York_Pinball_Show_12Another symptom of my type of Ataxia, ARCA-1, is abnormal eye movements. I have found, that sometimes what I perceive with my eyes can get in the way.  My eyes seem to have a mind of their own.  For instance, getting a pan out from inside the cabinet can be a challenge  I see the door opening.  It’s plenty wide enough. I see what I want in the back of the cabinet.  Oh no!  I’m going to have to reach back there, putting my head inside the door opening.  I see the sides, aim myself and BAM! I start banging my head from side to side in a game of what I call head-pinball.

Solution?  Another friend with Ataxia, suggested that I close my eyes!  It works!  Ah, walking through that narrow doorway-just close your eyes. However, you can’t always get away with closing your eyes.  Like walking outside.  It does slow me down but if I’m not with Denim, I need to watch every step I take.  (When I’m with my service dog, Denim, I walk much faster as I can focus on what’s ahead of me instead of on my feet.)

Another example is trying to maneuver around the Christmas tree. I see the tree. I see the coffee table.  There’s plenty of room between the two.  But I just can’t walk through there without doing a “dance” to avoid knocking the tree down..  Solution? Don’t go that way!  Another tricky situation is releasing the steam from the pressure cooker.  I see the nob.  I just have to turn it.  I’ve done it several times before.  There’s no need to jump.  However, I can’t help it, I turn the nob and “jump a mile”.  (I don’t know about you but “jumping a mile” can mean a myriad of mishaps for me.  I might totally fly my hands up, scratching myself in the eye.  I could end up losing my balance and falling onto my butt…)  Solution? Don’t look.  Now, what I do is put my hand on the nob and then turn to look out the window.   Releasing the steam no longer leads to bumps and bruises.

220px-Horses_2I guess it’s similar to the need to put blinders on horses.  Like the horses, I get too distracted by what my eyes are seeing.  So if I want to avoid a game of head-pinball, maybe I just need horse blinders.


2 thoughts on “Head-Pinball

  1. Pingback: Word of the Day – Peacock | Ataxia Support

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