My perpetual pushing produced problematic MS issues after this swim. I say “my” because I did this to myself so I have no one to blame but me. I must live with these punishing consequences for not backing down from this fight. Some may call these problems exacerbations yet no matter what you call them they are truly taxing for everyday life.
First, I have had a significant increase in leg muscle spasms. As I climb into bed, my legs begin to jump. Before this swim, a leg spasm for me was relatively mild and might only be a shake. Now, these spastic legs look like a baby rattle in the hands of a baby hopped up on Red Bull. I try to stop my antagonistic appendages by grasping them tightly with my hands. Occasionally that procedure works until something sets them off again. Thankfully this “shake rattle and roll” only lasts for a few minutes before I doze off.
Second, there have been those rare occasions that I go to bed and do not get these Jurassic jerks. The other night I went to bed, and my legs were mostly relaxed. As I lay my head on the pillow dosing in and out something new startled me. Like someone tied a rope to my knee and quickly pulled it toward my head. It looked as if one side of me was trying to march.
I pushed the leg back down and began to watch the sandman pull on my eyelids again. Another mega twitch happened but this time from the other leg. This jolt was another attempt at a very slow horizontal march. This back and forth dance went on for about five minutes. Luckily for me, this was on the night that we set our clocks back and gain an hour.
Third, I have also dealt with significant muscle tightening. Using the chairlift at the pool has been extremely annoying at times. As it begins to lift me out of the water my legs stiffen up like a piece of driftwood. I need to give my legs time to calm down so that they start to bend towards the water. All of the while I sit perched on this chairlift on display like a piece of meat at the butcher.
The simple act of walking that so many take for granted is essential. There are several physical benefits from walking for the biped community. The act of walking is often taken for granted by people. Sadly, we do not always realize the importance of keeping our bodies moving. This constant flexing as you walk is how blood gets pumped back up and to your heart. Since my legs are lazy and I do not walk the lower part of my legs are red. In turn, I am supposed to flex my ankles often to mimic walking and receive the benefits.
Next, ankle weakness sounds like a strange issue. It is even more of an odd affliction for a person who is not ambulatory. The muscles around the foot build and maintain its strength from the action of walking. Without walking the muscles on the outside of the ankles begin to get weak. When this happens, there is a pull from the muscles on the inside of the ankle. The foot will start to pull in and upward. That action makes this person walk on the outside of their foot. To counteract this action I exercise these muscles often. I do this to keep both of my feet flat on my wheelchair footrest.
Finally, my hand weakness is milder in comparison with my other issues. I notice this weakening mostly while I eat. Occasionally I sit down to eat and my weakness flairs up towards the end of the meal. That is the only time that I notice this issue enough to take note. I still self-propel my wheelchair and do nearly everything else for myself. Other than while I eat I am only aware of a few other minor hand issues.
I have returned to the water movement class that I was taking previously. I have not exercised my legs in a month, and I can feel the lack of strength. The truth is that I may not do another fit challenge in the future. I am not sure that I am willing to put up with the physical repercussions from these fitness challenges. I am eager to see how long it takes for my body to recover. I will continue to exercise for the health of it. Not enough people truly understand the plethora of physical benefits of exercise. Even Dwane “the Rock” Johnson would deteriorate without continual fitness regimen.
You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.