Physical therapy is hard work. It's not for the faint of heart. I've been there- in and out of wheelchairs, using a cane, needing a driver and assistance in and out of the shower, and help getting dressed. I know exactly what it feels like to be a burden and spiral down a black hole of hopelessness. I'm such a good friend with pain that I actually miss it when it's gone, because I almost get high off of it, even without meds.
It's so easy to take the whiny way out. I hurt. Yeah, join the club. I have a headache. My worst headache lasted 6 weeks and I got at most ten minutes of sleep at a time that entire time, because it was so bad I couldn't even lay down, so I hear ya. It's hard. So is having babies, and that's not stopping anybody. I can't do it. Then curl up and die, you big baby.
That's me talking to my head. I have said all the things everyone else has said. And then I kicked my butt and slammed my head into a wall and GOT TO WORK. I got pissed off enough to get up and do something about my whining.
It was hard believing I could do this. Every morning I had to actually literally SAY "I can do this." Sometimes it was just a whisper in my mind while I cried. Sometimes it was a hopeless defiant shout in the dark. But many times I really did say it out loud on my way in to physical therapy.
Yesterday was hard. I'm in a better place than I've been in years, but it was still hard getting through another assessment and core review. I'm not out of the woods. I can't just flop my body into a chair and pop pain pills when I sit too long. I can't be lazy without backsliding into more pain and disability and eventually major surgery. Yes, I can ask them to turn the pain off and risk paralysis and sepsis and a whole list of other possibilities in a 50/50 gamble, because that's what surgical pain management is. It doesn't fix anything. It actually harms the body even more so you just can't feel it. There's no guarantee how long it'll last, and once it's done you can't go back and undo it. I know too many people this has backfired on. It's way too easy to skip ahead to the last resort and then hear the horror stories- multiple procedures melting down into meth addiction trying to handle pain that simply can't be killed off. Procedures that went well but then catastrophic fail happened after a blood clot in the spine, making the disability so much worse than it was before. Pain being replaced with maddening numbness. Asking someone to cauterize a nerve is such a leap of faith, I can't imagine doing that unless I was ready to commit suicide anyway. My psychologist told me a few times I'm a cynic. That's putting it mildly. I look at it like this- if a surgeon tells me he won't do pain control on me even in radiology with a needle because my history contraindicates success (nice of him to be honest), then I'm going to find another way to live like this.
There is this wonderful program in place to help people who are sinking into quagmires of pain and disability. It's called physical therapy. It's there for just about everyone- medicare is very supportive, and most insurance plans will take the brunt of the cost. All it takes is a person telling their doctor they'd like some help with a specific pain- how to move correctly, how to strengthen that area, how to become more functional around the house. I can say from experience that it's like working miracles, but it takes participation. You can get a whole team of people in on it, and they'll all tell you the same thing- pain shots, PT, and even surgery all work better with regular stretching and exercise, and good nutrition and hydration. You wanna heal? Cut the crap. You don't make a car run better pouring sugar in the gas tank. You don't stick a cigarette in your dog's mouth. You don't give babies beer bottles. You don't pick a fantasy football player who doesn't make the workouts. The logic is sound. All we have to do is apply it.
Several years ago I made a decision. Do I want to LIVE? If I don't save myself, no one else has to. Get out there and GET TO WORK. It made differences nothing else ever did.
I went through a little backsliding the last 8 months, so I'm back in GET TO WORK mode. I'm slapping myself to get up and MOVE, I'm plugging my ears and singing lalalalala when my head whines that this is too hard, I'm gritting my teeth and psyching up and telling myself that actors and professional athletes are where they are because they were willing to work for it. There is nothing in this world saying a writer doesn't need that kind of one on one physical training, as well. Sitting in a chair writing words isn't easy. Anyone who thinks it's easy is an idiot.
I know I sound mean. Sometimes you gotta get mean if you wanna stick around longer for your family. Whining my way to an early grave is unacceptable to me. I've got things to do, people to meet, a world to change...