The Incoordination of My Extremities: Hailing a Taxi… A (Ataxia)
I have ataxia. Wikipedia states:
Ataxia is a neurological sign consisting of lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements, as in walking.
This is what still ails me the most today. Ataxia coupled with atrophy (the wasting away of a part of the body due to a lack of use) kept me from walking for months.
There are several possible causes of ataxia. One of these is a focal lesion (localized damage), “Any type of focal lesion of the central nervous system (such as stroke, brain tumor, multiple sclerosis) will cause the type of ataxia corresponding to the site of the lesion: cerebellar if in the cerebellum, sensory if in the dorsal spinal cord (and rarely in the thalamus or parietal lobe), vestibular if in the vestibular system (including the vestibular areas of the cerebral cortex).
I must have had a hypoxic stroke in the cerebellum when I desaturated to 60% during a failed extubation on May 10th or the desaturation of oxygen due to the stenosis on June 10th. Probably May 10th, because before that day the medical reports state that I was moving all 4 extremities, and after that event the medical reports state that I no longer was moving my left side.
After moving to Texas and seeing a functional neurologist, I was asked to touch my nose and then touch a target with my left hand. I almost poked my eye when attempting to touch my nose, and waved my finger like a sorcerer with a wand when trying to touch the target. This is a symptom of the cerebellar disorder: ataxia.
Another example is in my balance and coordination in my legs. I was unable to stand straight up with my eyes closed. I could with them open, but as soon as I closed my eyes, I would loose my balance and involuntarily open my eyes to facilitate in catching my balance.
The fact is that I should be dead, or in a vegetative state, so I’m not bitter about the fact that I have lost my ability to do so many things… Which include running, and dancing, and any fine motor skills with my left hand, like playing guitar the way I used to. This doesn’t stop me from trying. I still go to shows and awkwardly dance around, and I still play guitar daily to regain what I can. And it’s all gotten so much better. I guess we’ll just wait and see what happens.
This video was taken at St David’s Rehab on June 20th, 2012 after 13 months of intense work to rehabilitate. I don’t have any earlier documentation of it, but it had improved an enormous amount since the accident. I’m wearing a brace around my elbow to help stabilize the tremor.