Victus Spiritus


Hacker Handicaps, Hamburgers, and CouchDB

27 Aug 2010

Most programmer types think that as long as their head and their hands are functioning they can crank out code. The past couple weeks have educated me that there is at least one other malady that can lay the most enthusiastic coder (without a laptop) low, and that devil is lower back pain.

I can't sit down. Well, I can but it hurts like hell. The act of going from sitting to standing is excruciating. Getting out of bed each morning must look like a bionic man slo-mo or bullet time from the matrix to my wife. I feel about twice my age while moving about, each action is measured. I don't move from a current satisfactory position unless the need is great.

After my lower back started aching two weeks ago, I went to see my doctor. He prescribed muscle relaxants and pain killers. I've used the muscle relaxants at night because they make me drowsy, and they seem to help me sleep comfortably.

I can't relax, even on a couch
The problem is I can't sit down and get any substantial development work done. It was a tremendous effort just getting node.js, connect, express and geo-couchdb installed over the last couple of days. Getting those tools setup is normally pretty trivial, but with an undercurrent of back pain, even the mundane becomes a trial.

The good news, with Tyler's help I think I got through the setup phase last night and I might get a chance to learn a little more about Erlang, the language couchdb is developed in. Later after the Cheeseburger Summit in Manhattan today, I can begin tweaking the interface. The cheeseburger lunch is a meetup I was introduced to by Kevin Marshall, he who has mastered the one day hack. Looking forward to catching up with Kevin, Dave Pinsen, Orian Marx, and Scott C. I'm not thrilled to think about the train ride in. I'll sit a little then stand the rest of the way in.