Powering Through

I hurt myself the day before yesterday. After a weightlifting practice, there was a higher intensity portion of the workout that involved a similar movement. I didn’t think to remove weight from the bar, and after 12 minutes of a 15 minute AMRAP, I felt a stabbing twinge between my shoulder blades. After a few hours, it was uncomfortable enough to take some Tylenol and complain a lot. Most of the evening I spent lying directly on my back, or on my chest, spreading my upper back out as much as possible to alleviate the pressure. I took a few more Tylenol and went to bed, and largely slept in the same position.

Yesterday my back still felt tight. Better, but still tight and twinge-y when I twisted quickly. I took a few more Tylenol in the morning. I decided to let my workout slide and take a rest day.

This morning the tightness remains, but little pain. I notice it from time to time, as I wiggle my shoulders, exaggerating them into circles under the guise of a stretch. When I push my chest out wide, I can feel a small indent, as if someone is digging their thumb into the flesh directly under the tip my right scapula. I plan on taking another rest day, and am considering another tomorrow.

I try not to power through stuff much. Powering through pain is the right way to seriously hurt yourself.


When I was 34, I was 320 pounds(ish), loud, big, terribly funny, and devilishly handsome. Every once in a while, I went into the doctor’s office, and heard the spiel about my blood pressure, and how I should lose weight. In my life, I have almost always been big. When I was a kid, my dad called me the ‘little one’, because I was 1) his youngest, and 2) at 13 years old, 3 inches taller and 15 pounds heavier then he.

Dad was both stocky and wiry; he seemed electric. Quick and powerful. He was also not terribly funny. He always laughed at his own jokes. He still does. I was big and strong and always had been. When we moved out of the bar in Elk River, I held up one end of the hide-a-bed, he and my older brother, the other.


In November of 2013, I noticed a cough that was sticking around longer than I expected. I still came into the office. I could power through. On Friday, seven or eight of us developers from {redacted} went to a downtown bar, that had a large restaurant seating area. Most of us drank a beer, had a burger, and then made the trek back to the office, mostly laughing about Star Wars, meat, or whatever libertarian idea some of the more political friends had proposed.

I could not keep up with my friends up the stairs. Each step, I fell behind. I could not catch my breath fast enough. When I did finally make it up those steps, the group was happily laughing a hundred feet ahead of me. I had seen enough episodes of House to know that this was some kind of walking pneumonia. I just needed to get to a doctor to get some antibiotics.

I would have to go all the way to a doctor to get a prescription. What a damned waste of time.

Walking back to the office, slowly, slightly downhill, I began to feel better. I caught up with my co-workers, they asked about where I went, and I made a joke about noticing an attractive woman and losing my interest in them. It was time to power through the rest of the day.

That night I could not fall asleep. As soon as I would lay on my back, I would start coughing. Whatever was in my lungs just would not go away.

I went in to the doctor in the morning. My normal doctor was not there, but the on-call guy would be just as good. It does not take a lot of experience to prescribe antibiotics.

I went back into the office with a ‘I do not have time for any BS, let’s get this done’ nurse. I liked her; she was quick to laugh. She asked what I was there for, and I told her with a joke. She laughed easily, quickly wrote things on my chart while she went through the basics of a checkup. I was two steps away from a consult with a doctor, then a trip to the pharmacy.

She wanted to get my blood pressure. It had not been taken for a while. Her mouth set hard and her eyes opened very wide as she looked at the gauge on the blood pressure machine. I remember telling her that I knew it was high. She opened her eyes wider, stood up, and headed out of the room while the cuff remained on my arm. The doctor came in. Reran the test. Then asked if he could look into my eyes. “Sure doc. Just don’t fall in love or anything…”

I remember two other points on that day, but the rest is gone.

The X-Ray tech asking me what happened, why he was X-raying my chest, if I got into a fight or something. Getting a few bottles from the pharmacy, and the pretty pharmacist looking up at me, “Are you OK?”

“I’ll power through.”


To be continued…

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