As much as my mind is ready to return to life before my spine problems, my body is not… quite. I made some progress in rearranging some of the things around the apartment-mansion and I have a box weighing probably less than five pounds ready to go to the thrift store, and yet, I don’t have the physical strength to go walk around that store. Maybe I could in another week? Maybe if I’m careful?
They are, of course, there for me to get to the point where I can get out and move around, and they aren’t overly effective in areas they shouldn’t. The ten-milligram prescription of Oxycodone, for me, knocks off enough of the physical pain so that I – within the first week of surgery – was able to go walk around to various stores. It was only after I stopped taking these that it became clear that I wasn’t in the physical shape to be doing that. It seemed like a good idea at the time and I enjoyed myself.
I don’t think getting out like that severely interrupted the recovery time.
It probably wasn’t the smartest idea to go riding around, getting and out of a car that was driven for me, when I should have, instead, been staying at home and not moving much at all. I had no clear directive on what I should do and when I was taking painkillers, I was able to get around while being in enough pain to where it seemed like I had immediately snapped back to the health I had back before my spine’s health declined to the point it did. I’ve asked my doctors and they don’t seem to have a clear answer, either, so that I’m writing this essay as I am is my mind’s way of making sense of the past through the perspective of the present.
It’s easy to judge the past like that.
If I can’t go to a thrift store for a few more days isn’t going to be a substantial problem for me. I’m not moving out anytime soon, so I don’t need the space. All it will do is clear out some of the boxes and possessions I know I don’t want to keep. If I put this box in the trunk of my car, even if it sat there for a week or more, I could start a new box to bring along to a thrift store when I’m ready to go on a longer hike, rather than just to collect my mail or to walk for a few minutes at a slow pace.
That’s the way I should focus my physicality.
Rather than wanting to do as much as I once was able to do, or ideally would like to do, I should assess the present at its perspective. My current physical health has the limit of walking probably to the front of the store and back. Last week, when I went to a supermarket in about the same level of health, I made it to the cereal aisle before my spine started to hurt past the point of knowing I could recover without any significant pain. I imagine with a bit more time I could probably make it to the cereal aisle without my spine hurting, and maybe eventually, I’ll only have bad spine days or moments once every few months?
These are reasonable aspirations; what isn’t is demanding more of myself than I can do.
There is a mentality within the communities of ambitious people I used to respect that you should push yourself to your limit. I still do what I can to work toward my limit, but I don’t think anyone should live within that “limit” because it’s so easy to go over and hurt yourself. So if I feel like the most I can do is walk a few hundred feet, then that’s “my limit,” and I have no business in trying to go a few hundred feet plus one foot. I tried the idea of walking, say, one hundred feet per day, but the way I’m healing, it seems like the fastest route to physical recovery is through rest with light physical activity – walking around the apartment-mansion at a slow pace or moving around some objects of inconsequential weight – rather than any sort of plan of doing more rigorous activity along with painkiller consumption.
I would need those, after all, when I accidentally go over my physical limit.
The addictiveness of painkillers is not something I take lightly, too, so I’d rather not take more than necessary. If my body is aching, then I’ll do what I can to fix it myself. If I can’t fix it and it persists intolerably, then that’s a valid reason to take one. If I were to, say, donate this box then go walk around inside the thrift store, ideally, I shouldn’t go to the point where I would need to take a painkiller. If I go to the point where I’m sore, then that might be OK, but it’s so easy to take that extra step from one’s comfortable threshold to the point where they hurt. My current limit could be the cereal aisle of the supermarket or the book aisle of the thrift store.
There’s no gauge for my health like in a videogame, so I have to use my best judgment.
While I’ve received good general advisement from my current spine doctor, these are the particulars that are specific to post-spine surgery but are also applicable to general health as well. If one trains their body to the point of exhaustion, they’re less likely to train the next day. They’d need a rest day or four. My doctor hasn’t approved me doing physical therapy or exercise yet, so I have to figure out how much walking I do before it turns into exercise.
Depending on how I wake up tomorrow, I might be ready.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: A part-two to “Ready To Go” from a different perspective. It’s funny that I did take the time to write this essay when I could have went to bed sooner, but I did that yesterday, and because I went to bed too soon, I couldn’t sleep. I feel sufficiently tired now, but I haven’t pushed myself. These are the balances we as over-productive or overly-ambitious or ambitious people deal with frequently.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2020 September 28 [10:41pm to 11:09pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 September 28 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|