Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Ironically since I just decried most post-stroke tiredness as a learned behaviour, I had to take a rest this afternoon; I was just physically beat. 

I've been taking it fairly easy, given that I've had this chest bug: early nights, slow starts, no swimming, but I've still been exercising and stretching in the morning, and going to the gym. I guess I found out where my limits are at the moment; they keep getting better, which is good. 

I read recently, in a volume about stretching scientifically, that "flexibility improves from day to day, strength from week to week, speed from month to month, endurance from year to year." Now the person quoted (Ozolin) was talking about training Olympic athletes, but the biology is basically the same: it's going to take me a while to get my endurance back.

It has been something of a surprise, nevertheless, just how much having a relatively minor bug can take out of you. Normally, we'd mostly just shrug it off with some paracetamol and brazen it out. I count myself lucky that at present that's not an option for me: I get to experience full well how much effort we have to put in to fighting off an infection. I'm reminded that it really wasn't that long ago that a good bout of influenza could devastate a population.

All of which goes to say that my former employer, Google, had it right: when you have a bug, stay at home and get better. Don't bring it to the office to share, and don't go nuts working from home.

Which has nothing to do with what I wanted to talk about: myself, obviously. I have a tremor, and it seems to be getting worse (or not changing). It's in my right arm and hand, and I think it can be traced to muscle fibres in the bicep, forearm and hand that just won't relax. It's a pain in the neck because it means I can't hold a cup of fluid steady in my right hand (and guess where my stick is), and my writing is a lot worse than it would be without the tremor. 

It's clearly neurological; my guess is that those muscles were either contracted at a crucial moment of brain damage, which bites, or that they were not affected by the stroke, took on a lot of responsibility for making my hand and arm functional, and are now stuck, while the other muscles around fill in, and are acting against them (causing the intermittent tremor).

The biggest pain about the whole thing is that I have yet to come up with a strategy to fix this neural malfunction. I don't even know if my handwriting practice is actually reinforcing the tremor, which would be bad. Ditto with touch-typing, which has greatly improved, but the tremor renders slow.

I have an appointment with an acupuncturist, I'm continuing to learn and practice Tai Chi, I have another massage on Friday a foam roller (for self-myofascial release) arriving soon, and I continue to strengthen the muscles around the ones that are stuck, but I wonder if I just need time?