[Rowing Machine] 2021: Week 24 {227.5} “Malcolm X Comparison”

I had my two-week, six-appointment review at the chiropractor today, and as will happen invariably for chronic pain patients if you tell a doctor that you’re feeling less pain and increased mobility, they might accidentally forget the third part – “going too far will cause my body to snap back, like a rubber band” – and after I was done, my pain had increased, my mobility decreased, and my overall physicality snapped back some units of progress.

This may seem like a scathing criticism, and it’s likely a yellow flag.

I’ve seen so many red flags over the past year that I’m almost jaded to the idea of doctors being “good” anymore. It’s more a matter of how many interactions will I have until I have a negative experience. I don’t think it’s because I told him, after being prompted for what media I watch, “no movies, no TV shows, I read,” then later on, what am I reading?, “the Autobiography of Malcolm X,” which I said while getting the deep tissue massage that is a majority of my chiropractic work. While he, as a white doctor, was moving out the inflammation from my muscles, between asking what I was watching and then what I was reading, I thought: ‘should I tell him that I’m reading such a thing?’

I did.

If my livestreams have anything to show for what I do, a lot of my writing, talking, and thinking has this sort of premeditated stream-of-consciousness. I’ll come up with a premise, or I’ll decide what I want to talk about, then I’ll jam. I’ll say/write most of it subconsciously, but I can go back and edit it here, which helps me speak better. I still make mistakes, but there are fewer spoken mistakes compared to almost five years ago when I first started this journey that is now approaching two million words. I did the counts recently. Throughout this five-year journey, I’ve learned more about my relationship to others more than I have about literature, which is to say, when I read something I can quickly relate it to others.

Chiropractic work is like reading about racism.

Ideally, our muscles should be finely tuned, just like ideally there would be no racism. Since our muscles get tense under pressure, stress, neglect, or pain, we have to do the painful exercises to release that tension. So, too, we should not hide from racism either when it happens or later on. We can notice when we have our conscious or subconscious thoughts relating to racism, or other -isms or -ist behavior as they relate to other social issues, but our processes of working through them should be our own internal journeys.

I told the chiropractor that reading that book is painful.

But by exposing myself to that pain and knowing for myself that it is not good, I can work through it. Does that mean I had internalized racism in me before I started reading and even now? I decline to answer that indirectly – I think we can all become better people. The most we can do is work out the inflammation in our minds, bodies, and hearts. We can read things in literature that make us wince, we can think about misguided attitudes we accidentally did, we can think about what we’ve purposefully done, and we can say to ourselves, what we should say: this wasn’t a good thing. It was done with good intentions, but that doesn’t excuse the behavior. If there needs to be forgiveness, that needs to happen after things are better. If we see the behavior is fixed, and no longer inflamed, then, yes, we can forgive; if not, there is no room for forgiveness.

I didn’t say all of this, but the analogy was fun to run with.

The problem with the appointment was that, as the doctor told me, he couldn’t even move my legs into the positions he would want me to move into to give the sort of objective clinical standards for, I don’t know, maybe how people should be for mobility? If this means I’ll be forever physically disabled, forever unable to have the mobility to do Crossfit or whatever, then so be it. I would prefer limited mobility and limited pain to increased mobility and increased pain. I was in a lot of pain throughout the appointment. When I left, I had the full day ahead of me, but my body couldn’t appreciate the weather that was clearing up from a dreary overcast Spring day, my mind couldn’t handle the idea of going to a supermarket to pick up groceries, and I could barely muster the strength to drive home.

I went home, slept, and regressed days of progress in recovery.

Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to insinuate that my having brought up the book was the reason why – I don’t believe in coincidences being anything more than that – so it’s just more of a helpful anecdote to compare how reading something like that is painful, having chiropractic work done is painful, but only through overcoming pain can we gain ourselves. Most of today, I debated between dipping into the stigmatized pain management medication I was prescribed. Had I been prescribed chiropractic work instead, I would have been months along. Instead, I’m writing this in May 2021 – some of these muscles have been inflamed either from my August 2021 surgery, or, since my leave-of-absence in April 2020.

My life has possibly been forever altered because of all of this.

The doctors that treated me, abandoned me, or neglected me are still seeing patients today. Only one has retired, per my knowledge. Getting them fired would do nothing to stop the systematic misbehavior of these doctors. They need to know the pain, first-hand, because, otherwise, they do what they did to me – treat me not as a human being or patient, but as a paycheck to collect from my insurance company and me.

I feel like I can recover, but it’s a slow road.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 227.5
Last week’s weight: 227.5
Weight Difference: None
Difference between writing and editing for publication: Well, no more chiropractic appointments for me, and yet, I’m not doing much better. There is no happier update for this.
Inspirations: Takes like these might be controversial. I don’t mean to diminish the experiences that Malcolm X had, actually quite the opposite – my limited experiences with inequality when it comes to my hopefully-temporary disability can help me empathize significantly more with racism, other -isms, and -ist attitudes more than when I perhaps wanted to hide from it, ignore it, or not figure out the best way to address it.
Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Pictures: Template
Written On: 2021 May 07 [10:40pm to 11:07pm]
Last Edited: 2021 May 07 [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.