posted by meowser
Like Well Rounded Type 2 said here, yesterday I took the train up to Olympia and she and I met for the first time, an experience I highly recommend to anyone who has the chance to have it. And yes, we’re going to do it again soon, this time in Portland, and those of you in the Upper Left who don’t know how cool and smart she is in real life yet will get a(nother) chance to find out for yourselves. (Consider this an opportunity to let us know when y’all think you might want to meet up.)
And in the process of my travels, yet another miracle occurred. I was able to sit down on the train twice for an hour and 45 minutes each time without excruciating pain!
Yeah, the last couple of weeks have been a bowl of dirty sphincters for me in terms of musculoskeletal health. The same back problem I had earlier flared up again a couple of weeks ago, this time on the left rather than right side and much, much worse. There was a trip to the ER, a trip to my regular doctor, muscle relaxants which made me feel like giant beanbag all day, Vicodin to sleep, all kinds of fun stuff. Physical therapy, too. (Remind me to tell you about the x-ray tech in my doctor’s office who obviously had been thrown into the job with zero preparation, and made me lie on my bad side FOUR TIMES on the hard cold metal because she kept fucking it up, and got mad at me when I complained about the countless requests to “scoot down,” ultimately resulting in my having a meltdown on the x-ray table. Or, maybe don’t, and get out your memory zapper so we can all forget about it. Yeah, much better.)
Gradually it’s gotten better. I’ve been able to stretch out my muscles over the course of the day, and by nighttime, I actually have times when the pain is reduced down to mere tenderness in my hip flexor. This morning (okay, maybe it was afternoon when I got up; I work nights) I was actually able to limp over to the coffee maker and make coffee without using a cane or feeling like a shark was biting the outside of my thigh. But I still can’t lie down except on my right side. Can’t roll around in bed (so guess what else I can’t do — fortunately, I have a very patient partner).
For about two weeks, I couldn’t sit upright long enough to work; I didn’t have that much PTO saved, so that’s been hella costly. Blogging has been limited until I can figure out how to distill my thoughts into fewer than 70 paragraphs or type standing up. Sitting through a movie or sports event is out of the question; this week’s Netflix prize is the second season of Barney Miller, a show from my childhood I’ve come to late; the first season DVD cracked my shit up and aficionados tell me that season was actually the weakest, so I’m hoping for a bunch of little 22-minute nuggets of hilarity to provide me with my dosage of passive entertainment. Reading I’ve only been able to do over the last couple of days.
It all makes me think, in terms of what we consider “ability,” that so much of it has to do with being able to remain in a seated position for a huge-ass chunk of our lives without flinching. I basically can’t ever again remain in a computer chair, or any other kind of chair, 14 hours a day 6 days a week (hello, Internet addiction, goodbye), not even if I take half an hour out of that day to exercise. I MUST exercise every single day, multiple times a day, until the day I physically cannot do it anymore, or it will HURT LIKE FUCKING HELL. (And before anyone gives me shit about it having been caused by my Great Weight, I’ll have you know that my psychotherapist and my mother, both pencil-thin, have had the exact same problem, neener.)
Look, even if you don’t have a sedentary job like mine, think of all the things people do (indeed, are often expected to do) that require prolonged sitting. Driving. Any kind of travel, really, other than mass-transit vehicles. Movies. Theatre. Television. Playing musical instruments. Nursing a baby. Writing. Reading. And of course, Net-surfing and blogging. And hell, just plain visiting with people; they get nervous if you don’t sit down and stay seated without squirming or fidgeting, you ever notice that?
But let me tell you the good parts of my problem. One, I’ve had an absolutely AWESOME experience with ALL my doctors and therapists. Not ONE of them has given me shit about my weight. The worst I ever got was one of the PTs telling me to make sure I had a good supportive bra because I was “heavy up there.” (The fact that I gained about 15 pounds in 2 months on the frigging Remeron has my psychiatrist a little freaked, since that’s a pretty rapid gain for anyone, but the Cookie Monster effect is largely gone now, so we don’t expect that to continue.) Dudettes and dudes, THIS is the gold standard for how fat patients should be treated. I would like to bottle these people up and send them out to molecularly replace all the shitbag health-care workers that fat people have been abused by over the years. Seriously. Nicely done, Portland, give yourself a paw.
Aaaaand the very most awesome part of this entire experience has been my discovery of the Mt. Scott Community Center pool. Swimming in warm water just RULES for the back, and Mt. Scott has two indoor pools; a lap pool which I don’t bother with because lap swimming doesn’t turn me on, and a leisure pool that is heated to 89 degrees and has currents! (It also has a water slide, which I’m sure I’ll be trying out when I’m not sore anymore, which could take a few months.) Those currents? Make me feel like I’m in one of those water parks. You can float on them. Work just your arms. Work just your legs. Whee! There’s also a hot tub, which my muscles also love. In fact, I’m leaving this chair and going there RIGHT NOW. Up. Uuuuuupppp….