Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I've figured out...

... what's been eating away at me through these last few days of physical therapy: the fear that I will never again be able to relax in my own body.

The adjustments that Beatriz asks me to make while she is watching me are often so infintisimal as to be virtually imperceptible to the untrained eye. Certainly, they are not movements or adjustments that you learn how to make in the course of every day life and, therefore, come naturally (you know, pull L3 and L4 forward and rotate inward - see previous post.)

Further, the adjustments are for EVERYTHING and they're for virtually EVERYWHERE. (I'm reminded of the song Daisy sings at school "Clean up! Clean up! Everybody clean up! Everything! Everywhere!")

All of this is one thing when I have the trained eye of Beatriz on me but quite something else when I'm on my own trying to figure out if I am making all the appropriate adjustments with every movement.

Tonight I went for a walk down University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto, the main drag for restaurants and stores. My goal was to eat at a middle eastern restaurant and then cruise the stores for some retail therapy. Of course, I was practicing my new postures for walking, standing, and sitting.

IT. WAS. EXHAUSTING.

Both mentally and physically. I gained new pains/issues: my toes started cramping at one point, my left knee felt stiff and sore (new - usual pains were/are in my right - that's catching too, don't worry), and my left buttock started complaining. I have been told to adjust my pelvis, laterally left slightly, dropping my hip on the right side, relax my knees, align my feet forward, ground my big toe, stretch out all my other toes, and lean back a good 10-20 degrees from L3 and L4 only, basically trying to mimic the post below (except without my shoulders being back - I need to relax/round my upper back to avoid popping my ribs but, at the same time, push my right shoulder back.) Confused yet?


It's not comfortable, it doesn't feel natural, and I get tired very quickly. Further, I feel like, in trying to maintain, I'm frequently over-correcting and causing other issues.

Ditto issues with sitting except a lot of that is the result of the fact that I don't have a 19 degree foam pillow that I'm supposed to cart around with me to put on every seat I put my derriere on (no, I'm not kidding.)

Let's not even mention the mental space this occupies. 

I was doing all of this on my own, without chatting to a friend or dealing with a 3 year old. I can't imagine trying to carry on a conversation, let alone herding a toddler at the same time as constantly mentally scanning my body.

And this is only the beginning. 

It seems like every time I even breathe in Beatriz's presence, it prompts a new adjustment. The left side of my face is tight, apparently I'm grimacing on one side only and my eye won't open enough on the left (I sound like a stroke victim). When I think, I smile a little on that side and look up. I can't do either of those any more (even though they are somewhat unconscious... or at least they were: not any more.) So, there are the myofascial releases for my eyes, my forehead, and the left side of my face.

When gripping a bar during an exercise, Beatriz noticed that my left thumb's dorsal flexor is weak and so now there are the exercises for the left thumb with a pencil. To add to the myofascial release for my hands (because they're tight too) and the stretches for my other fingers (because they don't have the right range of motion.)

Take that level of small adjustment for every single limb and digit in my body and then you may be able to imagine how it has been for the past 3 days.

And let's not even MENTION the soul-destroying task of doing all exercises in a bra and tight shorts, while being videotaped and photographed, while Beatriz points out the folds of my skin, my slack muscle tone, and how I probably need to continue to lose weight.

Oh and let's not forget that my A-type personality is not appreciated in this new world. I move too fast. I talk too fast. I don't use the right "soothing, positive' words.

Hell, I am so tired of trying to remember how to behave on the cellular level that it's just one thing too many to have to make a personality 180 at the same time.

Maybe some folks can do it. Maybe I'll get there in the end. I don't know. I'm just sick of the hypervigilance and being picked apart.

What I wanted more than anything else when I walked out of that woman's house today, was to lay down on a bed and just sleep for the rest of my life. Of course, even that has to be carefully choreographed these days: pillows at certain angles, towel under left lumber at L3-4, towel under right thoracic and T5-6, right arm up but shoulder down, left knee straight at 10 degree angle away from body, right knee bent. 

Oh and don't WHATEVER YOU DO suddenly decide to get out of bed. No, no, no. Take your time. Go slowly. Move with conscious effort, one vertabrae at a time....

I'm done, I can't even continue. Just writing it makes me mad/frustrated/hopeless...

It may be what I need to do but I have no idea how I'm ever going to do it all.





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