Then the Floor Nearly Swallowed Me …

Image for post
Image for post
Recent photo of me.

This is a tough one to write, because … well, you’ll see. But I will end it with a tasteless joke. So, you have that to look forward to.

It takes me maybe thirty minutes to get up on Saturday mornings. Maybe forty. I have to convince myself to pry open my eyelids and rise from the bed. I swear it’s like going through the five stages-fear, denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance-every Saturday starts the same.

After spending a good deal of time putting off the moment, I hoist myself onto one elbow. That’s the next step.

I mention Saturday only because I allow myself the luxury of time on that day. If I didn’t rest a few days week, I would drive myself crazy.

As I consider actually getting up, I feel the twist in the fingers of my left hand. My brain is constantly telling them to turn in directions they were never intended to go. My fingers, so controllable once, are now beyond my control. Every waking moment of my life.

What this means is that I am, in fact, being physically tortured by my brain. Every waking moment.

I could go back to sleep, but I don’t want to waste the day. I want to live. I want my life back again.

However, lying in bed will not accomplish that. Which is why I eventually force myself on my feet and upright. I will not be defeated by dystonia.

After a relatively leisurely breakfast, I do a quick yoga session, performing asanas I found in a book about yoga for people with movement disorders. Dystonia is, after all, a movement disorder. Even if mine was caused by a stroke and no one understands how to treat it, really.

From what I’ve read about yoga, it can actually change the brain in beneficial ways. And I tend to feel better after I do it. I have no idea if it’s actually changing anything other than, perhaps, my mood. Somehow activity makes it easier for me to face the fact there are some things I simply can’t change. Or maybe I can. I have no idea at this point. But I know I don’t want to give up trying to find ways to cope with my problem. (And it is a problem. Not an issue. Not an inconvenience. A problem to be solved, one way or another.)

I do yoga seated, most of the time. I can do my asanas right at my desktop computer station, in a tiny portion of real estate in our small den. The book suggests I do a “restorative pose” on Saturdays. I’ve pretty much ignored this, mainly because of all the props and set-up involved. But today I decide to give it a go.

I gather a pillow, a towel, and my two blue soft hand supports. I use the hand support like a glove without fingers. It wraps around my palm, thus tricking it into not clenching quite so much. The best I can manage with it is taking the edge off a bit. I can always feel the tension building up in the hand beneath the stretchy fabric.

I set up the props and arrange myself as the book describes. Supine on the floor, arms laid out to each side. From there, I’m to relax for 15 minutes. At least, 15 minutes. Okay, fine.

At this point, I do that thing where you relax one part of your body at a time. First, my toes, which of course start to cramp. Don’t overthink it. Just relax.

Right. Just relax. Words that used to mean something.

But then, before you know it, I am relaxing. Just a little. And I think, yeah, I could do this a while. Then, for some odd reason, I worry that if I keep relaxing, I may never get back up.

An image comes of me lying on the floor, looking crucified. For some reason, this makes me smile. But it also make me nervous. Because, as I relax, each part of me seems to get heavier.

Then something really strange happens. I feel an odd sensation, like I’m floating and the floor is pressing up beneath me. Perhaps I’ll skip the notion of doing anything and simply let gravity crucify me to the floor.

But I don’t. I have to focus on the fact that I’m able to get to my feet and keep going.

And now you know why I keep a writing journal. It’s all I can do to share this much with you.

Most of what I’ve written here was done using speech recognition software. It is far from perfect, and it does nothing to help my fingers. But it does save me a little aggravation.

And that’s about all I can ask sometimes.

Finally, the tasteless joke. It came to me while I was lying crucified on the floor.

It’s a letter from Jesus to his father.

Dear Dad,

Thanks for letting me take the fall for all those sinners.

Jesus Christ Almighty

I can only hope that made you laugh. 🙂

PS: Would you believe I was going to post this on Good Friday?! 🙂 Why get rid of this movie clip now? It’s just as awesome now, as ever!

Originally published at on May 29, 2020.

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website:

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