Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Soggy and Chlorinated

Physical therapy, hooray. This is going to be a long post. 

I've been trying to get into the physical therapy clinic again for ages. I first went...oh, a year or two ago, for land therapy. I did my exercises. I did the exercises at home, did the stretches, and everything. Things were marginally better for a little while, and then they weren't. I was still in a job where I had to stand for eight, nine hours a day, and then go to physically active classes on my days off, and it was killing me. I tried new shoes. Shifting positions. Everything. Nope. Still I was going home exhausted and in pain, the underlying problem only exacerbated by my work. 

On school days and days off and days where I had to walk, or sit, or stand, or get up, or bend down, or crouch, or lie on my back, or do literally anything at all, I was in moderate to severe pain. It became a buzz in the back of my brain, a constant pain hovering around a 4 at the beginning of the day and growing to an agonizing 8 or 9 as I lay in bed struggling to sleep. 

Under that constant pain, your brain functions at about 70% because that 30% or so is always dedicated to distracting yourself, suppressing the pain, and getting through the day. Scheduling times to go cry in the bathroom for five minutes until you can pull yourself together and go back to class. Until you're doing after-work grocery shopping and your brain goes "nope sorry" and the pain crashes down and then you're holding the side of the vegetable rack trying not to fall and screaming very, very quietly. But not wanting to get a cart because you worry people will look at you funny, since you're a twenty-something person and nothing is visibly wrong. 

So understandably, everything was suffering: my performance at school, my performance at work, my mental health, my physical health, and all that. Hence the year or so off. 

I thought taking time off would help in a more immediate way than it has, but progress has been slow. I was glad to get away from the academic environment, including the profs who told me that there was no place in theatre for people who weren't physically fit/able and that I would just drag the company down. That was...ouch. I mean, they were right, but ouch. 

I then had to pester and beg and wheedle my GP to get back into physical therapy, to ask for a sleep study (insomnia! yay!), or for a gastroenterology appointment (stuff! things! Idk but it's pretty miserable! woo!) or even for something for migraines. 

See, I made the mistake one time of admitting that I felt depressed because, well, wouldn't you be depressed in my situation? People with chronic pain often kill themselves. I've never been suicidal, but I get why some people would go there. She refused to do fucking anything until I saw a psychotherapist. 

At this point I was willing to do anything, so I did. It sucked. I felt worse. I stopped going, because fuck that noise, at which point my GP became even more difficult to deal with. I did finally get her to treat my migraines. She pestered me into going to psychotherapy again. The new lady was a bit more helpful, but eventually concluded that all that pain was in my head and I was making things worse by worrying about being in pain, which made the pain seem worse when it happened, and so on. 

And I'm like? No shit? My entire life has become either being in pain or being afraid of being in pain. No one can function at top capacity like that. And the people who were trying to make things better for me were actually obstructing my path to the physical therapy treatment that would have improved things or at least made me feel like I had more control over my own improvement. Meanwhile, all the time I spend waffling back and forth and scheduling appointments where nothing happens is time that I have to take off from work. 

My GP recommended cutting out lactose and gluten in case I have an allergy, which is hilarious because I live on a limited fucking budget and am not about to do that unless I know for a fact that it's needed, because I can't afford to. Yet she refused to do tests for either of those things, which my insurance would have easily covered. Speaking of insurance and things I can't afford, I'm on a fucking timeline to figure all this crap out. Thanks to the ACA I can be on my parents' insurance until I'm 26. I'm 24. 

BUT TODAY I went to physical therapy. It was splashing around in the pool for a bit doing exercises and stretches. And finally, hanging in the water on a pool noodle while my spine got all nice and stretched out. 

So I'm feeling soggy and chlorinated but also hopeful. In the pool, it doesn't feel like I have a body, which is fantastic, because I really hate my body. And to top it off, my well-meaning but obtuse GP is moving and leaving the practice. I'll probably end up with a new person who may or may not be just as bad but at least it's another opportunity. 

Fuck you, gravity. Pools are awesome.

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