Thursday 15 November, 2007 – 21:25 by Swannie trying to survive.
You sit back on the lounge, feeling contented. Then you get the urge to do something (no, not that; away with that evil mind), and discover after saying hello to ground again (as Theo often says), you are a little short of what you need for a successful transaction. Or maybe you do get the urge to do something different (yes, even that), and learn at an embarrassing moment that it really takes more to finish the job than you imagined. So I’ve decided to list what I’ve so far found wrong, and what it means, even when we are talking about the consequences of just a few dead neural cells.
With a small hunk of the hind brain dead, you are short of memories (mainly those associated with learned movement habits) and spare neural cells (so any attempt at relearning movement habits is bound to find the "no one home" sign).
- The acceleration due to gravity is faster than the acceleration due to thought. You can learn to balance, provided you don’t move. Any movement at all requires thinking, and unfortunately the tendency for gravity to make you fall over acts faster than you can think of making the right muscle movements to stop you hitting the ground.
- The art of walking is a lost one. Walking is basically letting yourself fall and making your legs catch you. Because of all of the previously described, falling occurs faster than catching This results in repeated greetings from the ground.
- The art of standing is a lost one. Standing for a period requires habitual muscle movements to maintain balance and relieve strain on your joints. I’ve discovered that keeping joints locked stops you falling over, but you sure as hell ache after a while. At my mass, any attempts to move the muscles causes joint aches and pains, and since I prefer to avoid pain, I tend to avoid movement. As a result I have lost two kg but gained five cm in the past month.
- Lack of exercise has other consequences. These include loss of muscle tone, poorer blood oxygenation, a general feeling of malaise, and a sore bum.
- The art if doing any habitual movement is a lost one. For example, reaching for a tissue when you want to sneeze is likely to result in something being overturned as well as phlegm covering something else. Although I look like an old lady sometimes, I have found it safer to carry a tissue close to my mouth, just in case.
- I can’t sit down for long, since to breath correctly I need to bear weight on my legs. I had enough of nearly asphyxiating while in hospital to do it while supposedly free.
- Since I can’t stand up or sit down, lying down seems an obvious choice. Due to either the neural damage or damage done to my throat while under breathing assistance, my epiglottis doesn’t work properly. I have no objection to eating air, but my rooted lungs object to breathing food. Any attempt to rest on my back causes a choking fit from saliva. And I hate sleeping on my stomach.
- Using my mouth is a fun time even when I am not choking on my food or drink. When I try to talk, I tend to spit at people. If I concentrate on what I am doing otherwise, I drool a lot. Surprising how much time in company I spend concentrating on not drooling.
- In previous posts I have mentioned the problem with tepid coffee.
This post is getting long, so I will continue with more minor but equally annoying problems in the next post, "Coping (2)". Before you go on, get some anti-nausea medication, because it gets pretty graphic.
Thursday 15 November, 2007 – 21:28 by Swannie on surviving MRSA again.
As I said in "Coping (1)", trying to manage life when your neural damage has destroyed most of your habits and makes it impossible to learn replacements easily, is very damn hard. It is no good to be able to manage 99% of a job when the remaining bit is totally beyond any reasonable effort.
- Typing is largely a matter of habits controlling the fingers. Unfortunately, the mind forgets it doesn’t have those habits it sorta memorised anymore, and uncorrected typing is slow and reads like a touch typist whose fingers have missed the home keys.
- Let us not mention the back pain caused by trying to remain upright when typing. Oops, I did mention it! So I won’t mention that by virtue of a K-Mart swivel chair with arms, I have dramatically increased the length of my typing sessions from under an hour to nearly three hours. Cool!!!
- Incontinence is a problem in two main ways (yes, both functions are not as easily managed when you are missing a few nerves). In spite of the various means humans have developed to assist in the elimination of bodily wastes, none seem adaptable to situations involving lack of habits.
- A toilet surround works reasonably well, except it is hard to fit between the rails when you are bigger than average (I don’t mean what is between the legs, although that definitely rates pretty well too). You simply can’t reach certain areas adequately. It is a choice of a sore orifice or leaving skid marks (unless you can afford a bidet).
- When you get the urge to suddenly go, you restrain yourself until Nature forces her hand. This becomes a habit. So you learn to head off at the first sign of impending doom. When it takes a long time to get to the appropriate place, and you have to concentrate on staying upright until you can sit down, you discover often that your incontinence pad is ineffective.
- I have heard women complain that men can stand up for the more frequently needed relief. Well, ladies I need the more frequent relief even more frequently. At the first hint of need, I have to go. At the first sight of the trough, it lets go no matter what containing thoughts I have. I spend so much time coming and going that I barely have the time to earn the need!
- In spite of ramps and rails, no one has discovered what to do with walking sticks. I have rarely encountered a trough with a convenient place against which to lean my sticks. And I have rarely encountered a sink where I can wash my hands without having to grab my sticks to get to a hand-dryer.
- Of course, if I used a wheelchair with a hole in the seat directly over a port a-potty, and wore a caftan, my worries would be over. I can’t say the same for those around me. Are not I the considerate one?
- Leaning is hard. If you lean just a little too far, you come off the chair and end on the floor. As strong as I am, I find that climbing back up is hard (and I am too heavy to be able to use help). I have found that sliding on my backside to the nearest wall, and sliding up that, helps. But I do have to be aware of obstacles on the floor and anything depending from the wall.
- Other matter, such as showering, shaving, getting dressed, cooking of any type, and movement of any type, all take longer and are harder. Just have to combine what you learn doing the essentials.
There are other minor difficulties, things we used to take for granted, I will talk about later. There are also some advantages in being in this state. When I think of them, I’ll include them in "Coping (3)", a post destined for the future. I will even attempt to talk about sex, if I can remember what it was like.