Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kinesthetic memories

I remember saying this past spring that I wanted the whole onset of PM to be a bad memory someday. Well, regardless of what tomorrow brings, I can confidently say that today, it actually has become somewhat of a memory. By this, I mean that I actually tried to reach back and remember what it actually felt like to not be able to get myself out of bed, on/off of the toilet, or reach my own feet or head. I don't mean remembering what happened and what the experience was like (that part is vivid), but remembering the actual kinesthetic sensation. What it actually feels like to not be able to utilize your muscles. It's more difficult than it sounds, kind of like the way that you can only remember what it feels like to run a marathon by running another one, and then wondering why you felt the need to revive that memory in the first place. Can you remember how it feels to:
  • Try and raise yourself with your arms from a lying position? Who ever knew that your body weight was too great for your arms to support? How in the world did you get stuck on the floor beside the couch when you tried to get up but your core muscles didn't work, and your arms were too weak? You plopped back down, facefirst, and now you're stuck. The only way is to roll off onto your knees and hope that you can pull yourself up somehow, which is a risk because if you couldn't get yourself off of the couch, how in the hell are you going to get yourself off of the floor? You could just wait for your next visitor to come over and hope you don't have to pee before then. As you can tell, I'm an expert on strategy. I tried to raise myself out of the pool this afternoon, a simple move that is upper body strength-based. I still couldn't do it. Thought I was going to get rescued by a lifeguard for a second there, not too far off from my mother having to pull me off of the floor the first time I attempted the aforementioned "rolling off of couch onto knees" technique. The kinesthetic memory came back in a rush. (Points for using the word kinesthetic 3 times in this post, but I like it. Now 4 times.)
  • Or how about throwing something small into the trash can, basketball-style? The object only travels a couple of feet and falls pathetically short of the can, even though you heaved it with all your might. Airball. I remember getting some laughs when I did this in a meeting at work. I can actually still remember what my arm muscles felt like trying to perform this specific movement.

Now I mainly feel stiffness and the occasional odd muscle pain. Like I've mentioned before, I feel something almost like guilt over my strength renaissance. I reach for these memories because I don't want to take anything for granted or leave anyone behind. Revelation: I lamented over my lost athletic identity for months. Have I acquired a disease identity? And am I actually trying to maintain it? For what purposes? I'm sure that there are some adaptive mechanisms at work here, if nothing else, perhaps to soften the shock if/when there is a flare or another disease. There is perhaps a social benefit too, such as the desire to reach out to others who need a kindred spirit. How could we be kindred spirits if we put the whole thing behind us at the first chance we get? No, thanks... we need the kinesthetic memories (5!).

1 comment:

  1. I hope you do the LR marathon. I'll cheer for you from our back deck as you run on by!