Beagle, Cassini–Huygens, Chang’e, Curiosity, Gaia, Galileo, GRAIL, Juno, Mariner, MAVEN, MESSENGER, Nozomi, Opportunity, OSIRIS-REx, Phoenix, Pioneer, Magellan, Voyager….
A piece that is neither essay nor fiction nor memoir but all of them and none of them (390 words).
I guess… back in November? I started to experience incredible pain while sitting–in my neck, in my back, in my left shoulder. Some of this is arthritis, some is muscle strain from arthritis. I’ve been experiencing arthritic twinges in the knees, back, and neck for a few years now. But I’ve never had any trouble sitting for long periods of time. Then the pain got exponentially worse to the point where I couldn’t sit and write comfortably, and I have to do pain drugs to get through my work day. I have an expensive ergonomic chair at work that I can sit in most of the day, if I get up frequently and stretch out.
For a while, it was more comfortable to walk than sit. I would take walks when I was in too much pain. Then a bad squat at the gym inflamed the tendon in my right knee. I still walk, but I can’t overdo it.
The one lesson in all this (besides hours and days and years of sedentary pursuits are bad for you, kids, especially with crappy genes on both sides, because, horse-barn door?) is that I’ve had to change the way I do things. I am writer, and a computer programmer. None of that has changed. It’s just the way it’s done that has change.
No more writing kicked back on the recliner. I now sit upright at a table like the rest of them, although this has its limits. I have also been experimenting with voice recognition input, which is great for one-liners on Facebook, or for making notes to myself, less good for composing, to say nothing of editing.
I have stopped living off “healthy” TV dinners and started cooking anti-inflammatory fare. Cooking, btw, not all that much fun with a gimp knee.
Pain is a strange thing. I always considered myself pretty stoic, but the pain I’ve been experiencing–inescapable, debilitating to normal, everyday activities–can turn me into a harpy. You just discover this wounded animal side to your personality.
If pain is the rich soil of the seeds of creativity, can we make lemonade?
Sure, just stop mixing your metaphors.
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead
America, Horse With No Name
Photo credit: NASA