I began this week in the doctor's office, due to an issue completely unrelated to the one mentioned in the title. I won't go into detail about exactly what the issue was, but just know that it was enough for me to spend quite a bit of time over the last month on WedMD and Wikipedia, where I fell down a self-diagnosing rabbithole and eventually became convinced I might have had some form of cancer.
I shared this with the doctor, who examined me, took blood and urine, and said the following (paraphrasing):
Nigga, you fine.
Word? It's not cancer?
Nah nigga. You just old, that's all. This shit happens when niggas get old.
So I can go home?
Go home, or go walk some daytime laps around Ross Park Mall with the rest of the old niggas.
And I'm ending this week with a bout of inexplicably intense back pain, that started last week and crescendoed Thursday morning, when each step I took felt like someone injected a bunch of Best of Big Sean mixtapes up my spine. I couldn't even carry the Feminist Octopus from her bedroom (on the third floor) down to the first floor and eventually to my car to take her to daycare, because I totally would have walked down the steps, felt one of those white-hot streaks of fuckshit shooting through my back, and fumbled her on the balcony.
Of course, dealing with pain and/or injury is not something I'm unfamiliar with. High school basketball, college basketball, and the sport I still play today (which I'll call "basketball") has provided me a torn ACL, at least 10 ankle sprains, a torn hamstring, an actual hole in my bottom lip after biting through it after jumping and crashing my chin down on the top of someone's head, a concussion, two broken wrists, and once even a staph infection. Again, injury is nothing. You get them, you deal with them, and they're done.
But what's making this back thing so annoying is that it happened while I was literally doing nothing but sitting. I got injured in a fucking chair! A chair!!! And after sharing a status on Facebook Wednesday night describing and lamenting the pain — and learning through the very helpful (and occasionally graphic) comments that I likely have some sciatic nerve issue — I traced back to when my back first started hurting to determine how I might have aggravated it, and eventually deduced that it happened one of three ways:
1. I drove to D.C. last week. Pittsburgh to D.C. is a three-and-a-half to four hour long drive that's broken up with a stop in Breezewood, PA — which sits at the midway point between them. When making that drive, this is usually where people stop to get food or go to the bathroom or just get out and stretch their legs. But since I was in a rush getting to D.C. and getting back to Pittsburgh, I didn't stop in Breezewood on the way there or back. So that's a combined eight hours of consecutive sitting over a 48 hour span. Which is not good.
2. My job (writing and shit) requires me to sit for long periods of time. I usually balance this out by getting up every hour or so to walk around (and by going to the gym a few times a week), but for the past few weeks I've also been getting over a virus that made me more sedentary than usual.
3. My office (the spare bedroom on the third floor of our house) is also where, if the mood hits and no one's home, and no deadlines are pressing, I flog the dolphin. But while walking the dragon last weekend, I sat in a different chair than the one I usually sit in, and the angle was different and the wheels on the chair made things weird and I had to pause mid carrot waxing to answer a call from my bank and I think I tweaked my back then too.
So now I have sciatica. And I'm getting up to stretch every 30 minutes, making sure I don't take any long trips in the whip, and, if tempted to gut the snake, I'm going back to my usual chair. And the pain I'm still feeling — which actually has begun to improve — is secondary to the shame of knowing that I now have to vet fucking chairs before sitting and/or jerking off in them.