested in helping me with that foot problem.

It would be nice to feel optimistic about how I’ll be rowing again.

I’d like to imagine that by this essay’s publication, I’ll be rowing as happily as I was, well, I guess in early 2020. If there’s anything the American Healthcare System is good at, it’s wiping away the optimism and sense of happiness from its patients as it utterly destroys their lives and bank accounts. I don’t believe any of the doctors I’ve recently seen are interested in helping me get better. I don’t believe they are advocates for my health. I don’t believe they’re interested in knowing that I could row again. They don’t care about my dreams. They don’t care whether I want to have a home gym with one or two rowers. They aren’t interested in knowing that I can become a productive member of society.

The doctors I’ve seen and will continue seeing are only interested in money.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 221.0
Last week’s weight: 218.5
Weight Difference: I figure a majority of that is water weight.
Difference between writing and editing for publication: I attended my first PT session the other day since being approved for it again. It was exhausting but at least now it seems like I’m back on track to better health with regular PT appointments and doctor visits. I think the tipping point was finding a pain management doctor that was surprised I wasn’t taking any pain management medicine to get around. It just took being miserable for months to get to the point where I can walk a few hundred feet. I still can’t imagine exercising to any large extent yet, but on the scale of doing small movements, I feel more optimistic, I guess.
Inspirations: I probably should have written this as an evening Tripping On… essay instead of a morning Rowing Machine essay, but this expresses my thoughts on my current physicality as it relates to rowing and exercise. There are many things I want to do in my life that I currently feel are impossible.
Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Pictures: The new template for 2021. Other ideas by Collector: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
Written On: 2021 November 08 [1:52pm to 2:15pm]
Last Edited: 2021 November 08 [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.