My difference between a good doctor and a bad doctor the answer this question: Do they seem like they want to help? Throughout this journey I’ve experienced and shared with you all, I’ve encountered many doctors that actively or passively express disinterest in assisting me. While being legally required to assist, they don’t make me feel like they want to do anything other than blocking any questions to shuttle me away to the next patient.
Turns out that a post-surgery wound, specifically for my spine surgery, shouldn’t drain serum for five weeks. My retiring spine doctor was surprised. He wrote this prescription for a 10-day supply of Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim. I brought the prescription to my pharmacy, they read this note, and said, “sure, we have this. It’ll be ready in a spell. Give it 20.” It’s a curious thing to consider how something like some serum ooze could be normalized.
My tailbone hurt so much that it took about two hours for me to go to bed. I was too tired to get up and I’d already taken a painkiller earlier. Suffering through that pain was useful since I can better quantify how much of an impact on my life this post-surgery tailbone pain causes. I wasn’t alone in my suffering. My downstairs neighbor has been sick in bed probably, coughing intermittently, for days now.
It’s been five weeks since my spine surgery. I didn’t write about my healing process as a weekly update for the first few weeks because I was writing about the process daily. If there’s any change from Week 4 to Week 5, it’s that now I’m starting to feel a restoration of my physicality on a general scale. There are still many specifics that don’t feel right. My tailbone constantly hurts. But other things are recovering nicely.
I still have to remind myself near-daily that I have to work within my means. As I approach my fifth week since having spine surgery, I am finally starting to feel “normal,” if you will, which my current normal is not feeling nearly incapacitated due to physical constraints. I’m not at the point where I could feasibly run errands – I can barely walk them – so it’s a challenge for me to take life somewhat easier.
For the first time in my life, I’m starting to feel the limitations of my physicality. When I weighed my heaviest and was in my worst physical shape, twice, I knew both times that I had the potential to regain my health through the steady application of constant effort. My route to recovery for my physicality now is almost the inverse. I must be patient with myself and do less now to do more later.
I slowly walked up the ramp to the post office with my two canes to collect a package. Someone held the door open and asked:
“Just getting back on your feet?”
“Well, keep on walking! Every day!”
It’s been nice and encouraging that strangers, even during a pandemic, have been offering to help open or hold doors for me. Another stranger did the same thing the last time I went to the post office.
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.
It’s been frustrating to me that my progression hasn’t been smoother. It’s unfortunate that I haven’t been able to recover my health as quickly as I would have wanted. That’s when I have to remember that like any success story in life, it’s not a linear course. There will be bends in the road, ups, downs, and as I wrote in a recent review, “I would say that success is a matter of repeatedly failing.”
If there’s one guarantee for problems you’ll face if you need to use the health insurance your employer provides to you, it’s the random phone calls from these companies that want to talk with you for hours. I received one such call today. I was told, “this call may take up to one hour.” At least I was asked if it was a good time. There’s never a good time for a call that long!