Friday, October 01, 2004


John's email about workouts reminded me that I need to resume jogging, and go to the gym more. Well today I went running for the first time in weeks, and for the first time in my running life, I ran like a disabled person. What I mean is that, if you had seen me, you would have noticed this gimpy action as I ran.

The reason is that after I push off with the left leg, and bring it forward, the bent knee just does not relax and release down to let me land on the left foot in time. So it is still partly bent, and my frame gimps as it tries to compensate.

Ever in denial, though, I have two thoughts. One is that it has been a long time since I ran, and so I may be able to work my way out of this. The other is that if I do warm-up exercises before I run, the muscles in the left leg may be able to "let go" more readily.

Of course, the standard analysis would be that the nerve signals for letting go are just not getting to the leg muscles. Well, to counter that, I say that my hunch is that the nerve pathways for running are in some large part reflexive, between the leg and the spine, even though running itself is a function of the voluntary motor nerves. So if I get my muscles warmed up, and get back into running more regularly, I may be able to compensate for this problem.

I've often wondered what it would be like to be disabled. Just the other day I was thinking that, although I have some physical problems, like the slow and weak limbs, I'm not disabled yet -- because I can still do everything I want to do.

Well today I wanted to go running, and I couldn't quite do that. Disabled? I guess.

It's a hard thing for my spirit to adjust to, because, in my mind, I'm still that guy who can run 10 miles in the hills. I still think of myself that way.

And except for the fact that my body won't let me ... I still am.

While the kids were napping, my wife and I cried together a little, which made things feel better.

After changing the wet sheets on my boy's bed upstairs, and relapsing into being sad about the running results, I was able to punch the Winnie the Pooh hanging from the ceiling three times in rapid succession with the right hand.

The kids were downstairs making art.

I came downstairs and tested my inhaled volume: 4900 mL on the first try. Improving.

In the back yard around sunset, the kids were planting with my wife, and I touched the sun-warmed stucco walls which I put up myself in 2001. They're something of an emotional touchstone for me, since I was strong then, and pushed my body like a thing on weekend and evenings, to finish the job, knowing that my body would heal and the aches would be temporary.

Two walls meet at a 45-degree angle. I wedged my nose into the nicely-made corner until my cheekbones came to rest, one on each wall. I put my palms on the walls too. The warmth of the house bathed my face.

It's a subjective thing, like always, but it seems like I've been having more fasciculations lately, since getting over the cough (though I still wheeze sometimes when talking, and even cough sometimes). It's weird, feeling fasciculations on your face, most strange of all, on the bridge of your nose. Barbara Eden. At night when you put your ear on the pillow, you can hear the tiny muscles in your face twitching invisibly. For best metaphoric shock I could say it's like listening to a seismograph, or a telegraph. But mostly it's fainter, and faster, than both. It's like listening to electricity, more precisely, listening to an EMG.

And then, if you know how to relax and truly not worry about anything, the sound stops.
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