Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sensory inventory II

I am still in the process of discovery with this curious roadmap that is the somewhat impaired sensory input from different parts of my body.

I noted earlier that regions of my belly seemed rather insensitive to the injections they were giving me at the hospital. I am sure it spoiled the fun for some of the nurses. In any case, I was noticing odd lack of feeling there this morning in the shower too. I had opportunity to explore my new tactile sense, or lack thereof. I note that my stomach has the sensation of a leather jacket. I can feel pressure when I touch the skin with some object, such as my bar of soap. But it feels insular, detached in some strange way. I have determined that my skin is no longer sensitive to direct touch, but still has some deeper nerves that are functioning. So It is very much like wearing a leather shirt. I can still feel pressure, but rather indirectly.

This is a curious effect.

I have noted in this cold weather that many parts of my body which used to grow increasingly uncomfortable with prolonged exposure are not sensitive to very cold temperature any more. I suppose this might be an advantage or disadvantage. On the one hand, I count on the comfort level to sense whether exposure is leaving my body with lower reserves. With less of a sense, I think the cold may present more of an unperceived hazard. On the other hand, I don't need to fret as much about discomfort from the cold weather.

Now all I need is to get myself fit enough to get out in the snow and enjoy it!


pgk said...

An excellent piece of cartographical prowess.

I follow your map-making efforts with high interest, having, in the course of my own explorations with and in behalf of my daughter, gained a mapping aesthetic.

Today, I went out in 15 degrees (to start) and followed a trail I broke through the foot plus of snow that fell a couple days ago. Not much has melted, and a crust is setting up. If I hadn't had my old trail to follow, breaking through that crust would have taxed me sorely, though I've certainly seen worse crusts. A Navajo woman told me that the Dineh word for January (I think it was) means fried snow. Those January crusts are bears. Since I lack snowshoes, those crusts succeed in placing me under house arrest.

Anyway, here's a nice touch: On my way home today, as I worked my way along my trail blazings, I found deer tracks inset into mine where a deer had made use of my work. I thought that good, but a few minutes later, I looked back and saw a buck -- perhaps the same deer -- using my trail, which I had just beaten out even more, to walk in the opposite direction.

I am happy to have done something that other animals find useful. After all, when I'm out on a wander and encounter a puzzle, say, how to navigate an unknown slope or find my way around some obstacle, I often ask myself, "What do the deer say?" and I look for their trails. They always lead me true.

If you continue to improve, I hope we might walk together sometime. But please take care of yourself. Keep mapping, work through the puzzles (including the puzzle the strokes raise to mind), do the rehab work (focus on what you're building upon), and don't push yourself harder than is rational.

Yes, I really did say, "Jim, be rational."

greenfrog said...

After I developed my yoga practice for a couple of years, I decided to work with a teacher one on one. The first practice we did together was a kind of diagnostic that your post reminds me of.

She gave me a pencil and a paper with two outlines of a person, one front side, one back side. She asked me, without moving other than my writing hand, to mark an X on each part of the body that I could feel distinctly. As I remember, I marked the eyes and lips, the hands, the soles of my feet, the front of my mid-belly, the knees, and the elbows. The rest was simply white space. We then worked through a series of actions that allowed me to add a few more Xes to the diagrams, but there still remained large white spaces -- lower legs, the backs of my thighs, the expanse of my back below the shoulder blades, others.

With that as an indicator of where I was with respect to developed body awareness, she designed yoga posture sequences that allowed me to explore ways of developing connections to my body. I've wondered a time or two, whether what was going on was my mind learning to distinguish between signals from quiescent nerves and signals of background noise, whether it was a practice of focusing attention, whether it involved developing new nerve endings in my body, or whether it involved rechanneling nerve signals that reached my brain. But while I only worked three or four times with that teacher, over the course of the next four years, I found more and more connection to my body.

It will be interesting to see how your experience develops.

pgk said...

Good morning, Jim.

I hope you're doing all right. Your blog's been so quiet. Does that means you're busy elsewhere, with holiday and family activities?

Well, I'm just checking in to let you know I'm thinking about you and hoping your holiday season is a pleasant one.

Merry Christmas!