[Tripping On…] 100% By January?

My meeting with the new spine doctor today was positive overall. I didn’t make any pain management progress today, but he wants to take some time to review my charts after meeting with me today, and he wrote a note stating: “This letter is written to confirm that for medical reasons you may return to work without any special restrictions on January 4, 2021, but no earlier.[1]” I’m not sure how he intends to make that happen…

Will I be able to work by this essay’s publication?

I’ve been in severe back pain for so long, and I will have been on disability for five months shy of a year by this point that even if I were the most optimistic, I’m not sure how he intends to fix my spine problems in less than seven weeks. I will say, though, that I do feel better about his approach compared to the sports medicine doctor. The sports medicine doctor almost refused to take ownership of the situation, wanting to deflect the problem over to the spine – and by “spine,” I mean he’s a spine surgeon – doctor, here, so maybe it does make sense that this would be a spine surgeon’s issue rather than a sports medicine doctor’s issue.

After all, if I’m not cleared for physical therapy, how can I do… sports?

I don’t quite enjoy these meet-and-greet appointments that doctors seem to like doing. They could do this in order to meet the patient before doing their research, but to me, it feels mainly like a waste of time. Here, though, there were some positive aspects to the meet-and-greet. Although he initially refused to hear other doctors’s research, since he wanted to independently figure out things on his own, I told him that the sports medicine doctor had considered ordering me a MRI, but I said that they didn’t order the MRI.

It turns out it’s good that the sports medicine doctor didn’t order the MRI.

If the sports medicine doctor had ordered the MRI, it would have been from the same place that I’ve gone to before, where the technician doesn’t have good customer service skills. Instead, I’ll be getting a MRI from the actual spine surgeon’s office. That does mean a further commute in order for me to go, but the benefit is that they’ll be doing a more detailed job, apparently, so they can figure out whatever is going wrong with my spine.

The next follow-up is a phone call this Saturday morning.

The doctor will be driving and says that he wants to talk with me at length about my pains, since he says the pain can help identify what issue or issues are happening to me. I suppose that’s the best way to determine a fix for me, since otherwise, I’ll be stuck managing my pain without any sort of relief. I had to take an Oxycodone when I got home, because the pain from going outside my apartment even at the slowest possible pace has been too severe for me to handle otherwise. That’s why I’m a bit concerned that this doctor thinks he’ll have my spine fixed in such a short amount of time.

But here’s the thing too… this spine issue has become part of my identity.

It’s reasonable here since I can’t identify as a physically fit individual at this time, but this also means that there will be an identity transition as I go from the person that’s had to deal with spinal problems since late-April of 2020 into this new person that won’t have daily, debilitating and frankly oppressive pain in whatever-time of 2020 or 2021. I am looking forward to having the physical strength and pain-free lifestyle to be able to return to work, but I am, understandably, skeptical that there will be a magic fix.

The most I can hope for, however, is progress.

Maybe I’ll still be in some pain by this essay’s publication, but at least it won’t be so severe that I have trouble getting out of bed or walking to go get food or use the toilet hurts so badly that it becomes a gamble over whether I should go or wait. About a month ago, before going to the pain management doctor and the sports medicine doctor with their painful physical examinations, I did feel like I was making progress toward better health. It was enjoyable reorganizing things around my apartment. I even have 25 in-progress photos from a project I worked on where I reorganized a part of my kitchen for cleanliness and to make the space more efficient.

Maybe I should use those photos to write some essays as part of my recovery process.

Right now, I’m focused on maintaining a daily sanity that lets me keep looking forward to the days when I feel well enough to further clean up around the apartment mansion, let alone donate some things to clear up more space, possibly even sell other things, and possibly even return to work without any restrictions. It’s been a frustrating situation for me. The doctor admits that this is a complex case, but that he’s confident that he can help me out does inspire some confidence in me too. I can’t let that influence me too much, however, because it can easily lead to problems as I might feel overly confident or he might break my confidence.

It’s reasonable to be skeptical as it’s reasonable to be optimistic.

Between the phone call on Saturday, the upcoming MRI – they have to get it approved by my insurance company – and a meeting next month, things do seem to be on the up-and-up. I’m not sure if I should keep the sports medicine doctor’s appointment since, by comparison, he wasn’t as optimistic about helping me feel better and he was as distanced as possible about me getting a MRI. He said nothing actionable about who would order it, just that, perhaps, maybe, someone ordering a MRI could be good…

Wouldn’t hurt worse to go back…

Quotes: [1] Quoting the note.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: This is partially a daily diary of how my life’s been going now, but that’s a good way to document my recovery process.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 November 18 [10:49pm to 11:18pm]
Last Edited: 2020 November 18 [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.