Back to biofeedback. I was ready! Well, that was the theory. We’re easing me back in at once every other week schedule.
So far, my CNIB orientation mobility trainer has guided and walked with me to it for less and less of the way each time without me actually attending an appointment. This week he shadowed me to my appointment at the ADD Centre, and a friend met me afterward to accompany me back along the most difficult part of the route. Of course , we had coffee and a bite to eat first to thank her for giving me her time and to feed my tired brain. After the journey up and biofeedback, it was screaming: “Glucose! I need my energy refill!!”
The journey there was as expected. I made my familiar way to the meeting point with my CNIB trainer. There, he restated how it would work: I would take the subway and walk as if I was on my own, and he would follow me, close enough to keep an eye on me but far enough for me to feel as if I was alone. He would catch up at the ADD Centre, where we would debrief.
Deep breath, and off I went. It all went as expected – until I hit Yonge Street. My brain went AAIIIEEEE. Let’s stop.
Um, what the heck?
It was like the earlier days when I walked slowly, had to pause a lot, hesitated when people or cars passed me by. And the noise! It was like God had turned the volume up!!
Why are there so many dump trucks going up and down Yonge?!!!
Yeah, I know: condo building boom.
Brain overloaded, I had to sit down. Whoever decided to put benches on main streets, thank you! (And can I say, what took you decades?) I eventually realized he had usually been between me and traffic; this was the first time my field of vision encompassed all the traffic, all the movement on the busy sidewalk. Gulp.
At our debrief, he noted my difficulties. But pointed out that I’d made it. And I’d done all the right things when crossing streets.
My CNIB trainer left, and my biofeedback trainer came and got me.
Since my brain’s resources were eaten up by the journey, I’d become emotionally flat. That hasn’t happened in awhile. And because it had been three months, it took me a few seconds to remember with each screen what I was supposed to do.
We began with a three-minute assessment at CZ (top middle of head). I usually keep my eyes focused on the dancing brainwave frequency bars, specifically gamma ones, at the bottom of the screen. But that made me dizzy, so I shifted my gaze to the top of the software window. After that, came 3.5 minutes of HRV (heart rate variability). That was a shock. First my heart rate was in the 90s. 90s! I’d been away for months, and my heart was not thundering away in the 100s from lack of training. Whoa! All the training I had done was having a permanent effect?
The second shock was the heart rate curve. It was going up and down smoothly in sync with the breathing curve, with few of those jagged hills that are too common with me. I don’t recall my heart rate curve looking that smooth before …
I’ve been using the home light therapy unit every other day, according to Meditech’s instructions to assist my recovery. I’d noticed after I’d begun laser therapy years ago that my heart had begun to improve. Maybe doing the neck lights much more frequently lead to this effect???
We began training with the sailing boats in their psychedelic race courses, the screen I hate, because I was still fresh. Three minutes. It took me a bit to remember which boat was to win (the one that sails when I enhance SMR brainwaves, duh).
The next screen was the two-display one. So awesome and weird being able to see both displays at once, even if the one on my weak side is vaguer than the other.
There are so many graphs in the two-display one, it was confusing even before my surgery. My trainer told me: focus on the triplane only. OK. It took me awhile to get that triplane to fly. Apparently it was my gamma brainwaves causing it to sit there. My trainer adjusted the threshold down from 1.5 to 1.4 (it had taken years to get it up to 1.5, sigh). When I manage to generate enough gamma brainwaves to go above the threshold, the plane flies. Well, OK, it’s more than that. To get it to fly, I also have to inhibit delta-theta, keep my muscle tension down, and enhance SMR. No biggie. Ha!
We finished with 10 minutes of writing. I didn’t write as much as I usually do … I think my writing is returning … But it’s still difficult. Maybe all the NaNoWriMo talk on Twitter will remind my brain what it’s supposed to do. And tell it, it can!