Aug 23, 2013

The Trials of Ataxia (Part 1)

Ataxia really sucks.  There are lots of things about it to deal with on a day to day basis and it is common for Ataxians  to be depressed because they are not able to do what they used to do.(when I mention this to my age contemporaries, I am often reminded that no one can do what they did when they were younger) The difference, I think, is that often young people, or people in the prime of life, are stricken with ataxia.  Also, those of us who are older at the onset of it face some different challenges than just growing old.

One thing I find most frustrating is that I can't write or print anymore.  I feel this must be a language function as I can crochet and do other things that require fine motor skills.  I can't even sign my name like I used to.  We work crossword puzzles (with pencil in a book) each night and no matter how carefully I try to print the words legibly, it is hard, if not impossible, to read the letters later.  Last year I practiced writing  and could "draw" the letters with concerted effort, but it was a chore and, it was not my handwriting.  I have always been one to take a lot of notes when listening--I guess I am a kinetic learner.  You can imagine my dismay when I couldn't jot down notes and scripture references during a Bible class or sermon. I have always liked to make lists and write cards and letters by hand.  Somehow making to do lists, printing envelopes and cards, and keeping a calendar on the computer just doesn't seem natural.  Necessity will change old habits, I suppose.

The last two days, I tried my hand at coloring a picture.  I started off with map pencils which work well for the small spaces.  The problem came with trying to sharpen them--the lead was broken in the pencils, it seems. So I had to change to crayons and use a different brown color. The blue Z's showed better with the original brown background. It was not so easy to get in the small spaces with the crayon either.  I was happy with end result though.  I was able to stay in the lines! It was a strain, but I did it.  I think I relaxed and didn't hold the pencil or crayon quite so tightly the second day.  Perhaps handwriting practice at least several times a week would be helpful?  Another positive was that I was able to draw somewhat of a circle (blue) around the picture.  I intend to color it all in tomorrow and make a colored background.  
Here is the picture I've been working on:  
Here's some of my writing. It is done holding the pen very tightly and takes a lot of effort--like a little child learning to write.  My penmanship was never outstanding, but this is so frustrating!
This just one aspect of living with Ataxia.

1 comment:

  1. I could read every word! It's not as bad as you think (little comfort, I'm sure) Maybe you'll be able to improve with practice, maybe not... That you can write at all should be noted & embraced.

    You are a woman of many accomplishments & will continue to impress and be loved, no matter what your letters look like!