[Tripping On…] Being More Active

Through my months of daily spine pain, surgery, and my spine doctor’s orders to not sit for more than 30 minutes, because my tailbone was getting sore, it’s been a major adjustment. I didn’t realize how much I sit until having a 30-minute timer go off ‘so frequently’ while I’m at my sitting writing desk and waiting for x-rays today. By the time I got x-rays, I was sitting for 45 grueling minutes and was physically exhausted.

I think that x-ray waiting exhaustion was because I was out in public.

At home, it’s easier to go at one’s own pace. It’s not exactly performance anxiety as much as having put in all of the effort to put on my outdoor clothes, put on my shoes, walk down the stairs, get into the car, ride to the appointment, stand, sit, stand after filling out the paperwork to turn it back in, sit again, wait. I could care less what people around me think as I use my canes to stand. If anything, I should have been more cognizant of my 30-minute sitting limits. I tried to move my feet to prevent them from going numb, at least, but by the time I was called in, asked to stand in certain directions, accidentally had my wound touched through my shirt by the x-ray technician, I was out of energy. I couldn’t lift my arms up all the way so they could do a lung x-ray based on my right side pain.

I got home exhausted and nearly needed to sleep for days.

Having a 30-minute timer go off at home is much easier for me. I can plan my activities around that timer. In my last sitting session, I prepped a more complex essay that I’ll be working on soon. While I stood for a few minutes, where I mainly cleaned my kitchen by throwing out some past-expiration spices, and cleaning my oven, I thought about how I am being more physically active now than before talking with the doctor, receiving the 30-minute sitting restriction, or before the surgery. The big unknown is how my spine regressed as quickly as it did. I don’t think it was caused by sitting here at my writing desk. If there is any percentage of a chance it could be related, well, setting a timer for myself to go off every 30 minutes will be effective for me to stand up, and if I’m not in the middle of something, walking around the apartment-mansion for a minute or five, should help.

It’s just before, despite knowing about imbibition, that was more painful than sitting.

Now, I am trying to moderate my intake of oxycodone so it is not a crutch for me, but I had to take one earlier because the pain in my spine persisted past the x-ray appointment, shower, and nap, being overwhelming enough to make me miserable. I’m used to being mentally miserable, but adding in physical miserableness into that equation becomes too overwhelming. I’ve been needing to take fewer of the post-surgery painkiller each week, on average, so I’m doing what I can to prevent myself from fully getting addicted to them. Not that such a low dose at 10 milligrams does anything other than kick out the worst of the physical pain, and fortunately for me, I know enough about my addictions to know that what I’m addicted to is reducing mental pain.

How am I reducing the mental pain of this situation?

Primarily through writing about my experiences, but secondarily through being more leisurely with my time. I am not in a big hurry anymore. I can’t physically be in a big hurry, but if I can do simple tasks like reducing the number of expired spices in my kitchen, cleaning off the counters, or whatever else might pile-up in a busy life full of vocational and avocational activities, then I’m getting up, moving the muscles that need moving, while also not overdoing it. When I return to physical exercise, which at the earliest will be in about 3 weeks after meeting with my current spine doctor once more before he retires, it will need to be at a slow pace like what I’m doing now. I have a 15-pound “weight” lifting restriction, but I currently only feel confident with objects weighing no more than 5 pounds.

Still, I can do what I can with what energy I have throughout the day.

I think I might have walked around to too many stores over the past week, which caught up to me with my current condition. If the x-rays don’t show anything significant, which was weird because I had noticed that my lung capacity felt weaker as I went on, then it could just be that my recovery time in certain areas is taking longer than others. Although my spine surgery wound is healing up well, where I’m only having minor drainage 18 days after surgery that can be dabbed up with a paper towel, and I am air drying the wound as I can, other areas might be dragging along as I recover.

That’s my secondary reason for reducing my intake of painkillers.

Besides being an ample time to gain a new addiction, pain is a useful diagnostic tool. My timer goes off in about 3 minutes, but my tailbone feels numb now, so I’ll save the essay here and return after I walk around. Walking around helped a little. I had some drainage leak onto the paper towel I have between my waistband and my shirt during the 30 minutes I sat here, so it was good to replace that. I thought some more about whether sitting here might have caused any problems to my spine. Even though walking to my bathroom and back helped, I wouldn’t say that sitting excessively was the major cause, and I did do what I could to walk around as I could. I do think I will try this 30-minute timer more.

If only as an extension of the 20-20-20 Eyestrain Rule.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I thought of the title while walking around my apartment a bit. I wanted to write about the x-ray stuff and all that to capture all the errant details of my recovery into a comprehensive series of essays. The 20-20-20 Eyestrain Rule is basically every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. At work, this is a sinful rule, because those 20 seconds are lost revenue, but what I’m trying to implement is something closer to a 30-15-3 rule, where every 30 minutes, I’ll walk about 15 feet for 3 minutes, or something like that.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 September 17 [8:53pm to “so I’ll save the essay here and return after I walk around” at 9:19pm, then from 9:36pm to 9:40pm]
Last Edited: 2020 September 17 [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.