Foggy days

11
May
2013

And I am not just talking about the weather, although the last few days have been a mix of fog and rain and periods of glorious sunshine. I went to see the sports medicine specialist a few days ago about my back and he prescribed a round of prednisone which has really impeded my ability to concentrate the last few days. This drug is pretty toxic, they actually use the same on transplant patients to lower their immune system response to prevent rejection. It has made me weak and confused, and I am glad to be almost done with it. And although I think it has made my back pain a little better, mostly it has just changed the character of it somewhat from “pinchy” to “achey” if I had to describe the difference. And yesterday, I went to have an MRI for my lumbar area, and the doctor called later in the afternoon with the preliminary results. He told me there does seem to be a “disc issue” in the lower back between the 4th and 5th vertebrae. So I will go back to him next week for follow up. I like this guy, he is very upfront and it was nice that he called me to discuss the results in advance, but even he told me last week that if you took an MRI of any 10 people and looked at them, you would probably see problem areas or abnormalities, whether or not they were complaining of any pain. So it could be that my 4th and 5th vertebrae always looked like that, who knows. This naturally leads me to a question I always have vis a vis pain. Namely, if pain is a signal from your body to you that something is wrong, should you not fix it? Or does it really matter if you can simply get rid of the pain? Let’s say my vertebrae are screwed up or out of alignment from some perfect or “normal” state. So what if I am not experiencing any pain or discomfort because of it? One can also think of tons of examples where people are in pain, but there is no underlying problem to “fix”. The scientist/engineer/programmer in me can’t help but want to fix bugs and problems, but if there is no outward manifestation of these problems, and the body/machine/program is working, why bother chasing an underlying perfection? There are often times in my own work where (especially examining code that I wrote years ago) I see how something could have been built in a much more efficient or better way. I may cringe at design decisions I made at the time that I would never make today. But if the site or project continues to work just fine for the client, so what? Seeking perfection for its own sake is foolish, as it does not exist.