Today started as a relatively normal Saturday.
I got up, meditated for half an hour, pulled oil for 20 minutes while I checked my messages, and started thinking about getting dressed and ready for the day.
On impulse, at around 8AM, I crawled back into bed for a snuggle with my other half, and lay there cosily for a while.
What then ensued was anything but normal – my second experience of what we’ve decided to call NSTP (aka non-specific temporary paralysis).
The first hint that anything was different, was when I considered getting up again. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, a strong sensation of dizziness washed over me, even though I was lying still in bed. I had the distinct impression that if I got up, I would fall down, so I lay there instead.
I was able to shift around in bed easily enough, and carried on an animated conversation with P about our dreams.
By this time, I realised I was likely “going offline”, and lay there trying to figure out how I was going to get all the things done that needed to happen today – grocery shopping, cooking, blogging.
When next P returned to check in on me, I discovered that I was unable to move my limbs. I had flopped my arm over my face, and now when I attempted to move it, nothing happened. I consciously tried to move it for what seemed like a full 5 minutes, with no success. Thankfully, P was happy enough to move it into a slightly more comfortable position for me.
Shortly after that, I noticed my words getting shorter and less distinct and within no time, I had lost the ability to speak. I could still move my lips slightly, but there was no way I could produce any sound.
As hard as I tried, I couldn’t answer my 4yo’s (T) questions, or ask the dog (S) to stay off the bed. I had visions of P returning to find S curled up in bed with me, having taken advantage of the fact that I was basically helpless, but fortunately T stepped in and bossed S appropriately. Thank heavens for bossy 4yo’s.
How do you communicate to someone that you’ve lost the ability to communicate? Tricky, definitely.
Fortunately, this is the second time this has happened, so at least we had some idea of what to expect. And, as last time, I at least retained access to my eye muscles. So when P returned, all I could do was to look at him and blink – once for yes, twice for no – and just hope that he asked the right questions.
So I lay there, immobilised, for around an hour, wondering what my body/mind/spirit was using this “downtime” to do, and observing with fascination the complete disconnect between my conscious mind and my body.
The best way I can describe it, is that I lost conscious access to my body. Specifically, I lost the ability to control it. As though it had had enough of being told what to do, and was “on strike”.
All my autonomic systems (breathing, circulation, etc) were in fine working form, and I could even wiggle my toes a little and swallow and blink. Just don’t try and DO anything.
And no matter how I approached it, or how hard I focused on instructing my body to move, I just couldn’t make it happen.
Was I supposed to be learning something from this, or was my body just “offline” for some reconfiguration?
But through the whole thing, I was never scared or worried or anxious. Something in me knew that this was not a medical emergency, or some kind of physical ailment that needed diagnosis and treatment.
Deep down there was absolute trust and faith in the process. And what less inconvenient time for this to happen than a Saturday morning?
Eventually, my right foot started aching, from being in the same position for so long, weighed down by the covers, and I longed to shift it, just to ease the pressure.
I managed to rock it sideways slightly, which relieved the discomfort just enough to forget that it was there.
And then a couple of minutes later, all of a sudden, I just snapped back. It happened so fast, I almost didn’t realise. My legs moved around, I moved my head sideways, shifted my arms and made a gentle vocalisation.
Once I caught up with what had just happened, I called out to P, and it worked! My voice worked.
Then I thought about getting up, and it now seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, so I did. I walked out to the lounge room and made my grand re-entrance into the world.
The last time this happened, it took me a couple of hours to come back, to regain full access to my body, but this time was so fast. Almost instantaneous.
Snap! “I’m back. OK. I guess I’ll get on with my day.”
So I did.