[Rowing Machine] 2021: Week 19 {223.0} “Restoration Isn’t Linear”

I had my two spinal injections seven days ago, as of this writing, and I am feeling much better. I have been in significantly less pain, and have significantly more mobility, but the pain is still there and over the past few days it’s still been debilitating. I was able to go out the past two days to take care of some errands, but today, I wasn’t well enough to do that – still, I’m progressing.

If my health continues in the direction it’s going now, I’m optimistic.

When I move around, I still hear the cracks of my spine aching, but they’re less painful and overall I can lie down in bed and wait for the worst of the pains to subside. Since my injection, I have been taking far fewer pain management medication, so that’s an objective number that can be used to say that my pain is decreased. While that number is still not 0, it’s still better than before. Let’s say I took 1 or 2 when I needed it, or if I didn’t then my day would be consumed with fatigue, I might only need to take 1 or if I am careful with my physicality and don’t overdo it, I might not even need to take any at all. It is still too early before I can say I won’t need to take any at all – that day comes after I complete my program estimated for the month of June, where I will meet with doctors of various discipline to treat my pain from multiple medical perspectives – but I’m feeling much more confident now about my health situation than I was eight days ago.

This optimism, however, is not something to be seduced by.

If there is anything I would like to start doing each day, it’s doing a little bit to clear out the apartment-mansion in various ways, whether it’s cleaning out areas, donating a box or two of insignificant weight, or condensing/organizing materials. I have a spot in mind for where I would like to set up my home gym, and I imagine that as part of this program, they would like me to do exercises at home. I have an area where I can do some exercises now, if I were asked to today, but the space is too cluttered at the moment for me to use the space well. Although I seemingly spent the past near-year unable to do much of anything regarding physically downsizing, I have mentally come to terms with many of the addictive behaviors that I express consciously or subconsciously. It’s still far too easy for me to say ‘well, I feel well right now, so I want to do a lot right now,’ but the fact is, there are some days where I am barely able to get out of bed, and other days where I can get out of bed and walk around without my cane.

So the idea of clearing out square feet of stuff is still weeks or months ahead.

Still, having those ambitions are nice to consider, because that can inspire me in certain directions. I can look at the many empty boxes I have stored up and finally decide what to do with some of them. Many of them I saved to place objects into that I’d like to donate. While I can’t do many things, I can begin the process of walking around the apartment-mansion without relying on my cane now, so, I can work toward the ability to move objects around, into boxes, and bring them down to my car. I currently need crutches when I need to go out anywhere. It might be nice to challenge myself to only bring my cane, perhaps along with a bag of things to donate, and then once my trunk is full make a thrift store drop-off? I don’t feel confident that I can do that in the next week, but, who knows about after that? The last thing I want to do is chance things, to move too quickly and to have my spine hurt as it did even one week ago, but I think there are some things that I can do within my current physical limitations.

I went out onto my balcony for the first time in months a few days ago.

The weather was nice, but I noticed something about the broom I have stored out there – it was significantly heavier than I remember it. My muscles have been so weakened by my physical health, and any attempts to fix that through physical therapy just worsened my pain and decreased my health, that the broom was perhaps tenfold heavier than when I last moved it. So on days like today, I need to focus on rest, but on days like tomorrow or the next where I might feel ambitious enough to go out somewhere, I might try to see what I can do to increase my muscle strength and mobility. I have been practicing walking from the kitchen to the restroom without my cane as a way to coach my muscles, but it will still take time.

I’ll continue doing this, and doing minor tasks, but I’ll make sure not to overdo it.

I find that if I stand for more than 30 minutes, as I did while working on a crafts project, I had to lie down for more hours of the day than I might have otherwise, but, that was a good metric for me. Standing might be something I won’t be able to do for a while still, but I can at least walk around politely, and once I can more reliably do this, then perhaps I can pick up some of the many projects that I had to place on hold because of my spine health. It would be nice, for example, to have a place dedicated to stretches and gentle movement that is also not “in the way.”

But, it’s nicer feeling like I can do these things again.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 223.0
Last week’s weight: 220.0
Weight Difference: One pound up.
Difference between writing and editing for publication: It’s a shame that the injections would only last for another week before suddenly my health was worse. The injections wore off but the pain returned not because of some kind of magic spell. Rather, the muscles in my body, specifically my back but also my legs, had become so weak due to months of pain that when the medication wore off, it was like all those muscles had been abused but my pain sensors were off. Chiropractic work has since removed some of the inflammation, but, it’s a long road to recovery. I should note that the stupid doctor wanted to do the same thing – more injections – even though it didn’t work the first time around, and as we’ll see in upcoming essays, he’ll want to peddle antidepressants to fix the inflammation in my spine. When I think of dystopias, I don’t think of the American Healthcare System. Or rather, I didn’t.
Inspirations: Writing about my experiences dealing with chronic pain.
Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Pictures: Template
Written On: 2021 April 02 [9:34pm to 9:58pm]
Last Edited: 2021 April 02 [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.