Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine Update

I'm combining this month's update with last week's goal report, both of which are late. Saturday and Sunday the snow kept me housebound: there was a lot of it, and it wasn't cleared enough for me to walk on without too great a risk to limbs, ass, and dignity. Not that I give much of a damn about my dignity any more. 

Monday, I thought it would be clear enough to go all of two blocks to pick up yet more drugs from Rite Aid. This thought was a mistaken one. The two blocks there and back were so wretched in the rain with uncleared sidewalks, half-block detours, near calamity and general precipitation induced misery that I gave up on the whole day and wrote it off. So three days of playing XCOM ensued. Not a complete loss, though, because I have discovered that console games improve my right hand's dexterity and sensitivity. Good thing, too, since XCOM is so damned good. 

Today, Tuesday, I was back at the gym, and stronger, if unsteadier. Before I went, I could hear the start of that siren call to indolence, but quashed it easily. I did wonder if that was how the depressive slump could start though: obsessive interest in something distracting, initially with a good reason, but soon disregarding the flimsy pretext for being sedentary. 

To the update:

Vision hasn't changed noticeably, but my left eye is coming closer to closing. There are signs of life in the lower lid, which seems to be closing at night. It doesn't blink so well, and it's a son of a bitch to get moving, but I'm certain it's attributable to acupuncture. No change in the oscillopsia yet, nor obvious change in the diplopia, but I'm seeing an ophthalmologist soon, so who knows what that may bring. It turns out the video of my one-and-a-half syndrome is still on tape on the neuro-ophthalmologist's desk, but when it's digitized, expect a link!

My left facial palsy is gradually lifting, again thanks to acupuncture. It's a bit weird having all those needles shoved in my face, but it's working. I still only smile with the right side of my mouth, but I'm confident that the left will join in soon.

Toiling away in the gym and pool has been improving my strength and endurance, but the right side weakness still exists. It's really noticeable doing something like a dumbbell chest press, where my left hand lifts the weight smoothly and cleanly, but the right hand wobbles and the arm begins to struggle sooner.

Balance has definitely improved, most clearly visibly at the gym, again, where I can now actually do standing dumbbell calf raises without falling over (mostly). I seem to be swaying backwards and forwards, though, even when I have a steadying point under my hand. This swaying explains a lot of the apparently random pitching forward and stepping back that I've been doing, but I'm currently at a loss to correct it. 

The period of the sway does not match the period of the tremor, which I think is improving, again thanks to acupuncture. One of the needles in particular hurt like hell in time with the impulse to twitch, so maybe the needles are reconditioning my arm not to move in a bad way. Who knows? I still slept for two hours solidly, pain or no pain, so the needles were doing something!

The exciting new discovery is that I'm slightly deaf in my left ear. Not enough for me to have noticed before now, but my snoozing alarm increases in volume, and I realized that I could hear it first through my right ear, even when it was closer to my left. It's not a huge deal, so I'm not worried about it, but it is consistent with the theory that I have some left side vestibular damage.

All in all, not too bad, considering that a year ago I was just starting to add some weight machines into my gym routine, and leaving my stick behind in the gym was pretty scary.

I should thank the anonymous benefactors who got me hand grip strengtheners and a pull-up bar from my Amazon wish list; I have used both and they are doing me good! I haven't figured out how to find out who was that kind from the interface, so they are anonymous pro tem.. 

Finally, here's the week's progress report. Three days off mean a big fail on most of the goals, but snowpocalypse and I saved humanity from an alien invasion, so I think I'm allowed.

Weight Goal: 170lb. Last week: 198lb, this week: 197lb.

Exercise Goal: gym 3-4x, swim 2-3x - This week: M:swim, T: day off!, W: Swim, Th: Upper, F: Swim, Sat/Sun: snow

Meditation: M, T, W, Th, F

Tai Chi: M, T, W, Th, F

Stretching Goal: after every gym - Th,

Writing Goal: write at least one word a day on Project #1: M: 42, T: 0, W: 68, Th: 46, F: 117


  1. Heh, I finally have a symptom to share - I found out that my hearing in my right ear was impaired in just the same way you did, by not hearing the alarm.

    As a musician, this sucks - however, I'm quite sure that's how I got the problem in the first place.

    Since I'm always one for home remedies on your blog, I'll point out that I got some marginal improvement by soaking it in hydrogen peroxide - but I suspect in your case that won't be effective.

    Spare some thought for at least one friend of mine who has tinnitus - instead of hearing less, he hears a constant high-pitched whine. I would break things...

    I'm very impressed at your general improvement. I don't think you can know for sure that this is because of the acupuncture (the skeptic speaks :-D) but don't look a gift recovery in the mouth.


    1. Sorry about your deafness, Tom, it must be worse for musical types. My damage, of course, is to the brain, rather than the ear itself, so it's hard to see how H2O2 in the ear canal would help. Tinnitus would be a big challenge: another reminder that I have it fairly easy.

      I have much to say about acupuncture, coming soon!

  2. Actually, the stab wound I got in my left thumb is much more bothersome when I'm actually doing music, I really don't notice the loss but I do notice the lack of sensation in the thumb.

    Interestingly enough, on my main instrument I don't notice it at all - indeed, I have the perception that I feel the keys. But when I try to play, say, the keyboard the lack of sensation screams at me.

    I notice the hearing difficulties mostly when talking to people. But it's been good for me - staring at people's mouths while they speak works very well and makes you look interested too. As long as it doesn't get much worse, I'll be perfectly satisfied...


Please say what you're thinking, be excellent to each other, assume the best in other people, and just don't be a dick!