[Tripping On…] Supermarket Or Saturn?

A trip to the supermarket for me currently would be like a trip to the planet Saturn for you. That might be overly hyperbolic, so let’s say it would be like if you needed to drive ten hours away when you’re really only used to driving maybe fifteen-minute trips to the supermarket. Each day I decide not to go somewhere, it’s because I don’t have enough gas in the tank. I couldn’t drive to Saturn.

How long until I can drive to the metaphorical Saturn?

To me, that’s the idea of doing all the errands I want to do. I currently have to go to the bank to deposit a check and would like to pick up a package from the post office, among other things. Today is a nice day. It’s not cold, raining out, or particularly miserable. In a more ideal physicality, I would do both of those errands inconsequentially. Maybe you would do those errands as an inconsequential part of your day as well? For me, though, it is that ten-hour drive to wherever or that interplanetary trip to Saturn.

Without the Spoon theory as an explanation, it might seem weird how fatigued I am.

My body is still processing the pain from the spine surgery I had over one month ago. While it would be nice to have the surgery and bounce back immediately, I’m still encountering problems that are making the healing process seem frustratingly long and difficult. Why can’t I return to doing all the things I could have done earlier this year? Why can’t I return to running errands or doing those metaphorical ten-hour trips? I had surgery. Shouldn’t that have fixed a majority of the issues? Well, it did.

Now I’m just learning to deal with the issues that remain.

I’ve done my best to adapt myself to my current condition. I don’t push myself too much. I’m sleeping more often. In some way, it’s easier for my body to expend less effort on things like writing, talking, or living in the real world compared to resting and letting my body do its thing to repair the physical damage of surgery and the return to some degree of normal living. I miss being able to do much of anything. I have this insatiable urge to wrap up this essay, throw out my recycling, and pick up that package. Were my health in the condition it was in earlier this year, that would have been more than possible. I could go do that without breaking a sweat.

Now, a trip like that might exhaust me for days.

I thought about reaching out to my spine doctor’s office assistant to ask for advice on this matter, but then I figured, no. I need to be the patient patient that will bring up all of his questions in a clearly-designed document at my next appointment. I have that time to spend with the doctor to review my health and assess how I can return to those metaphorical ten-hour drives or trips to Saturn. I could ask today, but what would the answer be? Wait until the appointment, most likely.

Instead, I’ll focus on writing as many questions as I can in regards to my health.

I will, again, ask questions about what particular areas of the spine I had surgery on, and more details. I will also ask about physical therapy. If he approves me to go, then I would need guidelines on what to do and what not to do. I am currently not approved, for example, to bend or twist my body, which would have accounted for 90% of the physical therapy I would have done before. Part of these questions is proactive research. Even the most trustworthy doctor is still, despite our inclinations to disagree with this fact, a human. Humans make mistakes and are subject to bias. Maybe this doctor, who will be retiring shortly after our meeting next week, has not dealt with someone so young requiring this surgery?

I should, therefore, tailor my doctoral experience to match my needs.

What if a majority of his patients don’t want to return to being able to take metaphorical trips to Saturn? If his patients are older, maybe they’ve already given up on that opportunity? Maybe they’re willing to accept that they can really only metaphorically travel to the Moon? My expectations are high because I have plenty that I still want to be physically capable of doing in the life ahead of me. The errands I listed above should be as inconsequential for me as they might seem to you, if you’re reading this as someone that is not currently experiencing any long-term spine problems. If you are, then I hope that by writing about my health experiences as openly and honestly as I am, you won’t feel as alone in this process.

I feel close to having the confidence to walk my errands either today or tomorrow.

My comfortable threshold on most days is walking around the apartment-mansion. If I can walk around here without using both or one of my canes, then that’s a good sign that my physicality is in good shape. I would be having a “good spine day.” On such days, I could go down the stairs to throw out my recycling. I think that will be a good plan for me to start with today, after publishing this essay. If I can do that, without feeling sore, how far can I push myself before I enter that pre-threshold stage where I’m not quite reaching my limit? Maybe I could drive to the post office and walk there at a slow pace to retrieve my package? In the pains of recovery, we have the luxury of time. I don’t need to be on anyone else’s schedule. If I am, then that could cause setbacks in the recovery time by hurting myself.

As long as I don’t run these errands – better to walk them – I should be fine.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I brought this up in conversation regarding my general health today and I liked the analogy.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 October 01 [1:13pm to 1:37pm]
Last Edited: 2020 October 01 [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.