[Rowing Machine] 2021: Week 09 {214.5} “Melting Ice Health”

I feel like my health is like a bag of ice that’s been left out to melt. It might hold out for a while, but despite its best efforts, it will melt unless something is done to help it. When I compare my health as I’m writing this, in late January, to months or years back, I wonder to myself – is my health also being left out to melt? Despite everything I do, I melt.

I don’t think I’ll get any better.

My left toe started to become numb about two days ago. It feels like once when I was a kid when I put some tightly-wound roll over my big toe and the circulation started to fade slightly. The toe felt numb and weird until I removed that roll. A few days ago, between today and when I had my previous physical therapy session, my spine cracked four times as I was in bed. Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack. Over the years, whenever that happened, it was always a good feeling since the air pockets released, as I understand the effect to be, but now it’s painful. When I move around at the slow pace I do, especially if I’m standing to do things like make coffee or grab food, my legs are starting to give out. Eventually I will fall over and there will be nothing I can do.

Is this what the American Healthcare System demands of me?

Is this my fate? Despite the scores of doctors I’ve seen, despite how many charts they tell me say that “everything’s normal,” as I talked about on one of my livestreams, how can these doctors look at me, look me in the eye, and tell me that “everything’s normal” without being the biggest fucking liars on the planet? I don’t think I’ll ever be able to row again. I don’t think I’ll be able to run, either, or even walk at a good pace again. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do much of the physical things that I used to enjoy doing – either as in enjoying the physical act of doing them or the result for having done them – and I now believe I’ll never be able to do what prompted this weekly fitness column in the first place. How can I climb up a few rungs of a ladder to get “the shot” of something if I can’t even grab the pain management medicine that barely works from my cupboard where I keep it and the other medicine that also barely works?

I threw out the 8-pound bag of ice that was in my freezer for 6+ months.

In that respect, maybe my spine is better because before I could do it but it was painful. It was still painful now, but now the pain is more of a general overall life pain. Everything hurts and yet I can’t pass out from the pain and wake up two hours later feeling somewhat better. Now my body becomes more and more frozen, less and less able to move around than it was in previous weeks. Whenever I attempt to tell doctors about this, to say, hey, this is concerning to me, they’re too busy. The pain management doctor I met with almost one week ago barely had more than 10 minutes to spare for me, and I had even arrived almost 15 minutes early to make sure I filled out paperwork for his office. Sure, he runs a business, and sure that business involves processing the paperwork, but I didn’t even get the time to ask him about things that I could do to manage my pain.

He told me that I should go back to work.

My body is so numb on some days, like today or two days ago, where my hands shake or parts of my arms or body stop working for multiple hours. If I sit here, at my writing desk, and focus on something else – take my mind off the pain – generally, I can push through it well enough, but otherwise, there’s no real relief. It’s almost a joke that they ask me to rate the pain on a scale of 0 to 10. The pain has been so severe for so long, for so many months, that the scale keeps moving up. When I went to the Emergency Room back in July 2020 because I was in the worst pain I could ever have imagined, well, it would be nice to have that pain as a relief now. I could still, then, walk without cane. I could still move around. It hurt, yes, but it still hurts now.

The only difference between then and now is that my health is melting.

Before my spine issues, my life was overall like a bag of ice that you might buy at a grocery store or gas station. The bag I put in the bathtub, because I don’t really have a use for it and I’d rather start the process of eating the food that will expire soon as I start to see my refrigerator and pantry empty since I can’t exactly go grocery shopping – I can barely go to the pharmacy to pick up medicine or drive to doctors’s appointments, was fully stuffed with ice and measured at 8 pounds. When I put it in the bathtub, my whole left side was overburned from that work and I had to lay down. I guess it was about one hour of being mostly frozen in my bed, unable to rest my body or mind.

When I looked at that ice bag, it had about half-melted.

Even if I put that bag of ice back in the freezer, it would only be 4 pounds of ice. All of that ice won’t reform. Is that what will happen to my body? My body has become decrepit through the abuse it has received from the pain that I try my best to manage but fail to solve.

I don’t want to melt, American Healthcare System.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 214.5
Last week’s weight: 217.0
Weight Difference: That extra weight was just me having some extra food.
Difference between writing and editing for publication: Pretty much the same boat. I later met with a new spine doctor and talked with my PCP, and will be following up with my spine doctor again soon.
Inspirations: Writing about my life.
Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Pictures: Template
Written On: 2021 January 24 [11pm to 11:21pm]
Last Edited: 2021 January 24 [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.