Monday, April 29, 2013

Days Since Last Accident

Back in college I used to do a gag where I'd walk with my head to the side talking to someone, then deliberately slam into a doorway. It apparently shocked a few of my friends and so eventually I stopped. I realize now how alarming that must have been, and see that gag as a way of acting out my frustration about something that regularly happened to me without my choice. I ran into doorways. I smashed against tables. I knocked over lamps. Things jumped out at me shockingly. I broke dishes. I was the embodiment of a bull in a china shop. I did feel like I was kind of battling against the world. Colliding and trying to gracefully recover, maintain my dignity, and move on.

After surgery, as I have reported here many times, my view of the world has changed. I feel now much more like I am in the middle of a big dome, with all my experience surrounding me. Doorways are no longer surprises, but in their position in the hallway, easily understood and navigated around.

But my "Days Since Last Accident" counter is regularly re-set to zero, even now. I still collide with things, but it is much better. Much much better. With more time and experience, I will be able to clock some days on that counter.

In recent years I had started dealing with my balance and coordination issues by going to yoga. I have attended classes at O2 Yoga  regularly for the past few years. I love the flexibility and core strength exercise, the full-body approach that leaves you feeling like you glow in the dark. I am getting pretty good at the flexibility poses, despite chronic tightness in the calves and hamstrings. I can do twists, and my body has elongated in a way where I've unlocked a lot more flexibility in my shoulders, back and core area.

One area of chronic weakness is leg balances. I cannot stand on one leg easily, and cannot sustain it. I am very wobbly and unsteady, and despite all the admonishments about stacking the bones and flexing the toes, I cannot sustain a good leg pose.

Some months before surgery, I complained about this to Mimi the owner of o2. She mentioned that my lazy eye could definitely contribute to balance issues, as the brain is getting conflicting information and the left and right sides are off-kilter. Additionally, it occurred to me that my nystagmus makes it very challenging for me to focus on one spot, an essential skill to gain the kind of gaze that supports balance poses. It's hard for me to feel still and grounded with my eyes jerking around. I was hoping surgery would help this, but thus far my nystagmus is not much better in either eye. I can maybe control it a bit more, but it's hard to fight off the eyes' impulse to move.

My goal with eye surgery was to remove the conflict between the two eyes, and give them the chance to work together. Removing the conflict and correcting the left-right alignment would improve my overall sense of balance. As of now, I would say that I can see where it's going but it's still a little early to tell. My brain is still adjusting, and I am very wobbly in some situations. Before surgery I could smoothly go from down dog to high lunge with confidence, but not so nowadays. Holding some poses just makes me stumble.

I do feel however that I have a stronger more stable base now. Someone shoved a folded paper under the table leg and now you can play Jenga on it.  And with that stability of vision I have a better fundamental awareness of the world now that I didn't before. This new awareness will help me get to a better sense of balance, I can see where it's going, but I have to walk the road to get there. Here's my answer to that -

Strap them boots on!

No comments:

Post a Comment