Monday, April 23, 2012

My Standing Desk Adventure

So, for those of you who don't know, my leg is shriveling up.

Okay, it's getting better now. But for a while there, it was really shriveling up. I went to the doctor about some back spasms I was having, which seemed totally normal on the surface because about ten years ago now I f*cked the everliving sh*t out of my back, in that “holy crap how are you still walking” kind of way, and long story short, I have chronic back problems, and they're unpronounceable.

Of course I had to go to a new doctor, cause I recently moved, and I was telling him all the stuff that happened to my back – fell down, fractured L3 vertebra, spondylolisthesis at L3, car accident, trauma-induced scoliosis from T1 to T12 and reversal of cervical curve – and how I was having spasms in my neck and between my shoulders (normal) and spasms in my lower back (not so normal) and he was all, “Anything else?” and I was all, “No...Oh, wait, actually, lately I've been having shin splints after I jog but only in my right leg.”

As it turns out, you don't get shin splints in only one leg. So the doc checked out my right leg and it turns out it's shriveling up. Apparently the displaced vertebra in my lumbar spine has displaced a little bit more and caused some nerve damage which led to some muscle atrophy which would have caused the leg to shrivel up whole buttloads more if I hadn't thought to mention it, so go me.

I'm currently going through some therapy to counteract the leg shriveling, and yes, it's growing back, though not without a ton of odd and sometimes unpleasant sensations in the shriveled leg at all times. Doc seems to think it's the sitting down to work for several hours a day that's to blame for this particular episode of My F*cked Up Back, not to mention the several additional hours sitting down to look at Cracked, Memebase, Facebook and Pinterest, and of course, this blog.

The things I do for you people.

For those of you who don't know, recovery from these kinds of things generally involves (*shudder*) “lifestyle changes,” and so I was, ahem, 'strongly advised' to stop sitting down so much, as in, work standing up.

Everyone I've told about this has had the same half-horrified, half-panicked reaction that you're having right now, like, Oh my gawd you can't do that, how can you do that, that's just unacceptable man YOU CAN'T DO THAT, and you know, I wasn't exactly excited about it to begin with myself, but GUESS WHAT.


For the first week or so, I hated it. My legs were insanely tired – both of them, not just the shriveled one – and my feet hurt like you wouldn't believe. I wouldn't say it was the worst pain I'd ever experienced, cause you know, broken back and all, but it was bad enough that by the end of the day I was hobbling around because my feet were actually sore to the touch.


But I soldiered through, because I'm tough, and it's not as if I've never spent a day on my feet before. And eventually, miraculously (ok, maybe not miraculously), I got used to it. And now, I can't believe I haven't been doing it this way the whole time. I mean, I'm telling you guys, THIS SH*T ROCKS. For instance:

  • My neck feels better than it's felt in years. I used to have pretty much constant discomfort in my neck and shoulders, but now it has totally cleared up. Just like that.
  • I sleep better too – and this is coming from an insomniac who's turned staying up all night into an Olympic sport. If I was in the Hunger Games, I'd win by sheer virtue of never closing my eyes.
  • According to what I've read online, standing up burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting down. So I don't have to worry so much about that ten pounds I've gained since I quit smoking.
  • For that matter, according to my friend Kathryn and this author, sitting down all day will straight-up freaking kill you, man.
  • I concentrate much better now, which is kind of important since my paycheck depends on actually getting stuff done, and not just looking busy till it's time to go home.
  • I've also stopped sitting on the computer for hours after I've finished work, and have found lots of free time to do other things, like watch TV.

Oh TV, I've missed you.

  • And the best part of all, as of last Tuesday, I've regained one centimeter of muscle mass on the circumference of my shriveled leg, which means I've gained back fifty percent of what I'd lost.

So, yeah, do try this at home, I definitely recommend it.