Saturday, October 13, 2012

One of the Bad Ones

Some days I am able to be patient with the recovery process. Today is not that day. Today I hate my surgeon AND all those nice, patient nurses and receptionists that work for him. I'm beyond over the rigid, locked-up spine. I'd even trade it for one of the curly-q spines of the hunchback 200 year-old women in Chinatown. That's terrible, I know. And any other day I'd apologize for the bad attitude and off-color comments and try my damnedest to focus on all the things I know I have to be grateful for. But not today. March 18th was the last day this body worked the way it should and today I want to be pissed, drink bottles of prosecco and smoke cigarettes. I can't do the last two (bad for recovery - I'm not pregnant) so I'll at least let myself be pissed. 

In the beginning you miss the big things: existing without pain, running, working out, dancing, sleeping well, sex. At this stage you start to miss the little things like lying on the couch next to your fiance or tying your shoes. Shoe-tying sounds so fun right now. Walking around looking like a cross between a mummy and a bored housewife with a stick up her arse gets old quickly. There's simply only so much humor you can find in feeling awkward. I'm considering a custom t-shirt that says "I was fun once!" on the front and "and I will be again someday!" on the back.

I will say that I have received many a compliment on my posture in the past few months, and that's lovely, but those compliments are no replacement for the satisfaction one feels from curling up in a big comfy chair or relaxing in a hammock with a good book and a glass of lemonade. I don't live in a Country Time Lemonade commercial, so that last option isn't open to me anyway, but you start to fantasize about random things like hammocks and bean bag chairs after being forced to exist in very specific positions for months on end. You see, there's no such thing as "hanging out" or being "casual" after back surgery. Everything is preconceived and contrived. No spontaneous morning yoga sessions. No climbing up on B's lap or stretching in front of the TV while he's watching sports. No going to a concert without being that stiff, uptight weirdo tucked into a corner looking uncomfortable and out of place. People must think I'm either agoraphobic or voting for Mitt Romney. I'm not sure which one is worse.  
I miss yoga. I want to twist my body like a pretzel and I want it to feel good. I miss moving my body in a way that reminds me that my muscles are strong and my mind is powerful. I miss the purging of bad energy and stress and the cleansing that comes from 90 minutes of reaching and folding and twisting and holding. I miss the positive reminder to love my body and treat it with kindness. It's really easy to start seeing the squishy kid looking back at you in the mirror after months of being sedentary. I even miss the camaraderie in a room full of smelly, sweaty people that know what it's like to love yoga enough to forget how close the farting hippie is to your mat, even when you're suffocating in a cloud of her body odors. I miss the challenge and sense of achievement behind bizarre poses that are first labeled as impossible and last labeled as a stepping stone. I miss my gorgeous yoga teacher on whom I had a total girl-crush. I miss working hard for her praise and then running home to tell B about it. I even miss the "should I be worried?" look he'd give me when I'd talk about her a little too much. She must think I'm a quitter. Damn it Deborah!

In place of yoga, Pilates and Bar Method, I get mummy walking and physical therapy designed for the people that usually have the kind of surgery I had: 90 year-olds. Even so, I was excited to start geriatric physical therapy because it meant I got to start moving again. Then somewhere between trying too hard to live my normal life and trying too hard to kick recovery ass, something went wrong. So today, I think physical therapy is stupid. Those tiny pelvic movements and tiny marches and sissy medicine balls feel pointless. And the therapy rooms were ugly. Can SOMEONE please start a medical facility redecorating revolution? If I have to stare at one more mundane, pedestrian colored wall while someone manipulates my spinal joints I might lose it. Stop making me gag with your cold, bony fingers on my rigid spine and paint the walls anything OTHER than the color of "calm." Give me a painting to look at or maybe a pretty picture. But putting me in a sea foam green room is quite condescending really. People are in hospitals and rehab clinics to deal with some serious shit. Serious shit is not pale blue or diluted magenta or buttercup yellow. I hate buttercup yellow. Surgery and death and grief and anger are shades of bright, bold, saturated colors, so let's try anything that doesn't encourage patients and visitors to calm down or be "good sports." 

Wow. That felt good. Maybe the rest of the day will be a "good day." I'll have a glass of prosecco and decide.

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