May 5th, 2008

good mris pic

Mrissa's Correct And Cranky Rules for a Monday Morning

(applicable other days as well)

1. It turns out that legality is not the only standard of behavior required in civilized circles. If pointing out that you have broken no laws is all it takes for your circle of acquaintance to approve of your behavior, you need a better circle of acquaintance. This is true of presidential candidates, of Harry Potter RPGers, and of any other circle you care to name: it being legal to do something does not make it kind, tasteful, interesting, or a dozen other things that a person might wish it to be.

2. Until nanotechnology progresses further than it has to date, neither soaps nor linens are traps for the young or unwary guest, nor should they be treated as such. If you don't want someone washing their hands with something, don't put it in a soap dish by the sink. If you don't want someone drying their hands on something, don't hang it on a towel bar in the bathroom or set it on the bathroom counter conveniently close by if guests are on their way. If you suspect that you have left something unsuitable in the bathroom because your guests have caught you unawares, for heaven's sake dart in and check.

3. If someone is clinging to someone else's arm in a public place, please consider that she may not be doing it for affection's sake, and do not attempt to bully her into letting go. Your failure condition if you navigate around her is that you may have given leeway to someone who is fluttery with new romance: not necessary, certainly, but not catastrophic. Whereas your failure condition if you attempt to bull through her is that you may cause great inconvenience and further suffering to someone for whom walking around in an ordinary fashion is already more difficult than she would like it to be; anticipation of this problem may keep her from useful or enjoyable activities when she's having a difficult day. If you feel the need, you may glare discouragingly in case she's doing it for fun, because by this point she does not give the proverbial rodent's hindquarters what you think as long as you don't try to knock her down.
getting by

more damn vertigo

Okay, let's try something. Indulge me a minute.

Look up.

How long did it take you to decide which direction "up" was? Did you, in fact, think through the possible directions and make a decision? Or did you just...y'know...look up?

That is one of the things -- one, not the whole -- that happens with my PT exercises. If I am standing in the corner doing head movement exercises with my eyes closed, less than halfway through the set of exercises, I lose track of which way is up and which way is down. I have to consciously think, "up is away from your shoulder; move your chin away from your shoulder." Every time. For at least forty repetitions. Three times a day. Every day. The sensory disorientation does not go away when I open my eyes; then I have the visual cues in addition to the proprioceptive ones. But what I do not have is the one that you, unless you also have vestibular problems, just used automatically. I don't have the essential sense that up is up and down is down.

In my family, "she was so tired she didn't know which end was up," is an expression often applied to toddlers, sometimes to bigger people than that. It works the other way: not knowing which end is up is exhausting. And it is very, very literal. I know which end is up right now because my monitor and my computer have strong black vertical lines, and I am looking at them. My desk chair is currently locked so that it can't tip back, because if it could tip back, I would not have a sense of when it had. I can have the "I have leaned back too far and am flailing to keep from falling" reaction when a normal person would have it; I can have it at a few degrees off vertical; I can have it when I have not moved. It comes upon me at unpredictable intervals, and I have to correct for it every time, or fall.

It has been this way for months. They tell me it will be this way for months more. And one of the very hard things about it is that there are things I can't talk about without giving a misleading impression of whether it was a good or a bad experience. If, instead of point three in the previous entry, I'd written about how exhausting and frustrating it was to navigate MIA trading off which family member had my arm, it would have sounded like I'd had a bad afternoon. I didn't. I was with markgritter and my folks, and we looked at flower arrangements and more permanent kinds of art, and it was good. But writing about the reality of the vertiginous aspect of it would make it sound like it was bad, like I'd had a horrible time. I didn't. MIA patrons were no more inconsiderate, no more physically rude, than strangers anywhere else. And that's the problem: that even the good days, even the good times, are really exhausting and a lot of trouble. They are worth the trouble. They are worth the exhaustion. I feel it's generally a good idea to work for the good things in your life, even when the good things are smaller and the work is harder. But what frustrates me is that I seem to have a choice between describing the hairy, frankly awful details, and having them swamp the idea that it was a good time, or else not describing them, and having people assume that they're going away, that I must be feeling better or I wouldn't be out and about. I'm not. I'm just going completely stir-crazy.

Every week of PT, I think, "All right, this is the hardest bit." I think I'm going to keep thinking that until it's over. Because I think it's going to keep being true.