Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Hunger Games

I just finished reading The Hunger Games. I know there are politics behind it - I almost made it through the book without doing an Internet search to see what others thought. There are some interesting opinions out there and they do make sense. The book is excellent, and I have to wonder if different people find different meanings within it, for themselves.

I've had a bit of writer's block lately - one moment I think I want to write on one aspect of life; another moment something in life changes and I want to write about that. Then later, neither idea makes sense, or perhaps it would tell too much about things, or perhaps it's just a writer's block and I'm stumped.

But getting back to The Hunger Games where there are kids killing kids... I'm not concentrating on that but on another aspect - perhaps it's in the style of writing... Katniss, the main character, has a great ability to be constantly thinking - if she didn't, she'd be killed. And she has to constantly be shifting her thinking as things change.

This reminds me of my life in a strange way, and is probably true for many with disabilities. While I'm not avoiding someone killing me, I'm constantly reasoning through things, and shifting things, to make things "work" for me. Sometimes, I'm trying to avoid falling. Sometimes I'm trying to find the best way. Sometimes I'm experimenting.

So, a few examples...

Every morning I get up and have a routine to get to the shower, out of the shower, etc. But I don't think most people have a big thought process to go with their morning routine. As I sit on my bed, I'm hoping that when I launch myself, my leg muscles engage so they push me up. If they don't, quickly I have to shift to using my arms. And if I am using my arms, I sit back down and try again. Another thought process occurs right after the shower. I make my way across the floor, and I'm being careful. But if there's water on the floor, I have to re-adjust, knowing that if I slip, I won't recover from it like everyone else. So I plan for that slip, knowing there are several routes to get where I need to go. If I do slip, then rather than a big fall, I should be able to let myself down slowly, and not get hurt.

In the summer it gets hot. When I leave work and it's hot, I have a plan. I pretend I have 2 minutes to get out, get my wheelchair or walker in the car, and get in the car. If I stop to talk, in the sun, I'm going to struggle more. If I take my time disassembling my wheelchair, then to get to the front, I'm out of energy. So I'm thinking at each step of disassembling my chair. Sometimes things still don't go as planned, and I wonder how I will make it to my car.

When I go on some of my walks when I am working at walking, I think several things, and I shift depending on what is happening with my walk. If I am dragging my left leg more than I want, then I use visualization... so I have the Bioness getting the right foot to do what it is supposed to do and I think through mimicking that with my left leg. If my right leg is acting a bit "off," I have to shift thinking. Then I'm making sure my heel is hitting the ground first. That activates the Bioness (there's a heel sensor). So I have to think "heel" with each step. When both legs are "behaving," then I'm working on a longer kick. Or the new thing is I crank my neck back and strain it, and so I try to have it look straight ahead. I may be working on speed, so with each step, I am doing a count to have consistency with each step. I may work on standing straihter. And then sometimes, I throw out the thought process and go as fast as I can and time myself - that is fun.

So while reading The Hunger Games, first I was just drawn into the whole plot. Then there are politics behind things. And then there was me, thinking of the thought processes Katniss had, of her ability to adapt to so many situations, and of the many thought processes that are a part of each day for me, especially if I want to walk.

And I do, I want to walk. A neurologist who is well-known meets with various groups and tells them that the people with MS who walk into his office - the most important thing for them is that they want to walk.

And who knows where I go from here... but I have so many thoughts...


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