Where I’ve been for the last month

14 01 2011

This blog post is a bit more personal than my usual entries, and therefore may be a bit boring.

I think I’ve mentioned it once or twice in this space, but there’s a reason why I haven’t been out and about much in the past month or so: during the second week of December, I pulled the muscle that connects my lower back to my left hip. It was actually a two-stage injury: I hurt it on a Thursday when I bent way over to try to dust a hard-to-access place in my apartment. Then, three days later, I hurt it even more when I got up off my couch (where, ironically, I had been resting to try to help my injury heal).

As injuries go, I’ve had worse, but this was a particularly bad location: sitting down aggravated the injury. Or, more accurately, standing up after sitting down aggravated the injury. It took me about a day to figure that out: I was working at home on the Monday, and it was unpleasantly painful to get up (I’m talking about a “I’ll tell you where the microfilm is if you make that stop” level of pain). Later that day, I went out to get food, and noticed that my back was doing much better after having not been sitting down for an hour or so. Aha, I thought; that’s the problem!

I’ve noticed this before – it always takes at least a day, after an injury, to isolate the problem. Does it hurt when I do this? Or this? How about this? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of what more and more of my muscles do, as I’ve needed to learn this information in order to recover from various injuries. (I’ve never broken a bone in my life, but I have significantly damaged – in no particular order – my left foot, my right ankle, my left hip, my lower back on the right side, my left little finger, my left shoulder (twice), and now this.)

And there’s that sinking feeling you get when you’re lying in bed and realizing, “I have to get up. But I’m not sure how to do this without causing myself pain. What if I try Plan A? Ow! No, that wasn’t it.”

So, for a period of about two weeks or so, I built a new life that revolved around not sitting, ever, if I could help it. I could do some work at home with my laptop, and I alternated between lying in bed while typing and standing by my dresser drawer while typing. (Having a portable wireless keyboard and mouse really helped here.) I also learned a lot about cricket, as that was when the Ashes (the international competition between Australia and England) was being held.

Since then, I’ve been going to work, which means sitting down for seven hours or more of the day. It’s been gradually getting better, albeit frustratingly slowly – I’ve learned from experience that this sort of injury takes as long to heal as a broken bone does. I constantly need to remind myself that while, yes, my hip is still bothering me, it’s bothering me less than it did last week at this time, and I’m sitting down for longer periods of time at a stretch.

But I’ve been reluctant to go out much during this time. For one thing, going out involves sitting down, often on ergonomically uncomfortable seats, some or all of which have not been designed for a person of my size (I’m a little over 6’2″). For another thing, I haven’t been all that much fun to be around – I’ve been worrying a lot about whether I’m going to reinjure my back, and I’ve been a bit obsessed and cranky. So I thought it best to stay at home more until I’m better.

So apologies if you haven’t seen me in a bit – I haven’t been going out to shows or socializing much. It should be better soon – I typed all of this in one sitting without too much problem – and I look forward to catching up with the people I haven’t seen lately while I’ve been out of commission. Thanks for reading, and remember that life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.

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One response

15 01 2011
Mary

Soft tissue injuries are ridiculously persistent and hard to treat, so congratulations on your success in healing so far. Did you ever go to a sports medicine specialist or physiotherapist for this? I found that with my own stubborn shoulder injury (and, a few years back, a case of plantar fasciitis that took months to clear up), what turned me around to 95% and 100% functioning was a tiny set of exercises and techniques shown to me by the physio experts.

It might seem silly to go to a sports medicine specialist for what started as a dusting injury (although you could always apply SEO techniques to make Google think that competitive dusting was a real sport), but I wrecked my shoulder on a very low speed bike crash, and the foot issue developed just because I walked a lot in crappy shoes. The clinic staff never batted an eye at the etiology of my aches and pains.

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