Sunday, 24 April 2011

From unconsciously incompetent to completely pathetic

For those of us who have a teaching certificate, it will come as no surprise if I mention the Conscious Competence Learning Matrix. This is a scale of learning where we begin as unconsciously incompetent at something and progress through a four scale matrix until we become unconsciously competent. In other words, we progress from not knowing that we are pants at something, to doing it on auto pilot. So, for example when we learn to drive a car, we are not aware of how difficult it is until we begin to learn (we are 'unconsciously incompetent') and when we are able to do it masterfully, we are unconsciously competent (doing it without having to think about it).

And so, I apply this to my game of golf. And, oh boy, am I unconsciously incompetent! Yesterday on the driving range, I think I managed to progress from absolutely abysmal to truly pathetic. I mean, for goodness sake, I am working on a research proposal for a Phd and I can't hit a small ball 150 yards with a stick?

I am however, surrounded by distractions. Firstly, its bloody hot and all I want to do is sit in the shade with a cold glass of sauvignon blanc and a good book. Secondly,  I don't know what it is with golfers but they have the cutest, tightest little bottoms in those shorts! And thirdly, all those guys who hit the ball 350 metres just make it look so easy! I nonchalantly place the golf ball on the tee, stick my bum out, knees bent and raise the golf club in expectation of a good 250mtr shot, only to whack a huge divot out of the turf which flies 5 yards onto the green! I look to left and right to check if anyone saw me. Luckily, one of the great things about golf is that most people are concentraing so hard they don't notice what anyone else on the driving range is doing.

And today, I have aches in my arms and legs in muscles I didn't know I had. Perhaps I should stick with the sauvignon blanc and the book?

Helpful advice from Dr Neurology

Ok, so I emailed the neurologist about discontinuing the steroids in view of the 'speed' effect'. This is my email to him today, responding to his comments:

Dear Dr Neurology,

I thank you for your interesting and informative email, requesting that I continue with the steroid treatment and offering some suggestions on making the most of the 'speed effect'. I respond to your comments as follows:
  • Firstly, your suggestion that I should overcome my lack of sleep by providing 'stimulating noctural activities' for my husband is duly noted.
  • On a similar note, taking advantage of the fact that I have no sense of taste by engaging in additional bedroom activities, those which are usually described in Latin terms, is also noted. As is your comment that if my husband does not wish to partake, you will.
  • Whilst I find neurological disorders absolutely fascinating, I must decline your offer of carrying out research for you, reading large numbers of journals and taking notes, in order to satisfy my current intellectual curiosity.
  • Finally, I take on board your comment that a feeling of euphoria whilst married is untypical and I should cherish it. 
I am certainly looking forward to our next meeting. Being unwell has never been so much fun.

Ok, so maybe not, but I am sure my husband would delight in my neurologist giving me this kind of advice!

Friday, 8 April 2011

From desperate despair to calm

He lifted up his head and look directly at me. If I had expected a blankness or calm malevolence, it wasn't there.
" I know who you are', I told him sternly.
'You know my name?' he enquired.
'Many of them', I retorted, shocked at the confidence in my own voice. 'Your name is mortality'.
This wasn't at all what I had expected. His demeanor was no more than indifferent; calm but nevertheless foreboding. There was no brooding vengeance or malice, just a dull inevitability, almost a boredom. It dawned on me that this was reflexive: what I was seeing was the mirror of my own calm resignation. The ineradicable suggestion of acceptance. And there in that, I saw the answer. The path chosen was to be my own. How I chose to walk it would be up to me: in fear or denial, acquiescence or dissension. The shock of this inner revelation washed over me like a wave of panic and I had to look away.
'You can leave now. I have seen what I need to see.' I mumbled to him.
He vanished like smoke in the wind, leaving only the most delicate hint of a breeze that swept past my shoulder. I stood up and crossed the room to the window. Spring was at last invading the garden and awakening the promise of new hope, new life.

The beast would return, along with his companions, despair and denial, but now I could see that the battle was within my capability; the recovery as inevitable as the attack, and I felt an inner calm.

Friday, 1 April 2011

SPEEDy Recovery

I have always been in favour of drugs. Even in those situations where drugs are frowned upon: like childbirth. Those 'earth-mother' midwives who want you to have the perfect 'natural' birth sitting in an enormous bath surrounded by your nearest and dearest, are stark-staringly unnatural to me. I wanted my 20 hours of hell to be immersed in periods of drug-induced oblivion with the occasional bout of lucidness. So, my recovery from this MS episode is of course, accompanied by a cocktail of drugs, vitamins and essential dietary requirements (mostly alcohol).
The drug of the moment is Predisolone, a steroid. I googled it today, in view of the fact that the complimentary instruction leaflet in the box has clearly been written by someone who has never spoken English before. What I was searching for was the bit under 'side effects' that said 'mimcs the effects of taking speed'. You see, when I take these tablets I feel like I want to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, solve Fermat's Theorum by myself or go for the world speed talking record. My mind is on fire.

My body is exhausted, but I can't rest: I can't sleep. I am completely and totally bored with everything because I want constant intellectual stimulation but am too tired to get it. I walk around in a constant state of euphoria - and this is all legal - seriously, you should get some of these drugs. If everyone were taking these, we'd have the cure for Cancer, Aids and probably MS by the end of next month, Japan would be completely re-built and half a dozen alternative eco-friendly fuels would be available shortly.

I have emailed the neurologist just in case I should stop taking the steroids now - is this how atheletes on steroids feel, I ask myself. The sad thing is that I am really hoping the neurologist tells me to keep taking them - I mean I'm not complaining about these feelings, it's just a bit odd. I ought to get that novel started before I stop taking the drugs and my IQ drops 20 points, hadn't I?