Saturday 13 April 2024

Rainbow walks for concussion

As part of my concussion recovery, I'm doing very short daily walks.  For one week I alternated between 8 and 3 minute walks (my CFS doesn't like me doing the longer one every day); the next week it was 10 and 4 minute walks; and this past week it's been 12 and 5 minute walks.

Each walk takes an identical route, which has been pretty tedious, so my friend Anna suggested I take photos of the colours of the rainbow, to give me a focus.  It worked startlingly well, and has been really fun!  Here's my favourite photo from each of my most recent seven longer walks: 

This was taken from the street (down a long driveway), but I can see this tree from our back doorstep. God spoke to me through it very particularly a couple of years back, and I've been meaning to figure out where it is.  Now I know :-)

The 'macro' feature on my cellphone camera has been an unexpected delight :-). Also, this picture should be 'indigo', but I couldn't get it clear in my head what indigo is, so did pink instead!

Not much on our street is purple, it turns out.

On the days I do my shorter walk, I've taken to picking feijoas from the tree in our street.  Another exercise I'm doing for my concussion is repetitively picking things up off the floor and putting them back again.  Picking up yummy feijoas is much more satisfying :-)

One day's haul - a big bowl of feijoas, and fennel from our driveway to add to a salad :-)

The concussion situation is improving, but it's slow.  It's mostly OK so long as I keep my focus on the day-to-day, but a lot harder if I think to the long-term and how far I have to go.  I'm really appreciating being on more of an even keel, though, and of having a bit of a pathway out of all this.

Here's where things are at at the moment:

  • I'm doing daily walks, increasing their length weekly by around 20-25%.  I'm having very little nausea from the walks now so I'm wondering about increasing them more quickly (I love walking, and it's going to take ages to get up to 'proper' 45-60 minute walks!), but I'll check that with the neurophysio first.  For the moment, I'm averaging about 2500 steps per day, but haven't done much under 2000 in a day in the last week :-);
  • I'm also now doing daily sessions on the exercycle.  Even the shortest of bike rides has made me incredibly nauseous, but the exercycle is mostly fine.  I wonder if the exertion itself is making me mildly nauseous (I've lost so much fitness!), rather than the concussion.  I was advised to start with 30 second sessions, but have settled at 90 second ones for the first week, and expect to increase that weekly, too;
  • I've had my computer screen turned down to a very faint level these past few months, as well as dramatically red-shifted.  I'm now not getting any eye issues until around 5 or 5:30pm (and not always then), so I've turned the brightness up a bit.  It's nice having a screen that's easier to read!
  • I have various exercises to do daily or twice-daily, all of which are aimed at mildly provoking various symptoms.  The exercises have been astonishingly effective at reducing my nausea.  Beforehand, I had some level of nausea an awful lot of the time; now it's only there when I do something exacerbating, and generally settles really quickly;
  • I'm doing one (occasionally two) sessions per day of something that takes concentration - and am increasing the length of those sessions by around 20% weekly.  I'm on 50 minute blocks as of today.  These leave me pretty tired, but are generally manageable - although one this week I tried to shuck a big bowl of feijoas whilst talking on the phone for my cognitive block and was left exhausted for more than a day.  I told the physio and she very definitely told my 'dual-tasking' wasn't a good idea right now!;
  • My fatigue has really increased in the past two weeks.  I was 'safely' being out of bed for five hours total per day in late March, but that's gone back to 4-4 1/2 hours now.  I initially wondered if doing all these things aimed at promoting healing in my brain was just taking a lot of energy, but now I suspect it's because I hit my head really hard on the afternoon of Easter Sunday.  I'd been told it was really important to avoid hitting my head even lightly, and the extra fatigue really kicked in the day after that new injury.  Sigh.  I'm now avoiding a cupboard with a low ceiling above it, and also the area underneath our house - both head hitting high risk areas.  I'm finding this extra fatigue really trying.  I've also realised I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get stuff done (now that that's actually an option), and I'm going to need to lower my expectations a bit again if I want to stay sane!

And yesterday, I managed an outing.  My "almost-family" have a daughter who was named after me.  She's all grown up now and lives in Dunedin, but is visiting Auckland at the moment with her new daughter, Maggie, who was born in December.  So yesterday Heather picked me up and took me to her parents' place, where I hung out with her and her mum and had a lot of fun interacting with Maggie - who is a very engaged and smiley wee girl :-)  It was neat to see Heather thriving in her new role :-)

It took most of my day to make the visit happening - resting before I was picked up, resting on arrival, a timed 40 minute block of actually hanging out, another rest, the trip home and then more resting.  All the logistics were tedious, but I think it was worthwhile on the whole.

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