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asleep at mal 9/09
Thoughts on my mom's visit 
12/11/12 14:48
asleep at mal 9/09
So I wrote briefly about my mom's visit, but afterwards it made me think about a lot of things. The visit and the trip were fun, but my broken was sometimes a big problem, and the week afterwards was pretty useless while my body 'caught up'.

On the one hand, I had spent the week before relaxing and doing very little because I knew she wanted to do a bunch of stuff I don't normally do, so mom got the best side of me. On the other hand, that lead to lots of comments about how much better I seemed to be doing than she expected. And on the third hand, there are things I am now absolutely horrible at that she expected me to be able to do, and she got frustrated when I couldn't do them.

So I'm going to unpack it all while I have a clear-ish grip of what's been going on in my head...

We did more walking and a lot more traveling than I usually do. Time on the train (and I'm so glad I suggested that) wasn't bad - much roomier than a car, and I could get up and move around when I needed to. The first night out of LA wasn't too bad - the motel was small and the bed was hard, but I was pretty exhausted after we found dinner, and I slept well enough. It was also good that I don't reset my clocks when we go off DST - so I was a bit closer to running on her time as 9am local was 10am my time. And in the morning I was able to use my google-fu to get us tickets for the tour at Hearst Castle with no problems.

Then we picked up our rental car, and promptly got lost trying to get out of San Luis Obispo and on the road to head toward Hearst Castle. My inability to follow a map or a GPS was frustrating for me and mom got a bit angry that I couldn't figure out where we were supposed to go. Eventually I got it, but we were both stressed by the time we found the right road.

At Hearst Castle, she was surprised that I was okay to walk through some of the exhibits and then take the shortest of the tours - but that was about an hour on my feet after several hours in the car, and I had my cane so I was fine. We grabbed some lunch at their cafe to go, and drove down the hill to the cove(?) where we ate lunch and I tried to walk out the pier (I made it a short way and had to turn back because I was getting dizzy and disoriented trying not to 'fall' through the 'gaps' between the planks - which were small). That was odd, but it's the first time I've walked on anything like that since Lyrica fail, so I though whatever, I just need to remember that things with 1/4" or so gap are bad to walk on.

Then we continued up the coast toward Monterrey, where once again my inability to read maps/use GPS became an issue. We were going to stop in Carmel which I managed to find by luck, but there didn't seem to be any affordable options to stay, and it was getting dark and mom was getting stressed again, so we found our way back to the PCH and continued onto Monterrey. I figured out (from road signs) how to get to downtown and Cannery Row, but again with the hotels being too pricey ($350/night - not), and I got us lost trying to find the area we'd passed with loads of motels on the way in. Eventually, however sheer luck put us on a highway with a Marriot(?) just off it and we managed to take the right exit and decided to call it a night.

We checked in, had dinner in their bar, and I went down to use their hot tub(which was sadly broken)/pool in an attempt to stretch out my aching body. Swimming is one of the few exercises that doesn't really hurt and if the water is warm it sometimes feels good; I hope at some point this year I can afford to join the UCLA pool so I can swim regularly again. I had a brief swim, then went and took a long hot shower. By 10pm we were both asleep.

Day 3 was a trip to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. Minimal trouble with getting there and finding parking but most of it was well signed so my inability to read a map wasn't an issue thankfully. The aquarium was lovely, especially the jellies and seahorses/dragons. But the curved glass magnifiers on many of the tanks were disorienting as fuck, to the point that I was very glad I had my cane to lean on so I didn't fall over. I found a bench and sat while mom looked at a few more exhibits and took a stroll through their gift shop. This hasn't been a problem before, so again I'll chalk it up to unnoticed bits of Lyrica fail. That shit clearly did more damage than I'd noticed until now - I was doing things I hadn't done since before the reaction, and it was frustrating as fuck to discover new broken.

We had lunch at an Italian restaurant on their patio over the water - good food and a lovely view. And then we walked around Cannery Row for a bit, but we were both really disappointed in how many shops were closed and that those which were open were mostly tourist junk. So after more navigation fail on my part and strong words from mom about how she needed me to figure out where we were going, we found a highway and decided to do the 17 mile drive around Carmel (thank you good signage on the highway at least). There were lots of big houses and some nice views of the ocean; mom loved it and took lots of pictures.

The last day of our trip we drove back down the PCH to San Luis Obispo again - the bit of navigating required I actually managed a bit better because of getting so lost before - but it was still stressful. Mom stopped at a lot of the ocean view overlooks and took another ton of pictures - the water was beautiful shades of dark blue, deep green and purple the whole way down the coast. We eventually found downtown, wandered the shops a bit and lucked into an awesome restaurant for lunch. Then we dropped off the rental car and headed back to the train station for the trip home. The sunset was gorgeous, and we just missed the rain - it followed us down the coast it seemed.

Mom's last full day in town involved lots of nothing - I slept a bunch, read a bit, and then when T got off work we went out to dinner at The Stinking Rose. That was a success - good food and mom was glad to have a story of having dinner in Beverly Hills to tell when she got home.

So the takeaway from all this is that:
1) If I save up my energy and get plenty of sleep every night I can manage a few days of walking more than normal, but I still only get a couple of hours max in a day and that's with breaks in between. Note that I'm going to pay for it afterwards and I'm going to take more pain meds than I would if I wasn't moving so much, and there's a limit to how long taking more meds will work.
2) The reasons I don't drive anymore are very obvious - I cannot find my way around places I don't know, even with maps and GPS to help. And I often can't find my way around places I do know either. Broken brain is broken when path navigation is involved.
3) I need to figure out what's up with the dizziness and disorientation - I have dizziness at home sometimes too, but not as bad, and usually when I'm exhausted and/or sick. This was much more severe, and physically I felt fine for me both times, so I clearly need to see where my limits are. Both times were at the end of more walking than normal - so was that it, or was it the unique situations or the someplace new so I was trying to process too much information and it caused that or what?
4) I really want to start swimming again; even if it's only an hour a few times a week - I miss it. And it doesn't hurt the way walking or other exercise does, so it would help keep me in shape and be good for my joints/muscles/etc.
5) I am relatively good at using the internet for both finding things (not directions - I suck at those) and for keeping my brain engaged on a basic level. So I need to not feel bad about the fact that I spend so much time online - it works. And twitter continues to be my friend in terms of remembering what I've done when; I couldn't have written this entry without those notes to myself (I kept them in a notepad for much of the trip because I had limited internet access, but I still wrote them down and emailed them to myself when I got home - but I like that twitter gives me short bursts of activity both my own and other people's for days when my brain doesn't want to do much).

Mom's visit and the trip up the coast were both good things, but I clearly have more to learn about how my body behaves when I do things I don't usually do. And perhaps it would be good to add some different stuff to my activities list - slowly - to see what I can and can't figure out how to do without negative consequences.
12/12/12 6:10 (UTC)
I am really sorry that it was such a tough trip for you, but I am glad that some of it was good. And this gives me some perspective on how to deal with my mom, who also has some significant health challenges.

Gosh, I wish I had known you were going to Monterey/Carmel in advance. I know where all the cheap-but-good places to stay are (around $100/night); they're a little hidden. If you're ever going up there again tell me in advance and I will give you a list.

The $350/night hotel on Cannery Row was the Monterey Plaza. I guarantee it.
12/12/12 13:01 (UTC)
Huh. Four years ago you could have come to my shop -- which I am going to assume from yr description was right underneath the Italian restaurant where you had lunch.

In case you ever go back to Monterey... Affordable lodging is all in Seaside, just north of the Monterey city limits.

Edited at 2012-12-12 01:02 pm (UTC)