Two days of learning

Went out on daypasses both Saturday and Sunday. Learned some things, realized some things. In no particular order:

  * While walking with crutches on the streets of New York, I noticed people looking at me. Some glanced away, some didn't.  I mentioned to Kate that I felt as if people were looking at me, expecting her to say she hadn't noticed, or that they weren't, really.  Instead, she said, "Yup, they are."  We walked in silence for a few minutes after that.

  * Using techniques I've been training on for several weeks now, I slowly walked down the stairs at the B/C stop at 110th St.  Didn't fall, didn't stumble.  Expected to wait for a C train.

  * The MTA messes with their trains' schedules in a manner that might be interpreted as "capricious" or "whimsically arbitrary" or "screwy."  I had temporarily forgotten about this delightful piece of New York weekend puzzle solving.

  * To get to Spring St (normally a stop on the C and E lines) Kate and I rode an A train -- normally express -- making local stops all the way to 59th St, where it suddenly began running express.  We got off at West 4th St to wait for an E train.  Picked up an E train -- normally local -- and watched helplessly as the train ran express, through Spring St and on to Canal St.  We gave up and walked the 5 blocks to WNYC.  Made it up to the mostly-deserted station and sat at my desk for a moment to rest before reversing the process to head back home.  A very tiring success, I thought.

  * On the trains themselves, people shifted to clear seats for me.  I hadn't expected that.  I don't know whether it'll happen during the rush hour cattle drives on the subways, but I'll be curious to find out.

  * Some stations' stairs have a small lip on the edge of every step.  As I have one hand on the railing of stairs I'm on, I trail one crutch behind me.  Descending, the stair-lips don't cause any problems; when climbing, however, the crutch tip catches on them.  Twice my trailing crutch caught hard enough to pull the cuff off my arm.  On Saturday, Kate caught the crutch both times before it fell down the stairs.  It'd be a draggy process to go retrieve it on my own, but I'm pretty confident I **could** do it if I had to.

  * Saturday afternoon.  Wiring up our TV/stereo stack would have been a lot easier if I were still strong enough to be casually clambering around and behind the Ikea entertainment center we were installing the stuff into.  Instead, Kate stoically contributed hands and eyes as I alternately sat and lay in front of the stack, pulling cables through and continuing the wiring job she and our friend Nick had begun earlier in the week.

  * Shifting my body around in any context takes more effort and time than it did pre-GBS.  Lowering myself to one elbow to pull ethernet cables through the back of the DÖRKSVIK made me whinge.  Getting myself back up to sitting made me complain.  It takes me forever to change clothes.  It totally sucks... but it's way better than when I **couldn't** sit up.

  * Sunday morning, sitting at a local diner for breakfast.  My stepfather Gil comments that I move so easily it's easy to forget there's anything still wrong with me.  It's true -- my upper body motions look natural, but there's very little strength behind any of them.  The crutches are obvious to onlookers; that I can't carry a pot full of water without my wrists giving way is not.

  * IKEA in Paramus, New Jersey.  Along with nearly every other retail establishment, closed on Sunday due to the blue law.  Who still does this?

  * IKEA in Brooklyn, New York.  2.5 hours of standing, walking, sitting, and disagreeing over aesthetics.   I try escalators for the first time.  Doable, but a challenge of coordination and timing. We purchase nothing but light bulbs and coat hangers.  I'm exhausted.

  * Back in the lobby of our building, I'm standing on a giant doormat with ridged carpet designed to clean one's shoes.  I begin to turn and side-step at the same time.  A combination of poor crutch placement, my left shoe catching on the carpet, and my own overenthusiastic weight shift takes me out from over my feet.  I stab a few times with my crutches, but can't recover.  Having talked with my PT about falling just days before, I remember to toss my crutches aside and try to land with bent arms.  Beyond a scraped knee and thoroughly-punctured dignity, I'm fine.  Kate and the building staff who witnessed it nearly toss me airborne hoisting me upright.

  * Pride goes before a fall?  No, pride goes **after** a fall. As learning experiences go, though, it was a relatively harmless one.  Good thing I've got another week to learn things here.