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.
If I knew where my health would end up in December when we began 2020, well, it would be tragic. There’s nothing I could have done differently to cause my health to improve throughout 2020. I put in all of the efforts I could to fight for myself. When my spine started hurting as badly as it did in April, little would I know that despite all my best efforts, it would be hurting worse in December.
After noticing my stomach was larger, I weighed myself roughly halfway before my weekly weigh-in only to find that I near put on ten pounds. A pound or two here and there is nothing to be concerned with but that degree of weight increase over that short of a period of time means something’s wrong. I realized I could return to drinking a gallon of water per day. How can I easily measure that amount?
From mid-April when my spine started to hurt until mid-October, I had my new rowing machine taking up most of my dining room. I think I always had wanted to use it throughout the entire process. Asking to have it folded up would have been like letting my spine defeat me, I must have thought, but I’ve become honest with myself, accepting it might still be a few more months before I can row again…
Yesterday, I went to the thrift store and the supermarket. I had the physicality to push a shopping cart and walk around slowly as I looked at various items. Today, I woke up to a headache with lower back pain, including my tailbone. Was the adventure worth the pain I experienced there, and would I do it again? I suppose in some sense, it was good to see where my physicality is at right now.
Although meeting with my spine doctor yesterday, two weeks before he retires, didn’t seemly resolve my hurting tailbone issue, it did introduce a logical solution. I predicted this. He’s retiring and didn’t study my medical records because he was merely assessing my current condition and advising before retiring. He recommended that I talk to my pain management doctor and if my spine had problems… unfortunately… the old spine doctor. It’s been exhausting working through this.