Friday, October 24, 2014

A Not So Typical Week

Since this is only my 2nd post of the week I feel I need to give you a rundown of the week because it was most interesting (at least to me, no guarantee you'll find it interesting) and it started Sunday night.

For three weeks now I've had moderate to severe foot pain and I'm not sure what the cause was. It could have been the incident at the race track, might just be natural, but whatever it was I went to go get it looked at Sunday night at an urgent care place as I wanted to make sure that whatever it was, it'd be better by next month's Supernats in Vegas.

Some X-rays were taken in fears that it could be a small stress fracture and thankfully there was none, but from what I described the doctor diagnosed it as Plantar fasciitis and asked if I minded having a really big needle stuck into my foot. Without waiting for my answer he got the needle ready and for myself, it was a no brainer because next month for the five day race I'll standing and flagging for over 50 hours.

The cortisone shot got ready and as big as the needle was it didn't hurt anywhere as bad as other shots I've had (the yellow fever vaccination I had in 2005 was awful) at the time but as the night wore on my foot felt like a watermelon and I couldn't put any weight on it. No problem, I could rest, right? Well, resting in terms of sleep became impossible as my brain began to rush. I didn't know the cause and midnight turned into 1 turned into 2 and around three, and the fifth time I attempted to go to sleep but to no avail I looked up on the internet and other people claimed to have had sleep issues after getting a cortisone shot. Now whether or not that was the cause I don't know. As you probably know, I don't put too much faith in what the internet says regarding things medical, but whatever the cause I've never been so wired, focused, and not tired and 6 A.M. ever. It was downright awful!

Finally, somewhere in the 7 o'clock hour I got to sleep and it was nice, peaceful, 90 minute rest and then I was wide awake yet again. It was rather unsettling to be so awake knowing that I should be tired. I stayed wide awake all the way until the third game of bowling in league that night when I hit the proverbial wall and my body said, "no more."

I may have been wide awake but I couldn't do anything useful with it as I was rather tense and stressing about everything. I started writing a blog no less than a dozen times on Monday and never could get into the writer's mindset hence why the blog was dark on Monday.

Tuesday was a busy day as I drove to Park Hills, Missouri to deliver a C.I.T. presentation to over 20 police officers and from there I drove to Joplin as on Wednesday I would be returning to Nevada, Missouri (for those of you outside Missouri the town name is NOT pronounced like the state. It's pronounced Ne-vay-da and should you not say it this way someone will let you know you said it the wrong way. Missouri has more towns like this than I can even care to count and I've been corrected more times than I care to remember) and I was nervous. My blog earlier this week talked about being nervous returning to a couple schools I had just presented at 14 months prior.

It was rather neat, though, on how I got invited back down. Earlier this year there was a dance competition in Nevada and a couple that was in it used the money raised to get me to come back down. This was a huge honor for me and because of this I didn't want to disappoint even though I was so nervous before my first presentation of the day.



The morning presentation was, by my standards, shaky. Nobody else picked up on my nerves but I fought through them and that first presentation, pictured above, was big as it put me over 10,000 people spoken to for the year.

Later in the day I spoke at the middleschool and I felt a lot more confident for some unknown reason and I feel that this presentation was one of my strongest school presentations to date. On top of that the questions the kids asked were, as always, amazing and I keep getting asked more and more technical questions from kids so I'm going to have to do a better job staying up on research because, well, middleschoolers are reading a bunch of research papers as I'm finding out.

That evening I was back at the high school and I had an open to the public presentation which about 50 people attending which was a healthy number considering that parent teacher conferences were going on and game two of the World Series involving the Kansas City Royals was being contested. After the presentation I was given one of the most profound compliments and yet at the same time it was words of, well, I don't know how to exactly describe it.

So this compliment/something else was this. This person came up and told me, "Aaron, that was the most fantastic presentation I have ever seen and the best explanation of Asperger's I've ever heard. Should you ever quit what you are doing you will be doing a disservice to every person on the autism spectrum."

There are moments where the scope of what I am doing hits me, and when I was told this that was one of those moments. I lose track of the impact and I feel this is perfect because if I was fully aware, or I let myself feel what I was doing, the pressure would be unbearable. Being reminded every so often, however, is something I need because I do get frustrated with myself. I often wonder what I can do to write a better blog, to get my 2nd book published, and to reach bigger audiences. 

So that was my week and it will be a week to remember. The evening presentation in Nevada was my 100th of the year, 570th overall, and I'm now just 724 people away from reaching the unimaginable milestone of 50,000 total! I still can't believe this is my job, career, and passion and while the title of this post is, "A not so typical week" it would seem this is, actually, just another typical week in the life of an autism ambassador.

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