Thursday, July 16, 2009

Spins (minus the spinning)

Not a good day.

Do you remember childhood city-park mini-merry-go-rounds? You know, those little things about six-ish feet across, and you'd get on them, and spin and spin and spin and spin, and then you'd get off, and the whole world was still spinning underneath you?

That's very much where I am today. The silent high pitched scream, the somehow-unbound-to-the-world-ness, all the concomitant "side effects" of the over-spinning, minus (thank God) the actual spinning sensation.

I had intended--planned--on going to go to yoga class today, a "challenging conditions" class. My wife and I have been talking about starting yoga for months--OK, years--and today was going to be the day. I spent ten minutes outside doing something around 9AM this morning, and I knew something was terribly wrong as I was walking back into the house.

Called my doctor, who very kindly returned my call very quickly after I called him; once he understood exactly what my symptoms were, he said that yes, this is a very typical MS experience. It ends when it ends, sometimes it lasts for minutes, sometimes for days; just hang on for the ride. He said it also might be a treatment reaction, the technical term for a bumpy ride post-acupuncturing while your energy/body/everything processes the changes the treatment is putting you through. (It's not exactly a "side effect" as such, but it's an expected part of the treatment process. When you're cleaning the kitchen and you suddenly discover something that hasn't been cleaned in far too long, and it looks or smells like long years of neglect and decay? That's the basic idea.) I suspected as much, I've been going through a bit of an emotional roller coaster as well.

His prescription: Lay low (his exact words). Stay cool, try doing the "legs up along the wall" yoga inversion (sorry, at the moment I've forgotten the name for that position). Eric Small, famed Iyengar-for-MS-yoga instructor, recommends this last item for all of us "neurologicals" as he calls them; according to my doctor, he says we should do it first thing in the morning every day, just like brushing our teeth. I did in fact do that, and while I was in the position the non-spinning spins did indeed go away. Of course, they came back when I stood up, but it wasn't as bad. I'm going to dig out Small's yoga book, which has the directions for the props you're supposed to use, and go back into that position.

I believe it was Robert Heinlein who said that the way to ride a tiger was, "Hang on to its ears and try not to fall off." Well, I guess that's the plan for the immediate future.

I was going to end with something profound and philosophical, something about patience and acceptance being gifts of MS, which I suppose they are, but I'm not really in the mood for profundity, philosophy, patience, or acceptance; so, then I might have attempted some comedy by juxtaposing that with something like "Well, SCREW patience, just gimme my freakin' REMISSION and leave me alone;" I might then have turned to some wry musings on the differences between true transcendant acceptance and dead-end defeatism.

About all I can muster right now is...

Well. Here we are.

... It's a start.

1 comment:

Denver Refashionista said...

The spins, dizziness and vertigo are my most dreaded symptoms. I have been having a lot of this lately too. I notice I get a little dizzy in yoga. Sometimes my eyes focus poorly and the vertigo kicks in. It seems like the heat is stirring things up. Mine comes and goes but if it lasts more than a few days, I call for steroids. Stay in touch with your doctor if this continues because your brain could be swollen and then it won't just go away on its own. Steroids have helped me with this every time.