Monday, April 19, 2010

Vertigo . . .or whatever it is

Lately I've been struggling with an unexpected new source of physical problem.

Longtime readers of Why Won't You Grow?! are familiar with my pre-existing leg issues, childhood surgeries, and premature birth problems. And on a daily basis, these physical challenges are extremely minor and nothing to be concerned with at all.

But I have experienced some weird leg problems at church in recent months . . . problems that came to a surprising new height on Easter Sunday.

Here is what has been happening.

At church, I occasionally get to read the scripture as one of lay readers at the beginning of the service. And, as our volunteer organization is set up, the people that do the readings also help serve the communion wine during the Eucharist. When I am a reader, I have to get up and walk to the lectern to read the passage. Not really a problem, though I am a bit self-conscious about possibly tripping and falling in front of everyone. But it has never happened and really, its just walking. If I can't walk in front of people, I'm in pretty serious trouble.

The issue has developed when I am service as a chalice bearer during the communion at the end of the service. In this capacity, I have to stand near the altar and offer the chalice of wine to people as they pass. They take the chalice from me, take a sip, and give it back to me. Nothing too difficult, except that I am standing in front of everyone, managing to hand off & receive a ceramic cup full of wine again and again. I have always been a bit worried about mishandling the wine and dropping it. But this concern has begun to manifest itself into a weird leg spasm.

While I am worried in my head about mishandling the chalice handoff, my legs tense up. This leg tension results in my (always percarious) balance being thrown out of whack, causing me to get kind of dizzy and momentarily vertiginous. Naturally, this makes the smooth handoff of the wine chalice more and more difficult.

So, my psychological fear of dropping the chalice is now physically manifesting itself into something that can actually cause me to drop the chalice. sigh

And on Easter Sunday it got really bad. At the beginning of the communion service, I was handed the chalice by the deacon. I was then required to turn and walk to my position near the altar. But the fear from the inital handoff caused me to seize up and get a bit dizzy. Then while trying to calm down and turn my body to walk into position, I nearly lost my balance and fell . . . but didn't. I got into position, but was a bit rattled. (And perhaps it didn't help that I was wearing a suit--not normal attire, but it was Easter Sunday--and was a bit hot?)

ANYWAY. . . I managed to keep it together until halfway through the Eucharist. But randomly, I got psyched out again and seized up for a moment again. I literally had to reach out and grab hold of the unlucky parishoner who I was serving at the time. (Sorry Al!) He probably thought I was passing out because of locked knees or overheating or something. And I didn't want to get into a discussion of the problem in the middle of the service. But I assured him I was okay and everyone moved on. (I'm not even sure people noticed.) But then, it happened again a few more people down the line and someone did notice. She helpfully stepped up and asked if I wanted to let her finish . . . which I did. I quietly walked out into the hallway to cool off and drink some water. When I felt better the service was concluding and everything went along as normal.

Lynda hadn't even noticed that I had left, so I was reassured that I hadn't made a spectacle of myself. (But, it could have been worse, to be sure.)

And I thought . . . well, that was unfortunate. But I thought it was a mental thing that I could overcome. I was now nervous about it and preparing myself to do this thing. It was a predetermined result of my brain thinking about it before it happened. Maybe I could find a way to calm down, trust myself, and do my job.

Then . . . this past Sunday, I was going to receive the chalice from another person and my legs seized up on me as I took the cup to sip.

This time it was happening to me on the other side of the handoff. Even as a regular taker of the Eucharist, not as the provider, I was having the same psychological/physical freak out.

So, now . . . what do I do? How can I overcome this problem? I have long ago accepted the physical limitations that my condition set in me as a young kid. But it has never bothered me mentally until now. And I have never let my physical limitations prevent me from doing things in the past. I don't want to let this hold me back . . . but I'm not going to lie . . . I'm kind of concerned.

I don't expect an answer from you, Reader. I just wanted to take this chance to write something about it and hopefully take a step or two towards facing this (admittedly minor) problem. Maybe I can start to overcome it.

1 comment:

rev. thunder said...

Sounds like a simple case of mystical transcendence. Just another religious experience of the ineffable by a pure soul. Pretty soon everyone will be worshipping YOU; good thing you have a blog.