Whenever you’re having the sort of week that might be more endurable if you could spend the rest of it under your bed and away from keyboards, it’s cool just to post a single photo and declare you’ve fulfilled your blogging responsibilities for the week, right? That’s a remarkably wide divergence from my modus operandi, but I’m trying it just to see what happens. It’s my site and I’ll shirk if I want to.
For the past nineteen years my wife Anne and I have maintained firm boundaries between work and home. Home is our refuge from work, our earthly reward for jobs properly done, our container of collections and comfort, and our humble haven for our hearts. Work is an intrusion we’ve allowed inside only in extremely rare circumstances.
In this new era, our ongoing worldwide catastrophe, effective this week the line between work and home is one of many luxuries we’re no longer afforded.
When drugs get a foothold in your household, they don’t always belong to your first suspect. Sometimes there’s more than one.
Our home’s recent influx of new pharmaceuticals began shortly after Baby New Year 2019 arrived to kick out grizzled, bitter Grampaw Old Year 2018. We had such high hopes after the changing of the guard.
Last Friday we arrived at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. when the waiting room doors were supposed to open. The nurses were running a bit behind, leaving us waiting on the waiting room. While I paced back and forth, Mom sat quietly and tried to compose herself before her big transplant operation.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in recent weeks we’ve been sharing the stories of our annual road trips that we undertook before I launched MCC in April 2012. Starting from the beginning and working our way forward, so far we’ve covered 1999 to 2004. Before we make the leap to 2005, a digression is in order regarding some personal development that affected, among other things, some of my vacation photos.
Though I’ve been wanting to try out the camera on my new phone in a variety of settings, photography testing wasn’t among my original plans for Wednesday night. My beloved wife Anne agreed to this unusual photo-op while we were waiting calmly for the physicians on duty to determine the cause of the chest pains she’d been having all day.
Make no mistake: that pretty smile belied some pretty frazzled nerves.
It’s that magical time again! Once or twice a year the recurring lower back pain that strikes when I least expect it chooses the worst possible time to come at me, ruin a few days, and keep me some combination of humble and humiliated.
After five months without a chronic back-pain incident, I wake up this morning with slight, tender stiffness. Clock in at 7 a.m. Twenty minutes later my back begins to throb a little. I grab cafeteria breakfast at 7:30. Five minutes and three bites after sitting back down at my desk, the throbbing promotes itself to full-on spasms. Waves of pain roil outward from my lower back, on and off for thirty to forty minutes. So much for this week’s overtime.
Back pain and I are no strangers. It’s a recurring issue for me caused by, I’m told, years of poor posture plus the weight I’ve regained over time in the years after my diet. Some bouts last a day or two; some, only an hour before the pain dissipates at the mercy of ibuprofen. Not every incident requires a medical intervention.
My wife and I are still old-school enough that we still have the newspaper delivered twice a week. The Sunday edition of the Indianapolis Star has grocery coupons, occasionally meaty stories of local interest, and Bill Amend’s FoxTrot. The Thursday edition has a weekly section with a few pages focusing on our side of Indianapolis, a thorough list of indie films opening Friday in large cities that will never see the light of day in Indy, and the wicked insight of the current bearer of the proud Miss Manners mantle.
The Sunday paper is still the heaviest newspaper of the week, but once I’ve finished perusing the worthwhile parts, the bulk of it doesn’t take long to plow through. I don’t shop through the classifieds. I don’t like sports. Their home decorating tips are for nicer houses and neighborhoods than ours. Letters from readers are partisan overreactions of gut feeling without the burden of spending five minutes researching their topic first. And the Procter & Gamble coupons always offer chintzy discounts on the same dozen overpriced products our household never uses.
Most quickly skipped are the two or three pages buried in the back of the lead section that cover recent college science studies. Usually they’re finds and results along the lines of “Study Concludes Too Much Coffee Ruins Sleep” or “Scientists Declare Coffee Drinkers Live Longer” or “Purdue Team Says Coffee Causes Tusk Cancer in Narwhals” or “Statistics Prove Coffee Improves Navel Lint Production” or “Survey Shows Coffee Causes Unnecessary Medical Surveys”. Those add little to my life and consequently receive not even the courtesy of a five-second skimming.
I always figured such pieces were a subtle form of space-filler between back-section ads. However, I was surprised to run across an online article of the same variety. Apparently, employees who sit down a lot are more likely to be sedentary and die more quickly that average:
“All-cause mortality increased as BMI increased from normal weight to overweight to obese (5.0, 6.8, and 9.4 deaths/1000 person-years, respectively). The trend was similar for CV/metabolic disease mortality (1.8, 2.8, and 4.4 deaths/1000 person-years, respectively). After adjusting for BMI and other variables (light and hard exercise, education, sex, general health, smoking status, and cardiac disease), sedentary work was associated with higher all-cause mortality and cardiac/metabolic disease mortality compared with occupations with significant walking, significant walking or lifting, or heavy physical labor.”
The conclusion reached through the miracle of science: somehow, non-exercise doesn’t give us the exercise we need to live.
Even more stunning: the article egregiously fails to warn me that I’m killing myself slowly through the mere act of sitting here, reading that article, and then typing about it. I don’t even have to be at work to place myself at risk. (And YOU, the Viewers at Home: unless you’re jogging and reading this on your cell phone at the same time, I’m enabling your own descent into the abyss. Dreadful sorry about that.) Sure, my fingers will stay healthy, but mere digits cannot support an entire arterial network on their own. Alas, if only they could. Perhaps college science should find a way to make that happen. Until that transcendent day, the lives of millions of cubicle dwellers and Internet denizens hang in the balance.
Really, though, I’m not sure how this merited posting online. Most websites don’t have space to fill, do they? At least I have an excuse: I’m distracted by the need to prepare for our road trip this weekend and should be doing other things right now. I doubt the purveyors of that special report on can say the same. If they can, awesome. I look forward to swapping Superman Celebration memories with them in person. Perhaps we should make a point of jogging in place while we share.