Snapshots: A Bad Moment and a Good Moment In Dealing with Chronic Pain

A knock at the door. I open it, greet the delivery guy, sign for the package, and take it to my room.

I didn’t expect to have to buy this. It was one of the things I was worried about, but I told myself I was being stupid. My old computer was operating just fine, as far as I could tell. My old computer that I purchased way back when, partially for the purpose of not aggravating repetitive stress when I had it before. It was working fine, and there was no reason to think it was going to suddenly fail on me now that I genuinely needed to be using it for work. No reason to think I would have to shell out the obscene amount of money it would take to replace it before I got over the tendinitis.

Yet here I am, a couple of weeks after the hard drive crash that I told myself would not happen decided now was the time to happen. After the thing I kept telling myself I was being stupid to worry about stupidly happened. I am opening a snazzy new computer that cut deeply into my savings; a purchasing decision that was made easier, if not less stressful, by the fact that if I didn’t end up purchasing it and my symptoms consequently worsened, I would lose a lot more money than even this thing cost. I try to be excited about having a new computer in the first place. It sort of works.  The nerve-racking thing is that if I get worse even using this machine, then I’ve cut into my savings to the point where I will have a lot less time available between ultimately deciding to take time away from work and running out of savings completely.

I’ve actually gotten by better than I expected while waiting for this thing to arrive by cobbling some ergonomic computer accessories together into a relatively non-aggravating setup. I wonder if the purchase was a mistake, and I could have kept getting by indefinitely, or even gotten better just on the setup I currently have. I remind myself that if I get better, I’ll be able to work more, and this expenditure won’t particularly matter in the grand scheme of things.

I set it up and test it out. The setup is nerve-racking, because it requires the typing and other movements that I’m trying to minimize throughout the day. Will this mean I’ll feel worse today than other days, or will the symptoms be fickle and stay constant? After a basic setup, it seems to work well. It is much faster than anything else I own at the moment. Now to install the work software, and get it ready to use. We’ll see how this goes…

I’m reading my blog stats. I see a single hit on a very, very old post documenting how my back was doing about a year ago. I read it out of curiosity. It talks about how I’m slowly working up to sitting for longer periods of time, and I remember that when I started this blog, I could barely sit still for half an hour without agonizing back pain. These days, I don’t generally think about how long I sit unless it has been a very, very long period. I reflect on the weirdness of the idea that I can have come this far in terms of back pain and forgotten about it. I reflect on the fact that in spite of all of the physical therapy that I went to for my back, the single most important thing in terms of my improving to the point that I’m at right now was learning that the pain that I experience did not indicate any actual physical injury located in my back. I still experience back pain, sometimes severe, but it doesn’t scare me like it used to. I endure it, because I know what it is, and I know, roughly, what it is and isn’t indicative of.

My shoulders are doing better, too. Again, not through any particular physical activity, but through the realization that the pain I was experiencing in them was almost certainly not a result of injured tissues. I started working out with weights again, called the pain’s bluff, and in the five or so weekly workouts since, have had little to complain about.

There are, it seems, at least a couple of physical ailments I’ve managed to relatively triumph over.