Level-Up: Part 27
Every Sunday (I know it’s Monday) I record my health achievements and discoveries for the week here. To find out why I decided to start doing this, you can read an explanation in the first post of the series here.
If this post had a subtitle it would be… Wrestling Ruins Lives.
Last Sunday was Wrestlemania day. Technically, Monday was Wrestlemania day in the UK. It runs from midnight til 4am on Monday morning. For various reasons I had debated not watching live, turning off my social media notifications and watching it when I got up in the morning. But it’s Wrestlemania. Nobody voluntarily avoids watching it live.
The intention is always to have a nap before the show starts. Invariably, what should be a three or four hour sleep to get me through to sunrise turns into maybe 60 minutes of dream-laden dozing before the 11:45pm alarm goes off. Even without any real sleep I made it to 4am, where I quickly crashed into more broken sleep. I admire those people who can sleep until lunch time. I have never been able to do it. So began what British wrestling fans refer to as Pay-Per-View jet lag; a day of trying to get your body clock back on GMT after a night on American time. It wasn’t pleasant but I’ve had much worse. I even mused to myself that I seemed to have got away with it relatively unscathed. What a fool!
Tuesday and Wednesday were fairly normal days, for a given value of normal. The all-day headache I stupidly cultivated with angry music on Wednesday seemed nothing unusual. It was, though, the start of a decline. Thursday morning I popped out to do a few shopping chores. Admittedly I probably did more than usual, but having spent a few days indoors, I had a list of things to tackle. I made the coffee shop my last stop and as I stepped out onto the street, latte in hand, it was as if someone had yanked my power cable out. I was done. I couldn’t take another step. I even looked down at my feet and urged them to move. But I think if someone had scooped me up and carried me home I might have been asleep before we got there. Maybe I hadn’t got away without too much PPV jet lag after all.
That’s never happened to me before when I’ve been alone in public. It’s the kind of thing that happens at midnight when I’m in bed and collapse into my pillows. And it’s certainly not happened at 11am before. Purely down to the fantastic support on Twitter and via text messages, I made it home. I really don’t know how I did it. I walk slowly at the best of times but this felt like moving in slow motion while everyone rushed past me. It was frightening and I don’t want to experience it alone again. My body felt broken enough, but my pride was equally as crushed. I was incredibly embarrassed at having to be ‘rescued’.
I had every intention of staying home on Friday. I certainly didn’t feel great and I knew I wasn’t up to another walk. But I figured if I got a cab to where WHSmith and Starbucks are I could hit those quickly and come straight home. That didn’t go well either. As soon as I got out of the taxi I knew it had been a mistake. Simply looking down felt like falling off the edge of a cliff. I got everything I’d come for and got out of there as quickly as possible. It hadn’t been worth it at all.
I woke up on Saturday morning feeling terrible. I didn’t even want to lift my head off the pillow, which is unusual for me. I tried ignoring it but while sat at the kitchen counter trying to eat some breakfast it felt as if I was walking a tightrope. I decided that I needed to move somewhere more comfortable but as I left the stool I fell. I could hardly hold myself up for the dizziness. I hit the wall twice trying to make it to the couch, then settled down to watch a film hoping it might pass. It really didn’t. Once it was over I carefully carried myself to bed, figuring that if I was already lying down I couldn’t fall again.
To say that I was scared is an understatement. That’s how I felt during the very first days of this illness: tracing the walls with my fingers, gripping tightly to whatever my hand landed on and taking the tiniest steps because it felt like the floor was sinking beneath my feet. It took every ounce of mental strength I had and some amazing messages not to believe that I was back at square one.
I spent most of Saturday in bed and tried taking it easy yesterday. I could turn my head without feeling the need to drop to the ground, but still felt fairly fragile. Today is much the same, but I also have the annoying neck stiffness and pain that always comes after what has amounted to walking on air, in the least pleasant way possible.
My plan for the rest of the week is to be sensible until I’m steadier on my feet again. My need to flip my middle finger up at this illness and defy it isn’t easy to quell, but I also know that even the most determined rebellion needs to retreat to its HQ and plan out the next step. I’ve played enough video games to know that sometimes you have to grab an energy pack, save the game and start again the next day. That, I hope, will give my balance time to settle to what’s normal for me again. You’ve got a lot to answer for, Daniel Bryan!