When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

Yesterday, I was working at my desk and all of a sudden I got a call on my cellphone. I picked up thinking it could be the pesky robocalls again looking to score. But, it was not. Instead, a lady wanted to inform me of an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. I told her to hold on to her horses and rewind a bit to the part of What the hell! just happened. I ain’t got no orthopedic surgeon.

She then proceeded to tell me how my good endocrinologist had actually sent a referral to this orthopedic surgeon they were calling on behalf of. To this I asked her about the nature of the referral. She told me it’s for my left shoulder. Well, she went on to say back in July (of which year btw?), they got a referral from my endocrinologist. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t recall any such thing. So I told the good Samaritan as much. She kept saying it’d be better to keep this appointment to be on the safe side. I agreed. She then asked for my email so that she could send me a requisition for an x-ray.

Before I let her go, I told her that I did remember me having some issues with my left shoulder and arm but going back at least 2-3 years. I also told her that in the mean time I had lost 27 kg, how I work out daily and I power march 6 km in 52 minutes every day. She said that was good, but she still advised me to keep my appointment. I thanked her and business was concluded.

For the last 24 hours, I’ve been thinking about this call. Actually, last night before I entered the realm of dreams and nightmares, I was actually pondering my parkours for the last 13 months. And all of a sudden, I realized that my physical efforts have paid off quite handsomely. From a disease ridden obese adult, aged before his time, afflicted by diabetes, hypertension, hyper cholesterol, muscle aches in legs, arms and shoulders, I had now turned into a perfectly normal man, who cannot even remember why he’d need to see an orthopedic surgeon (any more).

I actually patted my own shoulder, telling myself that what a good job I’ve been doing. I also came to the conclusion that given the state of the Quebec/Canadian health system, my decision to change my life around was perhaps proof that I am not a complete idiot. For when you are confronted by medical wait times ranging to almost half a decade, and you haven’t had a family physician in 3 years, you must either get tough, or get going. So I chose to toughen up, take my life by the reins, and do away with medicine, appointments, external health care… and risk.

All that is for people who choose to grow fat, sick and stupid while waiting to be triaged by a medical system that cares not for them as individuals. The medical system considers everybody a number, a pay code, a predetermined amount of $, time and resources, that cannot be exceeded, unless the cash value of the individual to the system is higher, in which case, you get all the care and attention you need or want, immediately.

Since I do not fall in the latter category, I believe in hindsight that my decision was correct. Although at the time, I had not fully considered these factors into my decision-making.

Anyhow, I went to sleep while making a mental note to remember all this stuff come morning, to commit it to paper.

Today, I woke up but the thought had somehow slipped my mind. I got on with my morning routine. I got to my desk. It’s now noon. I start my workout schedule: 60 crunches, followed by 25 reps with 6 lbs dumbbells’. And while I am doing the dumbbells, I start thinking about how the last rep did not count since I haven’t completed the full arc from the ceiling to my legs. And then I realize that I got to slow it down to make it count so that my body can actually benefit the most from the pain inducing experience.

And then it hits me. I remember it all: previous night’s epiphany, my vow to write this down into a blog, and amazingly, how 3 years ago I started having excruciating pains reducing my arms’ mobility to naught. I also remember that somehow, sometime in the last 13 months, the pain went from a 7 out of 10 to a cool 0. How do I know this? Easy, because I totally forgot about my need to see a doctor. Or my having told my endocrinologist that I needed to see a specialist for my shoulder pain. You see, the pain had disappeared, dissolved through my persistent enforcement and application of a regimen of daily physical exercise.

I have been doing this each and every day now for 13 months. Through thick and thin, through sickness, in the face of -20 degrees blizzards, in the scorching sun of Canada and Italy, day in day out, I carried on. Sometimes, I wondered why I needed to do this. Cause’ people tell me all the time to take it easy, to take a breather, a day off from my regimen. And yeah, sometime, it’s bloody awful, it’s horrible to return from a daytrip to the USA, and after driving 10 hours straight, and have to go for a freaking power march at 11 pm. But I did it. I am doing it.

But now I know WHY I do it. I do it so that I can function like a normal human being. So that I can walk fast, run if I must, without having bloody patches in my cheeks, or hyperventilating when I have to jump through an obstacle course. I do this so that I can do the whole gamut of human actions, without any problems, just like a normal person could if they chose to.

I do this because the alternative is to become a ward of the state, and have to wait in line for a bloody doctor to see me. I do this because society cannot help you. You are the only one who can help yourself. Nobody else can or will help you all the time.

But that’s all for now. Gotta go do my 6K. See ya!

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