Friday, September 5, 2014

I probably should have learned something, but I didn't

An odd thing happened a few weeks ago. I hurt my back. I hurt it as in I jumped out of bed at 4:30 a.m. feeling as if someone stabbed me. I searched Dennis for knives but did not find any, and because he doesn't exactly wear pajamas to bed, there weren't many places for him to hide one. Also, he claimed he was innocent.

So ... as soon as the urgent care office opened at 8 a.m., I went in and got x-rayed, weighed, poked, prodded. The nice doctor basically told me that I was old, had arthritis in my back, probably a pinched nerve, and I should go home and not work so much and it would probably be better in 6 or 8 weeks.

So, for the next few weeks, between flying to Hawaii, attending a conference for game developers and finishing a grant, not to mention writing a couple of papers I presented this week and working on the game, I also was waking up after four hours sleep because my back hurt too bad. I would get up at work at 6 a.m. because I couldn't sleep, that's for sure.

I went to another doctor, and he gave me more pills, and told me not to sit at a computer 12 hours a day seven days a week.

I listened to him a little bit. I did watch a couple of movies while lying on my back (Monuments Men was good). I read three of Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant books, also lying flat on my back.

I also had a couple of massages from a really terrific masseuse Ronda knew.

One thing I did learn is that being deprived of sleep really does make you stupider. I made some mistakes at work that I KNOW I would not have made normally.

I worked a little less - maybe 8 hours some days instead of 12.  A couple of times, I actually took a whole day off because we were watching my granddaughters or something. Gradually, I got better.

This morning, I was on a panel on Statistics and Data Analysis, then gave  one-hour talk on using SAS software to meet government reporting requirements, came up to the room and worked on the game for a few hours, went to a couple of sessions on using state open access data sets and calculating standardized incidence ratios, had a beer with someone, grabbed dinner at the volunteer party, worked with Jessica and Jose to book plane tickets and hotel rooms for six people to attend a judo tournament in Kansas City this month, worked on our next grant and now it is five minutes to midnight.

I've given some thought on giving a pass on this grant I'm working on now but it's for $100,000 that would go toward game development and we're a small company so that's not exactly chump change for us.

Being somewhat incapacitated for weeks should have taught me something profound about life, like that health is fragile and tomorrow you could be incapable of doing the things you love today - but I already knew that. Perhaps it should have taught me to spend more time with my family - but frankly, I think my family probably spends as much time with me as they want. They are all adults, except for Julia, who is a junior in high school, and I'm pretty sure none of them wake up thinking, "If only my mother would hang out with me more."

I mean, seriously, no matter how much you love your mom and enjoy having dinner with her now and then, you don't plan on making it a nightly occurrence.

I suppose the doctors (and the masseuse) would tell me I should have learned to work less, but it didn't. I like working.

I did not lie on my back and think, "If only I had not worked so much"  and I sure as hell didn't think, "If only I hadn't done judo so much."

Nope, in fact, exactly what I thought was, "This sucks and I can't wait until I get over this so I can go back to working more (effectively) and start teaching judo at Gompers again."

Oh, yeah, and writing this blog (-:


Unknown said...

Hope you're feeling better Doc great that you find learning in all the things that come your way in life and you pass on your wisdom too, which is a great way of elevating not just yourself but many others!!

mike ripple said...

Mrs. DeMars:

You are not alone dear...I haven't been able to sleep in a bed (horizontal) for over 13 years. A lifetime of Olympic lifting and Powerlifting has left 4 fused lower lumbars (the discs deteriorated years ago) and a loss of 4 1/2" in height. I am 61 years old.
Like I tell my daughters. You are work your whole life and then you die...and if you have a little time in between to laugh and to love...then it's all good.
Good luck to you and I hope tomorrow brings you relief!


johnlichtenstein said...

Think about a desk that lets you stand up to code. 8 hours a day of sitting is just too much.

Sylver said...

You may want to get a couple different chairs.

Orthopedic chairs are a lot more comfortable than they look and help get the back in the right position:

orthopedic chair picture

You probably have a nice office chair already - you should, seriously - but I found that swapping types of chairs every few hours helps anyway. No matter how comfortable your chair is, after a few hours sitting down, your spine gets molded into that shape.

With a different type of chair every couple hours, your back is forced to adjust to a different position.

Hope this helps.

dave schaeffer said...

When I was in my mid 40's, I thought I should start skateboarding again, with my boys(bowl skating). Dumb. But, I believe wholeheartedly, pick what you are willing to get injured, hurt at, and keep doing it. I stopped skating, but I still mtb, surf, road ride.I love these things, the risks are way outweighed by the rewards. I still do Judo, too. For 10 seconds, once a week, in the kitchen, with my youngest son, though he's getting pretty good, so it may be back to armbarring the dog........