Monday, May 01, 2006

Riding on the Train

I told you that I wanted to write about the train ride over spring break. It was VERY long! I don't know if it can completely be attributed to NF2 or just antsiness for anyone. I do know that if I do not exercise or walk for 2 days it becomes incredibly challenging to walk straight and maintain balance. For this reason, I need to walk almost daily for an hour or more.

While on the train (if traveling from the west coast to the midwest), walking is not an option. Anticipating this dilemma, I went for a run earlier in the day that my train departed. That still did not solve the problem as I had leg cramps in the middle of the night that knotted up my calves. Fortunately I had some potassium supplements with me so the cramps would not be so bad.

My advice: if you are taking a train for a long distance (longer than a day), get a roommette car. My dad and I did not get one (there were none available) and we had to sleep in our seats. If you thought flying to Europe was long, trying being confined to a train seat for 43 hours! Sleeping in a coach train seat is comparable to sleeping in a Chevy Silverado truck seat. You know how truck seats do not recline all the way back so you are still sitting upright the whole time but just at a little reclined angel.

Of course in this position I could not sleep more than a couple hours and kept waking up. I was actually kind of lucky actually! If the person in front of me had his/her seat reclined, my feet just touched back of that seat. My dad however, has much longer legs and could not stretch them out. I can't even imagine!

If the train was not too packed, you could sit alone and try to sleep in fetal position in two seats next to each other. Even in this position, I continued to get leg cramps.

The second day on the train (after only a night) I thought I was going to go mad! When the train made one of the very few stops where you could get off and stretch out, I jumped at every chance. Aside from the dang smokers billowing practically all breathable air on the outside of the train, it felt good to get off and at least feel the cooler air. In the 10 minutes or less that you are given, I took the opportunity to walk as much as I could the length of the train and back.

Back on the train my legs became very agitated from being in one position for so long. To stretch them out I would try walking the isle of the train which was not a simple task. Surprisingly, I found the train to be more turbulent (yeah it is a joke) than a plane! If it was really bumpy I bounced down the isle clutching each seat and nearly landing on top of seated passengers.

I think one man thought I came from the dining car and was drunk. He laughed at me and try to say something. I, of course could not hear him because I am deaf and told him so. He then motioned something having to do with my wobbling and balance, then laughed again. I told him I had poor balance due to brain tumors. I hope he felt like an ass after that.

Once on stable ground during my visit, I had to walk everyday in order to regain and maintain balance and prepare for the long ride again a week later. The trip back did not seem as bad. I figured out that I could read better either at the seat or at a table. At certain points the scenic car bounced around too much which made reading very difficult with Oscillopsia. If sitting in the seats facing the window in the scenic car, there was more bouncing making it impossible to read a book! The trick is to be facing either the front or the back of the train (same position as the seats you are assigned to). We grabbed a table in the scenic car that was next to the wall and door. This seat to be the most stable in the scenic car and the table offered more stability for reading.

Oh yeah, one more tip: If you have a roommette there is room to stretch out (like actually do some stretching). Also, it is very hard to maintain balance in the bathrooms. It is best to go down there when the train makes a stop and is still. Think of going in a bouncing honey bucket at opposed to a stable one. With balance disfuntion, it is hard enough (if you are a woman) to hover above a public toilet or outdoor john anyway. Boy I could tell you a slew about my bathroom balancing act adventures!


Rebecca said...

P.S. - I know there is a ton of typos, mispellings, and gramatical errors in this one. Frankly I am too tired to give a care.

Thanks and have a good Monday!

Steven said...

I didn't notice!

hell, you'd probably get a kick out of watching my antics trying to get up from the john on an airplane. I hate going to the bathroom on a moving vehicle, and I still have some balance.

As far as the asshole laughing at you, that's why I carry a cane that Sally bought me whenever I'm going to be somewhere that there are a lot of people that don't know me, such as a wedding or big party. I don't want people to think I'm a drunk. Guess I'm sensitive about it since I came from a long (weaving?) line of alcoholics.

Rebecca said...

LOL I could tell you TONS of bathroom stories! The bathroom does not even have to be moving (on a train, plane, or bus)! People probably wonder what I am doing in there as I make so much noise bumping around trying to balance while hovering over a public toilet (unfortunately ladies can't just whip it out).

LOL One time I totally slammed my head on the door. I was hovering and had no idea I was falling forward! Other times I have knocked the dang door open with my head if the stall has a crappy latch (of course it swings outward and I have no idea until I look up).

Outdoor honeybuckets......boy are they tricky! In one particular honey bucket I first knocked open the door with my head, closed the door, and then got my long hair caught in the latch!

Who would have ever dreamed taking a leak would be so complicated!!!!!