I'm currently immobilized by a sciatica attack (an aftereffect of spending two weeks on crutches
following my foot injury
) and have spent the past week on the sofa. Since I got home from work on Friday the 7th, the only times I've left the apartment (or stood up for longer than five minutes, really) has been for acupuncture or other healthcare appointments.
It's been interesting to see how some of my family influences are manifesting around this. I'll wake up in the morning, look at the clock, and think, "Gee, it's getting late — I'd better get up!"
And then I'll think, "Why? The only thing on your schedule for the day is walk to the living room, lie down on the sofa, and stay there
— so why get up? It's probably more comfortable here in bed with the heating pad, the cat, and the monkey."
Of course, since my doctor changed my medication on Thursday, the answer is "because you need to take your naproxen but then you can't lie down again for half an hour", so I get up. (The pills I was taking before may have come from a bottle labeled "Ibuprofen" and had the markings the bottle said they should have, but they might as well have been Pez, they had so little effect on the pain.)
It's also been interesting to pay attention to the pain. When I had sciatica several years ago (on the other side, related to a different, older injury), I hadn't been sitting zazen and the idea of paying mindful attention to the pain didn't really show up on my radar — I was much more in a place of trying to distract myself from the pain, or tough through it.
Toughing through it isn't an option this time around. For one thing, I find the most reliable clue to "I'm trying to tough through this" is "oh, I've been holding my breath while trying to tough through this and now I feel lightheaded and queasy — oog." For another, doing that is really incompatible with the kind of paying attention I've been trying to practice while sitting zazen.
I find that the pain rises and falls in intensity, and the higher the pain level, the fewer brain cells seem to be available for problem-solving and decision-making. Even decisions on the level of "what do I want from this Chinese restaurant menu" can seem overwhelming. (By the way, I can highly recommend the broccoli with vegi duck in garlic sauce at Long Life Vegi House
in Berkeley. Really good stuff, especially for having been selected almost at random. *grin* spiritualmonkey
even liked it better than his crispy vegi chicken in orange sauce.)
And trying to figure out whether and how to reroute my travel plans when it became clear that the bus I'd planned to catch wasn't on schedule — oy. I had to silently talk myself through the whole process: "Okay, you need to check for alternatives... yes, you do... okay... open the cell phone... good. Now... start the mobile browser... load the trip planner... wait, hit enter BEFORE you try to clear the text in that field
... *sigh* okay... load the trip planner again..." And then the pain eased up a bit and I could almost feel
the brain cells shifting from processing the pain to processing the problem at hand. "Yeah, that'll work. And if I miss that bus connection, I can transfer to BART. And if the bus I need at the other end isn't on time at the BART station, I can catch a taxi. No problem."
So it's off to acupoke again today. Luckily, I can manage it with very little walking — the buses work out quite conveniently. Might stop and pick up half a dozen ("buy 5, get 1 free!") banh mi
from Ba Le on Franklin
on my way home (Team LexiMonkey's favorite of the various Oakland banh mi
shops we've tried). The monkey thinks he's coming down with a cold, so having some banh mi
in the fridge will mean nobody has to make dinner. If you get the vegetables on the side, you can pop the whole bag in the fridge when you get home and they'll stay good for several days. To reheat one, spread the roll open a bit (so the edges and the filling are exposed) and heat in a 325°F oven for 4-5 minutes or so. Add your vegetables and you're good to go. Almost as tasty as freshly made.
Also gotta pick up another large bottle of Yin Chiao
for the monkey. Certainly hope I don't need it myself. I can't afford to miss any more work. *sigh*