[Tripping On…] Overcoming Major Pain

If there’s one thing that’s been nice about all this medical situation, it’s the moment when you finally get validation that… oh… wait… you actually are in pain right now. Yesterday, when I found myself in a specialty clinic to address these situations, I realized just where I was when I was signing forms that said that they had the right to kick me out if I was being rude. You know where this’s going.

If you don’t know where this is going, well, enjoy reading the context.

I haven’t really gone many places other than to physical therapy and the grocery store, so this was the first time since COVID-19 shut down basically everything that I’d been anywhere to any significant degree. It was weird driving through rush hour traffic at 8am. I doubted the traffic maps saying that it would take 30 minutes to drive from my residence to a busy part of town. At that time?! On a weekday? No way! I planned for the normal amount of time, given the normal amount of traffic.

I arrived 30 minutes early.

If there’s going to be any good that comes from the pandemic that’s killed so many, [and I fear will kill more as we “return to normal” rather than finding a solution where we can still have an economy with businesses while being not being completely fucking irresponsible,] it’s the reduced traffic. Not because of some terrible joke where the pandemic killed the commuters. Rather, as businesses were forced to overcome their egos and develop work-from-home plans, we don’t need to have everyone commuting to work unnecessarily.

There are reasons for having employees going into work.

There are jobs that can only be done at a specific location. You need to be able to see when your employees are slacking off, or when you can help them. I understand all that. What I don’t understand is the constant distant supervision from insecure managers that don’t really even know what they’re looking for, so they just look for irrelevant statistics that mean nothing, and can’t be used for effective guidelines for employee development – except as development of contempt.

I think most office employees should only be in the office once a week.

There was this notion of an open office style of employee office residency that the myriad management that employed me throughout my career, from full-time employee to contractor, wanted. My first few office jobs had fully separated cube walls. My past few jobs had low walls, no privacy, and high potency for germ introduction. An upper manager once told me that upper management tracked sicknesses and could calculate when groups would get sick based on physical proximity.

We don’t need to return to this.

We could have a compromise of these two environments, easily. The “hotel cube” idea of having a temporary desk to lock up is a decent idea, but it can be made more regular. I’ve seen people share desks over the years and it’s not terribly unsanitary, if done responsibly. I’ve met plenty of remote workers over the years that fly in for quarterly meetings. This can be expanded beyond those unique workers doing unique work that command work-from-home scenarios.

We can do this to help reduce traffic.

Honestly, I scoffed at the notion of buses stating that they only allowed “essential trips only.” Who are you to say whether my trip is essential unless you ask for my specific itinerary? Isn’t that an invasion of privacy? But taken less as a privacy concern and more of a generality, commuting into the office five days a week is non-essential. One day could arguably be essential. Years ago, I had an email contract that was almost completely done remotely, except when we met with our full-time contact that had contracted this company. We met with him fortnightly. We mainly bullshat because we ironed out all the major stuff by email.

What if we had the sort of fortnightly meetings and easier commutes?

I wouldn’t have needed to sit in my car, withering in pain as my spine responded poorly to whatever position I tried to sit in, as I waited for my appointment. I could have been at home, withering in pain, but at least with something to distract myself with – like that whole aside about commuting. Distraction has been the best medicine for me up until the past few weeks. Given sufficient mental stimulus, I can avoid thinking about my physical negative stimulation long enough to wait for that little crack in my spine to happen, relieving just enough tension to debilitate me.

I would like all this to be over with, but it will be a slow path to recovery.

I won’t disclose everything here, but as I sat there looking at the doctor that dressed in a sports blazer rather than a white lab coat, filling out forms talking about urine tests, I realized that I can’t mess this up. Even if the “Gaba” inside me, that negative energy that compels me to do negative things [we all have a Gaba, but that’s mine’s name], wants to overindulge, I have to remain strong. In the next few days, as the treatment options begin, I will be writing as much as I can so I can track my mood and overall well-being.

If I get into any negative mindsets at that point, I need to reach out for help.

I feel confident in my resolve. Even if Gaba might want a beer or a joint, he has historically acted only when exposed to extreme negative events, psychological or physical. When life is doing well, he’s calm. He’s fine. I would almost go so far as to say that he’s my addiction coordinator now, letting me know when I could get potential flair-ups in my irresistance to certain sensations I deem self-destructive. I’m the most excited to get back into better health.

Even if that means sitting in traffic for five days a week unnecessarily.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: I just want to write as much as I can about this phase of my life before I get better.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 June 12 [8:21am to 8:52am]
Last Edited: 2020 June 12 [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.