Wednesday, October 13, 2004

it's all in the brain, baby.

over the past few weeks, my tinnitus has returned, and with it, every once in a while, the headaches as well.

it started in the week before dirk had to move out of the house, a week full of stress and worries of various kinds.

suddenly it was there again, the familiar, annoying electric sound in my right ear. usually especially noisy at night, making it hard to fall asleep again. i immediately made an appointment to see chris to fix it, as he had told me to do when we were finished with my initial treatment for it. treatment that had been successful, i might add, in that it left me noise free for almost three months.
when my dad wound up in hopsital though, i had to cancel that appointment to head up north to assist him while recovering at home, and my mom in the shop. so treatment was delayed until last week.
i've had three session so far, and last night, chris knocked me out, completely.

what he does is called myoreflex therapy.
it's a quite new, quite innovative, highly effective, manual therapy thing. during myo, all the physio does is locate muscles (usually the places where they are connected to bones) and nerves, presses them to ultimately retune the brain so that whatever was the problem - pain or tension will go away. my tinnitus for example is closely connected to intense tension and blockage in my jaw.

myo is painful.
very painful at times. the first few times i ever got myo for the tension headaches/tinnitus, i almost cried. awful stuff. strangely enough, the pain changes during therapy. once a certain spot has been located, the therapist applies steady pressure. usually, it hurts intensely at first, and then fades away until you hardly feel anything. also, as the point on your muscle is pressured, you sometimes feel where the point radiates to. yesterday, for example, pressing spots on the front side of my neck, i felt intense tingling on the side of my face and across my forehead. hello, trigeminus nerve. what fun.

it's calm , myo.
you just lie there, do little but endure what's being done to you, describing whether you feel anything besides the points being pressured.
it's quite intimate, too, in that the therapist feels around inside your body. in strange places, sometimes. when treating my knee, chris has, in the past, gotten up close and personal with my hipbones and got to lower levels of my abs which i never knew existed. yesterday, he pressured, believe it or not, my diaphragm (the muscle, yes. i use other methods for contraception).
a strange sensation, that one.

so yesterday, i got a killer session of myo.
an hour worth of myo. usually, it's 20 to 30 minutes. maybe followed by some fango or massage. yesterday, chris tried to find the off button for my tinnitus. he didn't find it, at least not immediately.
in the process, however, he knocked me out.

it was enjoyable, actually. the getting there at least.
i was amazed that all's fine and dandy between us, for starters. no strangeness, no embarrassed discussions, nothing. it was all cool and relaxed, straight away. good for both of us, i'd say. are we adults? i think we are. how nice, for a change.

chris started with feeling my neck and gently bending it. he relaxed my jaw and then made me lay down and started working on all those spots on my head. he pressed spots on my jaw and made me move it in various directions, which hurt like hell. he pressed spots on my neck and chest.he pressed spots on my face. he gently pressured my eyes and eyebrows. and it hurt, and it got better, and it hurt some more, and all the time my tinnitus kept zooming in and out and in and out, getting louder or almost inaudible at random. bizarre.

suddenly an hour had passed, and i was supposed to sit up for some final moves, the above mentioned diaphragm thing, and some pressure to spots on my shoulders. and then i was supposed to get up and walk.
and i couldn't really.
i didn't realise it at first. chris looked at me, saying something along the lines of "oh, you're sleepy now, are you?" and i thought, no no, i'm fine, i'll be alright, i can do anything.

well, i could at first. somehow i managed to put my jumper back on, and my my shoes and my jacket and i could grab my heavy backpack, too. i managed to put it on, as well, but suddenly i couldn't do much more.

i could't hold my head up, and i couldn't see properly, either. the back of my head felt as if being weighed down by a heavy object. i had to consciously think about every physical action i wanted to do take.
chris had already left the therapy room to check when our next appointment would be as i attempted to walk out of the therapy room.
("right foot. left foot. right foot. left foot. where? eyes open? ???? eyes? hello, eyes? where are you??")
carsten, my gyrokinesis coach, was teaching gyrotonic at one of the machines, looked at me and said something like "oh, you really got some tonight, eh? i know someone who'll sleep well tonight!" and all i could reply was -in a totally hectic tone- "i can't sleep. i need to clean my flat." which was correct, yes, but sounded so ocd. (*cough cough*) at least without the context that i had just gotten new windows installed in my appartment that afternoon, and that everything was covered in fine grey dust to which i am allergic. not just allergic because i don't like it. i am allergic to certain kinds of cement. the kind that was all over my flat, in dusty form. yay.

i said goodbye to chris, who was getting ready to leave, too, and left.
i managed to open the door and walk. or sort of walk. walking was hard, really hard. i had to walk down five fligths of stairs, all the while thinking "you. should. sit. down. you. can't. walk. you can't hold up your head. you. can't. see." fuck, was i tempted to sit down and just do nothing. i guess i should have simply waited for chris, who was leaving then, too, i think. he should have accompanied me home, having realised how out of it i was. i should have asked him to.
but for some reason (well, last thursday, maybe?) i thought, "no, don't bother him, you can do this alone."

i somehow got down to street level, where i waited at the door for a little while, trying to see, trying to adjust my eyes to the darkness outside and the lights from the traffic, trying to tell my arm to push against the door. nothing of that worked.
i thought, "well, where's chris, he should be out there by now, if he left shortly after me." still pondering whether i should ask him for help.
but i didn't, and somehow managed to push against the door and actually walk, on autopilot, along the road, heading home.
it was surreal. i stopped at traffic lights. i put one foot in front of the other. i realised other people were around, but i wasn't totally conscious. it was a little like being totally drunk, not having control of your body, just with a clearer head.

walking, thinking, holding my head up, looking straight all took immense amounts of strength.
i stopped at the whole foods store along the way, thinking that i needed to buy something ready to eat because i felt totally unable to cook as i had planned to. not that i managed to act along that plan.i bought tea and crisps and vegan choc and organic licorice (can you spell trashy vegan fast food?) and let everything fall down at least three times on the way to the check out.
i was super slow there, and the check out gal, eager to close shop was getting annoyed and i thought i should tell her what was up with me, and at the same time knew how stupid that would sound. i realised i was looking and acting as if i was drugged. i guess that in many ways i actually was drugged -just by something from my body.
as everything was at the check out, i realised i didn't know whether there was gelatine in the organic licorice from finnland and i tried reading the label, and couldn't find a language on it i could read. because i couldn't really read at all.
somehow though, i managed to pay, and pack my things up and walk home.
in all, it took 20 minutes to walk the short distance from st.john's church home. it's not far, maybe one kilometre.

at home, the new windows, the covered and moved furiture and the grey dust greeted me, and i was overwhelmed by what was ahead for me that evening. going straight to bed, what carsten had recommended, sounded great but i knew i couldn't, with all that dust still out and about.

over the next few hours, i slowly came down. somewhat.
i managed to eat something, i managed to clean my flat, one piece at a time. i managed to send an sms to chris asking what the hell he had done to me. he wrote back saying he was sorry, he had kinda expected that i'd be totally knocked out. he promised a refund. of what kind though i wonder?
today, i'm still feeling a bit fragile. woke up at 3am, wide awake, unable to fall asleep again; until 5:30am, that is, when all i had left was 45 minutes of rest before having to get up to get to carsten's gyrokinesis class.

i never knew that my body could react this way. to touch. scary.
maybe this was chris test-driving what he needed to do to break my will, as two bottles of wine didn't prove to be enough. ha. just kidding, obviously.

it's quite alright, otherwise. apart from the itchy dust that's still all over the place, that is.

i'll be looking after the internet cafe for a little while this afternoon, to allow dieter marco and kh to check out a place they might want to rent. a little later i'll meet marcel for coffee. tonight, fred from the tour will be in town with a client and we'll go out for dinner, drinks and -doubtlessly- lots of cycling talk. he told me when he called, that he managed to chat with both basso and bjarne rijs later on the day that we met. amazing. need to remember to tell him about my standing next to sebastian lang at a red light. he.
i'm looking forward to all of it. just need to be careful to avoid political chit-chat this time. they're all texans. :)

in general though, i'm stressed. terribly stressed. there's so much that i should be doing, so much i just can not get my head around because so many other things are happening. i need someone around to really communicate with, and right now, there's no one, with dirk up north etc. i've been unable to write things down the way i really want to again as well. it happens every once in a while, that i get caught up in my thoughts and can't spill em out as i should and i feel it straigth away.
i guess that's why my tinnitus is back. to remind me that not saying things is unhealthy. that some things can not be ignored, that they need to be heard.

i should take some time to listen. and then spill it out.