Friday, March 23, 2012

Countering CRPS Dystonia With 32 Fouettés En Tournant

32 fouettés en tournant (fr. 32 "turning fouettés") is a movement in classical ballet. It is 32 consecutively-performed fouetté en tournant.

One fouetté rond de jambe en tournant is an action where the dancer stands momentarily on flat foot with the supporting knee bent as the other "working" leg is whipped around to the side, creating the impetus to spin one turn. The working leg is then pulled in to touch the supporting knee as the dancer rises up en pointe on the supporting foot. The ability to consecutively perform 32 of these turns is considered a bravura step by the ballerina, emphasizing her strength, stamina, and technique.

War is hell, and in my latest campaign, that means lots and lots of ballet.

The spasms have returned.  There were inklings and insinuations over the past several days, feelings of building electricity, an excess of backlogged potential.  Hints of a twitch that I defeated with long, evil looks.

Is it coincidence that the bone infection symptoms have also returned full force?

At some point during the hospital stays in January and February, my orthopedic surgeon attended a conference in San Francisco, and returned a complete chatterbox.  There was much talk of stubborn post-implant infections and a relatively new concept called biofilm.

If he said it once, he said it twenty times over the next few weeks:  biofilm, biofilm, biofilm.

Still, it wasn't until my conscious self accepted the return of the infection a few days ago that I even bothered to look it up.  I thought it was a cop-out on his part, a saving grace, the excuse we were gonna use to explain this expensive failure.

I'm still trying to wrap my curly head around the Wikipedia entry, which does, I think, a superb job of framing what the biofilm discussion is about, and its scary implications -- without scaring the reader away:

A biofilm is an aggregate of microorganisms in which cells adhere to each other on a surface. These adherent cells are frequently embedded within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Biofilm EPS, which is also referred to as slime (although not everything described as slime is a biofilm), is a polymeric conglomeration generally composed of extracellular DNA, proteins, and polysaccharides. Biofilms may form on living or non-living surfaces and can be prevalent in natural, industrial and hospital settings.  The microbial cells growing in a biofilm are physiologically distinct from planktonic cells of the same organism, which, by contrast, are single-cells that may float or swim in a liquid medium.

Microbes form a biofilm in response to many factors, which may include cellular recognition of specific or non-specific attachment sites on a surface, nutritional cues, or in some cases, by exposure of planktonic cells to sub-inhibitory concentrations of antibiotics. When a cell switches to the biofilm mode of growth, it undergoes a phenotypic shift in behavior in which large suites of genes are differentially regulated.
At the bottom of the entry, there are some references, one of which turned out to be pure gold.  There is a Biofilm Community!   No, it's not a chummy chat room and I don't sense too much political intrigue -- though intrigue there certainly is, apparently in the form of lurking corporate presence. (Go figure.  It's a growing problem.  An expensive growing problem.)

The Biofilm Community, then, is a repository.

I haven't immersed myself in the slime talk yet, because as I said, I've been in denial, I mean, I've been twitching.

You probably don't believe that despair comes instantaneously to me when the spasticity hits.  But it does.  Instantly, I am yelling, moaning, cursing, writhing, trying to rock my legs to and fro, to beat the gesticulations at their own game.

Fred slept through most of it -- across the Manor, cuddled with Buddy and Dobby, snoring on the horsehair loveseat in  La Recepción -- remember La Recepción?  

The space that we are in today served [the Haddocks] as Reception Hall during the American Civil War, and for roughly 60 years afterward. Back then, it was worth their Snooty While to allow a more plebeian sort of individual to attend the legendary Marlinspike Hall Afternoon Teas. 
Marmy stuck with me, while the boys were off bonding in a snooze.  She climbed onto my chest and flicked my face with her famed fluffy tail.  Then she *ack-ack*-ed at me in a clearly derisive manner.

"Fine," I countered, between screams, "What would you have me do?"

And with that, she danced the Rose Adagio from Act 1 of The Sleeping Beauty, one of the most challenging pieces for any feline ballerina.  I think she actually did it more effortlessly without the four props, Aurora's rose-bearing suitors.  I loves me an Aurora who doesn't hang on to a Prince's hand, don't you?  Marmy extends from attitude to arabesque, my little kitty Cojocaru, with nary a thought of support.  I'd insert the Cojocaru video -- as I couldn't grab the Flip recorder fast enough to document The Fluffy Butt's rendition -- but YouTube won't allow it to be embedded.

Anyway,in addition to a calm and sovereign Aurora, the cat has a point.

I can lay here flopping around like a detoxing crackhead or I can sublimate my intense pain and existential terror by watching YouTube ballet videos, feeling the power, flex, and release of every step, every leap, every stretch.

The spasms have returned?  Pshaw!  Game on.

[First up in the Distraction Campaign?  Chroma -- a lovely way to pass 25 unmedicated minutes.]

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