I feel like my health is like a bag of ice that’s been left out to melt. It might hold out for a while, but despite its best efforts, it will melt unless something is done to help it. When I compare my health as I’m writing this, in late January, to months or years back, I wonder to myself – is my health also being left out to melt? Despite everything I do, I melt.
This was going to be more of a physical therapy essay – talking about how I’ve made some progress during my five visits so far, but this progress has been minor, subjective, and not immediately measurable – but I’m exhausted. My physical therapist is good. I feel like after striking out with all of the bad luck I’ve experienced over this entire period, finally, there’s someone that’s willing and able to help – even if it hurts significantly.
When I had better health, I used to write about major events in my life as a way to come to terms with them. Now these events pummel me in waves and the most I can do is manage my pain through a combination of meandering through escapist media and taking pain management medicine that doesn’t even help much. Tomorrow I will go to my fourth physical therapy appointment after surgery and it’s gonna suck.
After my last physical therapy session, I decided to go somewhere else. I wasn’t happy with the physical therapists I had. Sure, my case is complex, but they weren’t giving me effective exercises, and some of the exercises arguably furthered the damage to my spine. The major downside to this new physical therapy office is that it was a 15-minute walk from the parking lot.
I had a nerve test done today, which showed neuropathy in my left leg. It wasn’t entirely conclusive on why I’m still experiencing spine and tailbone pain, but it’s nice having progress. I’m being sent to physical therapy and to a neurologist for a second opinion on what’s going on. I’m in the “I feel like I’m making one step forward and one step backward” stage of the recovery process. At least there’s some progress.
My health has been declining so rapidly over the past week that now any activity at all is painful. Any movement I do other than sitting here, at my writing table watching videos or otherwise trying to distract myself from my physical pain, or laying in bed patiently waiting for sleep to wash over my consciousness, hurts. It even hurts to use the toilet now. I’ll be meeting with the doctor tomorrow. Will that help?
I realized only as I’m writing this essay, December 02 2020, that I’ve been “disabled” since late-April 2020; with air-quotes around “identity” rather than “physicality.” I’ve known about my physicality since April. While I’ve had moments throughout the worse part of the past year where I haven’t felt entirely impaired by my physicality, officially, I’ve been on short-term, then long-term, disability since late-April. It’s only now that I realize that my “identity” officially includes “disability” and that’s fine.
A few hours ago, I woke up from a dream where I found myself slammed against a bathtub face down. I could barely breathe in the dream and in real life. I’m not sure why that happened but it’s been a recurring theme of my general physicality after my spine surgery. After doing two physical examinations with two doctors, my health declined significantly and severely. Now anything could make me sore outside of doing nothing.
When I stood up after writing “Receive Second Opinion?,” my lower body expressed so much pain that I suppose the only real coping mechanism I have other than taking any sort of painkiller is excessive eating. I ate some snacks, I ate a meal unnecessarily, and that calmed me down well enough to sit back down here to write this essay. I wasn’t under any mental duress when I stood up. I can’t imagine exercising…
Last night, I was watching Cody from Pink Gorilla do a few skateboarding tricks on his half-pipe, and although it pains me to consider it this way, the most physicality I can hope for going forward is a pain-free existence. If I am the luckiest human being to have ever lived throughout all of humanity, I might be fortunate enough to partake in certain physical activities like walking more than a mile, but skateboarding? Doubtful.