Sunday, 2 May 2010


Thursday I suddenly got an offer from an American guy to have him send me some replacement screws for the Sennheiser HD 437 headphones I'm repairing without any reimbursement from my side.

Friday it was Queen's Day here in the Netherlands, which is a holiday. Part of this day is the traditional flea market in each city and town. Pieter and I went to the flea market in Almere Stad, not to buy anything but for the fun of looking at the junk people were trying to sell and to eat something at the Subway near the train station. I did look around a bit to see whether anyone was selling inline skates, but didn't see any which were nice and which would fit me, plus it was kind of rainy weather so not very inviting to try on some skates.

After we returned home Pieter prepared to leave for his grandmother's birthday party together with his brother and his two young children who arrived to pick him up an hour before they had to leave. This left us with enough time to eat lunch together and for Pieter to show off his organ. His brother's two daughters were crawling around during this time on the floor, chasing the dogs, two of which were on the verge of crawling into my shirt to get away from those tiny petting hands. I have never seen those dogs act like this before.

I had promised the neighbours to take care of their cats while they are away on vacation. After Pieter had left with his brother one of the neighbours asked me to show me around so that she could tell me what my tasks were and give me the key. I left with three borrowed Playstation 3 games including Final Fantasy 13 and a pair of inline skates which weren't being used anyway. Now I just need some fair weather so that I can go skating.

Before I could go to bed I started feeling really nauseous and weak, with some of the symptoms of previous paralyzation attacks, like reduced control over my limbs and speech, resulting in Pieter having to help me downstairs and prepare me for bed. I did take a sleeping pill and slept well that night.

Saturday Pieter and I did the weekly grocery shopping, except that he won't be eating at home for three days straight as he'll be in Italy for his work. The rest of the day was quite uneventful, aside from me studying up on how to use CORBA and Sony Vegas Pro 9.

Today I spent the morning at the swimming pool as usual. After an hour or so I suddenly saw a couple kissing, which triggered something ugly inside. I could feel that the countdown to another paralyzation attack had started, but tried to suppress it by distracting myself while I was spending time with the two Chinese children I see every week at the pool, as well as their mother. Aside from an inability to swim properly any more and surges of pain I was holding up relatively well, though the counter was still counting down.

I could think of no way to gracefully suffer the attack without alarming everyone. I really do not enjoy the thought of suddenly losing control over my body in public. I have always shown myself to be strong and independent to others and I loathe the thought of suddenly appearing weak and helpless due to something which isn't physical. This ruled out most spots at the swimming pool. I could suffer the attack in private in a single-person dressing room after closing the doors, but it would probably alarm Pieter and the others if I vanished for 20-30 minutes.

So in the end I did nothing except attempt to keep suppressing the attack until the Chinese family moved closer to the location where Pieter and the others were playing with a ball. As I swam slowly and less than gracefully towards Pieter he asked me whether I was okay and at that point I pretty much couldn't hold the attack back any longer. Pieter ended up carrying me to the side of the pool where I was placed in a plastic chair. At this point I could no longer move my legs.

One of the girls who work at the pool, with whom I have talked many times before, offered me something to drink so she left to get me some tea. Meanwhile the Chinese woman was asking what had happened and when she heard that I was suffering from paralyzation symptoms she taught me some traditional Chinese relaxation and reflex methods which quickly caught on. I still think it was completely awesome how she showed so much care for me even though we know virtually nothing about each other. Heck, I don't even know her name, only those of her children.

There's no way I can sufficiently thank her. I do hope there are many more people like her around, however. It really gave me a much-needed boost.


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