Sunday, 18 September 2011

Terra firma vs Terror firma

Since I completed the Bristol to Reading walk with Wendy and Spencer just before Easter, I have kept on with going to the gym, although that said I left it for about 8 weeks as my knees were suffering a bit from post-walk traumatic stress syndrome! The work that I had done in the gym leading up to the walk served me well, there is no way I would have achieved what I did without that preparation beforehand. Not forgetting the support I had from Wendy, Spencer, Uncle Tom and all...... I decided that my knees, along with my feet (which still haven't got over the shock) deserved a bit of a holiday - an eight week holiday to be precise!

That said - I've now climbed back into the saddle - the saddle, that is, of the stationary kind that you pedal on but doesn't take you anywhere! I have a bit of a propensity to fall off the non-stationary, two-wheeled variety, and its probably about 30 years since I sat on a horse. I have a tremendous respect for horses and their hooves and I prefer to admire them from afar. My children, on the other hand, have different views. Elise would love to learn to ride, but we are still a bit hesitant about it as she used to be very allergic to horses. That said, we think she may have grown out of it. Antonia is fascinated by them, and on being given the opportunity recently to give some snacks to two lovely horses who live in our village she literally jumped at the chance. Tim and I are not mentioning such things as "riding lessons" as we are all too well aware that these things do not come cheap, even at the promise of slave labour in exchange. This, I believe, is the preserve of those who are considerably more wealthy than us.

But, I digress. Having managed to miss my usual session on Friday evening owing to other commitments, I paid the gym a visit today. I've been getting on really well recently and I'm at the stage where I'm starting to push at the boundaries of my abilities with the intention of improving my not quite so muscular physique. I always follow, pretty much, the same routine which takes me about 90 minutes. First I warm up with some cv work on the upright bike followed by a session on the cross-trainer. I used to spend about 20 minutes on the rower, but for some strange reason since doing the walk I've found that within two to three minutes I'm experiencing pain in my right leg and I have to stop. Once warmed up I then spend about 50-60 minutes on various bits of apparatus focussing particularly on my back and shoulders. I really don't want to go back to the pain I was in two years ago from frozen shoulder. (Correction - I think pain is an inadequate description for frozen shoulder - it is absolute agony.)

Having been doing really well and enjoying the post-gym endorphin rush, today was a complete and utter unmitigated disaster. I felt as though I was wading in treacle (which, by the way, I adore on pancakes, especially when they are made by Elise). Five minutes on the bike and I was ready to lie down in a dark corner and die. And as for the cross-trainer - well I won't go there. I've been experiencing problems with resting tremor in my right arm over the past week or two, and my sleep pattern is completely up the spout with the result that I'm often in my kitchen at 3:00 in the morning emptying the dishwasher and doing that day's ironing. And if things are really bad I go in to anal mode and lay the table for breakfast, followed up by mopping the floor. Until about a month ago, I had been finding myself on some occasions, and in particular when in the local supermarket, doing a walk that would have been worthy of Monty Python. And then there's the freaky toe-curling that starts up without warning.....

I'm hoping that this is all just a bit of a blip - I have absolutely no intention of going to see my consultant until next July (no offence meant, its not personal). I'm not quite at full strength on one of my drugs yet - and I'm trying to put off upping that dose until I really need to. I know I'm only on 10 pills a day from a concoction of meds, and that this is nothing to the more seasoned Parkie-expert, but I feel that I'm rattling enough already.

There is, perhaps a more logical reason to all this is that I took my girls to the fair yesterday evening before the crowds started. Early evening is a much the better time to go to these things - you don't get quite so ripped off by the hike in prices as the evening wears on and you tend to get slightly longer than the obligatory 30 seconds. Bargain! I fear that I'm now suffering from the stress of a particularly harrowing ride that I hadn't seen in action that Antonia wanted to go on but wasn't allowed to unless accompanied by a responsible adult. Tim, being a bit of a humbug, had elected to stay at home, so that particular treat fell to me. Elise was also on the ride, but not in our lovely seat made for three, as she was with a friend, whilst said friend's Dad stayed well and truly on terra-firma. Within 10 seconds of the ride starting, we were not only pitched high up in the air, we were then tossed around like a piece of flotsam and jetsam in a mid-Atlantic storm. The experience was truly terrifying and being desperate to hide my total fear from Antonia I managed to keep a fixed smile on my face throughout whilst muttering through clenched teeth "sh*t, sh*t, sh*t" over and over - interspersed with the odd prayer to my maker that we survive the ordeal! Antonia, on the other hand, absolutely loved it and spent the entire ride screaming with laughter, whilst I choked back my vomit, terror and screams of fear. As you can imagine, I was delighted when we finally slowed down - at last I was going to be set free - not! Having ground to a halt, I was at the point of undoing our seatbelts when the bl**dy thing started up again - this time backwards - much to Antonia's delight! By the time I staggered off some minutes later, not only did I look as though I had been dragged through a hedge backwards, I was a total and utter quivering wreck. What few dopamine producing cells I had left in my brain had shut down in a state of panic! Can't say I blame them really - never ever again!

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