Not the time of year, but the adventure of tumbling to the ground unceremoniously. Falling has become a new part of my daily struggle with ALS. Fortunately no really serious consequences so far – no broken bones, just a few bruises – including my ego.
While the underlying cause is clearly my weak left leg and the balance issues resulting from uneven leg strength, the proximate cause in every case is failing to be attentive to my movements. A simple move turning from the microwave to the counter with a bowl of oatmeal in my hands plopped me on the kitchen floor because I was not focusing on what is essentially a complex set of maneuvers – twisting, extending arms, shifting weight, balancing the warm food dish, lowering arms. That used to be one smooth, automatic motion. Now I must concentrate on each step, or face the hard task of getting myself up from the floor – also a complex set of movements these days. Even walking in a straight line can be an adventure.
Turns out jumping out of an airplane is easier than cooking my morning oatmeal. Of course, it helped to be strapped to Sven!
Needing to pay careful attention to each movement is one of the constants of my new life. I can not even begin to estimate how many brain cycles I devote to what were once routine activities accomplished with little real thought. Each step, turn, gesture or movement requires conscious focus to avoid disaster. “Speaking” with pen and paper requires the same high attention level. All those dedicated brain cycles are clearly taking much more energy and robbing from more creative tasks. That may help explain some of the “dumb” things I have been doing lately.
Not exactly how I thought mindfulness would work.