i am solidly into my third year of post-law school working life, and in my current working identity, i get home at night so drained and so unwilling to engage my brain any further that it’s often difficult to do much more beyond staring at sports on TV and playing illuminated words on my phone. cooking food for dinner is sometimes beyond my energy level these days. so you can imagine what that’s done to other parts if my life.
there’s a lot i want to change. in a weird sort of way, i can thank my awful back for getting my ass in gear on one of those things, though. when i was finishing my last law degree, i carried a large mary-poppins-style bag to and from class. i had no car, so i carried it everywhere i went. that sumbitch was heavy, too. i spent large parts of 2010-11 with lower back soreness. but as i stopped dragging the bag around on foot, it got better. when i got a car, the pain disappeared. until may, that is; right around memorial day, it started flaring up. i sat with a heating pad at my desk for three weeks or so, and right around the time i had finally decided screw it, i gotta see a doctor, the moderate-to-severe pain went away. ok, cool – no doctor needed.
then on the saturday of labor day, i stood up and nearly fell down again, the pain in my lower back was so bad. i spent the whole damn weekend either flat on my back in bed or sitting in one chair in the house, back throbbing, pain shooting down my leg. it was awful. so i got my sorry tail to the back doctor. and though it’s early in the diagnostic process, she’s 90% certain i have a pinched nerve in my lumbar. i got an MRI and a spinal X-ray tuesday, and i started physical therapy yesterday. sigh. i hate that i have to do this: a) it makes me feel old, and b) it’s expensive (until my deductible’s gone, anyway).
but i like to be a good patient, so i went to therapy and listened to everything the nice doctor lady said to do. part of the course of treatment is to strengthen up my hamstrings. the back doctor said, incidentally, that quitting yoga/exercise when i left LSU probably had something to do with the conditions that led to my nerve pinch. (she didn’t come right out and say that – i asked her if quitting yoga was part of the problem, and she visibly cringed and didn’t answer right away. when i said, that looks like a yes, she said, well, i don’t want to make you feel bad, but yeah, probably.) the therapist has me doing pelvic tilts and assisted hamstring stretches.
and stretching feels just unbelievably, incredibly divine in ways i can’t describe. and it also feels sad. i mean, i used to be able, while lying on my back, pull my leg forward so that my thigh was resting on my midsection. i used to be able to damn near rest my elbows on the floor in a forward fold. those days are gone. i am so out of shape compared to when i was happiest with my body. i like my body to be able to dance, to twist, to bend. in the shape i’m in, dancing is not a thing i can do. taking that deep, long hamstring stretch felt like a mix of endorphins flooding my body and guilt sweeping right in after it. why did you let this amazing feeling stop being a part of your life? the guilt said. you LOVE this. you need to get yourself in shape.
i keep saying this. i have said it a million times before. but now the doctor is making me do it. so that’s a teeeeeeeeeensy little baby step forward. i don’t get why the hell it’s so hard to get started doing something that i ACTUALLY WANT TO DO AND LIKE DOING. is the job that large a negative force in my life, that it’s choking out all the energy to do EVERYTHING else? ugh. i hope not. and now that i finally have a requirement to demonstrate improvement in my awful back – doctor’s orders, damn it – i can get back to doing something for myself. ME. NOT THE JOB – ME.
i just wonder why it’s so hard…