There is a pain that has lingered for days now. It is on the left side of my back, a few inches up from the opposite side of my belly button, and when the physical therapist, “Doctor-Number-Fourteen,” massaged that particular area, he saw what appeared to be a cyst. He reasoned that it was probably closer to a muscular-skeletal issue, however, it was a possible cause for the issues I’m encountering, preventing me from rowing.
While I don’t want to start off by asking something aggressive like “how’re your New Year’s Resolutions going?,” we should always continually check in with ourselves to see how we’re progressing toward our goals. In terms of fitness, I could be doing better, but I could be doing significantly worse, too, so I’d say, overall I’m optimistic. My main goal has been to burn off weight, which I’m doing. My secondary goal is rowing better…
I’m in a conundrum. My physicality has been so negatively afflicted by stress that my body cannot move in certain positions without hurting. I can’t do many of the stretches I could months ago. The physical therapy I’ve been prescribed is helping with my flexibility, which is helping, but it’s also hurting. One hour of stretches with a trained physical therapist can lead to days of immobility and pain. What to do, what to do…
How can I level up my fitness? Let’s look at how I’ve done so since I started writing about fitness over three years ago, starting with what’s helped me the most: counting calories. For the first two years, I didn’t count my calories, but I was active enough and restrictive enough of my diet to not frequently binge-eat. Now, I use a calorie counter to balance my consumption of nutrients and predict my energy levels.
I haven’t rowed in eleven days. Until today*, my lower spine has been unreliable with not reacting in pain to any major movements. I often woke up sore or hurting. Sometimes, I woke up, then went back to bed. I haven’t even been able to call up my physical therapist’s office to schedule an appointment. I believe I have twelve appointments for this new symptom, but only now am I feeling like acting on it.
I met with Doctor-Number-Thirteen and Doctor-Number-Nine without physically meeting them. With current events interrupting normalcy, perhaps even ravaging traditional society, it was less than three months ago that I wouldn’t have considered meeting doctors remotely. Not just for fiction research, but going to a doctor’s office was always just how it’s been. I hadn’t even thought that -Nine would have videoconferencing capabilities. Three months ago, no way, but going forward, this might be the norm.
It’s tough to get the motivation to do much of anything when my back, shoulders, neck, and therefore head all hurt to such a degree that I lose any creativity or ability to think with any nuance or mulit-task-icity… There’s not much I can do without drastic changes to everything, so I’ve just stopped rowing for a few days, and have done what I’ve could to rest my back. It’s been helpful but only somewhat.
Late into my PT sessions, I learned about foam rollers. They’re these cylindrical pipes of solid hard styrofoam that you can roll around on. I have a short one to stretch out my shoulders. When I laid my torso on the long one, I found that my left shoulder was an inch off. What I’ll be trying to do now is stretch out my back, shoulders, and neck several times a week to avoid headaches.
I didn’t row this morning. Through the external fatigue of thinking about current events, even if it’s been far away from me personally, ramifications manifest themselves in minor ways, ranging from frequent, depressing news stories to interrupted life plans. It’s all tough to consider, so when I have the day off, I might sleep more to adjust. But that doesn’t mean I can’t row twice daily! My rowing sets just have to be hours apart.
I’d forgotten about this since I moved and had to put the old rower into storage, but what I used to love doing was just counting my rows as I rowed. There’s a meditative quality to clearing out the space that would otherwise be cluttered with good or bad thoughts with something like counting rows. My rowing machine’s monitor records these stats so there’s no necessity anymore, but it’s nice, perhaps, for making rowing count.