Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ghost in the machine

My brain loves a pattern. Once something gets set up in my head it can run forever. It becomes a machine. Watch it go.

Then the wind of change comes. Dismantling machines is painful, unsatisfying work. A process that no one looks forward to, it is more wrenching after brain injury. TBI survivors rely on routine to navigate life. When life changes rapidly, paradoxically we need routine even more.

If you've been reading this blog you know one of its central themes is exercise. Exercise after TBI is the one therapy that every neurologist I've seen agrees on. And it should be easy to have an exercise routine. Tuesday and Thursday, Spinning and yoga. Commute to work by bike. Most weekends go for a long ride. Just do it. Right?

Riding a bicycle a hundred miles a day has been simple, if not always easy. Keeping a gym has been downright impossible.

After the accident my gym closed. One day the door was locked and a sign said 'lost our lease'. Perhaps meaning 'we stopped making payments'. I was at a loss. The most important thing on the checklist was location; this gym had a killer location on my route to and from work. It took 4 months to find another gym along this route. It took only one month of no yoga, though, for my whiplash injury to permanently set up shop. That building became a stealth startup (tinted windows, no sign) and now a dollar store. I need my neck and shoulder to function. Does the world really need more dollar stores?

Its replacement was miraculously on my commute route, as well as brand new and sparsely used. It had a very light group exercise schedule. It was a pain to get to. It was closed on Sundays and every holiday seemed to trigger a 3-day closure. I worked around these issues. For free towel service, I'll work around many things! But a year ago, this second gym went private. All the public members (like me) were ousted. Only employees of on-site companies could belong. (Yeah I thought about that, but companies move frequently too.)

My luck had run out. On the bright side, my luck had run out at work too! I took a medical leave and slowly tried out other gyms. They had deal-breaker prices, locations, or both. Silicon Valley is a tough place for ordinary businesses to operate. 

For a few months I've been riding 3 miles to and from Overtime Fitness. It's your basic small office building that's been outfitted with weights and machines. No hot tub or sauna, only 2 showers. No electronic lockers. But, towels. The Spinning and yoga classes are frequent and they've embraced TRX. The schedule tells me when to show up. Most days I find myself there doing all the right things for TBI recovery. Right now yoga and TRX are helping with balance and spatial ability. Yoga is essential for the whiplash. And of course, Spinning for that blood-pumping machine inside the chest. Hey, hey it keeps on running!

Overtime isn't on my commute route. It's in the opposite direction from my employer and traffic is terrible. If I ever return to that employer, I'll need to work remotely. Strange to choose between health and employment; that's just the way it is right now.

1 comment :

  1. So the gym part makes sense - but why the hair stylists?