Monday, March 12, 2012

Taking Responsibility for this Pain Body or How "Resting" Can Be a Dangerous (Painful) Cop Out

Last Winter's Lake

I've written about how, in my early/middle thirties, Marcy and I were pretty convinced that I was going to need a cane...very soon...but that I was lucky enough to meet an amazing woman who taught me how to walk again.

Backing up...this level of pain was nothing new to me; it was just different.  By my mid-20s, I had already gotten cortisone shots in my hip. Twice. And they told me that it was something I was just going to have to do every couple of years for the rest of my life.

When I asked them about long term effects, they laughed at me.  "We give these to patients all the time and nothing happens."

"Yes, but aren't those patients usually elderly?  So there really is no way of knowing long term effect on someone who starts these at such a young age?"

They told me, basically, "Whatever. Shut up with your questions."

How does one end up getting cortisone shots in one's hip multiple times at such a young age?

Well, it happens because you cannot sit, stand, walk, or lie down without agonizing pain.  It happens because there is no amount of anything over the counter that will even make a dent in said pain.  It happens because you end up crying to distraction from that pain and can barely function like anything close to a normal human being.

So you go to a specialist.

And here's the thing that I think about now: Not a single person asked me to MOVE MY DAMN BODY.

No one said, YOU SIT TOO MUCH.

No one asked me about any of my habits.

Part of the reason? A lot of doctors, as we all know, make a lot of assumptions based on physical appearance.

And based on my physical appearance, you could assume I was active.

If you are an idiot who doesn't realize that body size and shape have little to do with activity level.

I mean, come on!  Like you've never known a "sick skinny?!"

That was me.  A sick thin person.

I rarely walked unless it was to get up to use the bathroom.  I certainly did not exercise.

When I did exercise, it was because I was in one of my exercise bulimia stages.

So, you know, it was like so totally healthy.  Not.

But, again, I was an acceptable body weight, size, and shape, so not a single doctor ever asked if I tried USING my hips.

This is typical to this day, sadly.

I am not trying to just blame the doctors.  Though their lack of interest in movement is not helpful.

It is also the patient.

We think, "I am in pain. I have to take care of myself."

And by "taking care," we too often mean "resting," and by "resting," we too often mean sitting around on our asses.

When what our pain ridden bodies are actually (and quite literally) SCREAMING for is MOVEMENT.

Like, sweaty, intense movement.  Not some wimp ass walk around the block.

I will tell you how I know this for sure (and I am not talking to anyone who has some structural injury thing...though movement of a precise kind is what that needs too...I am talking to pain body people -- you know who you are).

So how I know this:

To this day, I could easily -- EASILY -- walk into a physician's office and tell them about my life and they could EASILY say, "You have fibromyalgia."

To this day, I could qualify for that diagnosis.

Because to this day, I suffer from serious pain body issues.

When I sit.


I move my butt seriously with intensity a  minimum of two hours a day and that is what it takes for me to live pain free.

On my days off, I still make the mistake of "resting" and I am in pain, serious overall body pain, by lunch time.

And that pain?  It is MY FAULT.

I am responsible for this body and for the quality of my experience in this body.

I know how to feel good.

Sometimes I don't do it and that is that.

We have to be willing to take responsibility.

OR...we can pop pills and get shots and basically play Russian Roulette with our health and see how we turn out at the age of 70.  If we make it that far.  You know, we can just be our own little control group experiment with this shit.

Or again, we can take responsibility for ourselves.

Oh...and in case you missed it?  This whole post about physical pain is also just a metaphor for the emotional variety.