© 2013 Jules


When I was twelve years old I was diagnosed with a benign essential tremor.  (In case you got excited by my title, no this post will not be about the 1990 American western monster film.)  I had really shakey hands growing up.  My mom used to take me to the nursrey as a baby and the ladies taking care of me would ask if I was cold because I was shaking.  In elementary school my friends all thought I was nervous all the time because of my trembling hands.  At 12 I became fed up with constantly spilling things and dropping things and people being solicitously concerned for my quaking and went to see a neurologist.

Benign Essential Tremor. Yes, I have it.  I am living with a tremor. I like to call myself benignly essential.  My rude older brother says I am essentially benign.

Caffiene has quite the effect of my tremor.  Turns me into a quaking machine.  Perhaps this is why I am such a fan of tea, it is low in caffiene, so I get the energy boost but don’t feel the buzz in my hands.  Drinking coffee makes it hard for me to type, I tennd to hiitt keeeyss moorree tthann onncce.  Energy drinks- forget about it.  I drank half a Red Bull once in college at a dorm ice skating event and was trembling all over, it caused my skates to created snow out of the ice and I left a wake of flakes drifting behind me.

I take a beta blocker to supress the shaking which has various other ramifications, such as a supressed heartrate, steading of my voice and slowing my reactions.  Archers take beta blockers to help them shoot more accurately.  Vocalists take beta blockers to smooth their singing.  I did consider pursuing both those professions; but arrows have a nasty habit of avoiding their targets when being handled by me, and I was too lazy to practice the diagraphagm strengthening exercises my vocal instructor assigned.  So I pursued the next logical avenue for someone with shakey hands: fine art photography.

Suffice it say, slow shutter speeds are not my friend.  Although, I did once consider producing a collection of blurry images to convey the state of perpetual motion I find myself in.  The abstract results aren’t too shabby.

Tremor Bulb

I have gotten pretty good at supressing the tremor for the sake of my photographs, so it was actually quite difficult to allow myself to shake naturally while taking a shot.

Tremor Maverick

I like how the motion of my tremor enhances Maverick’s unruly fur.  It lends dynamism which contrasts with his reclining pose.

Tremor Piano

I will also say that I took piano lessons for several years and still play regularly.  With a tremor, piano keys seem to shrink in size and blur because fine motor control is much harder.  It is like ultimate paino, where the keys fight back.  Needless to say, I tend to hit wrong notes quite frequently, or slide off the edge of keys in my shaking fury.  But life with a tremor goes on, I accept spilled drinks as they happen and avoid artificial stimulants; unless I want to shake like a Chihuaua at a vetrinary office.

One Comment

  1. Posted July 23, 2013 at 11:16 am | #

    I was on beta blockers for years … I did love that when I was visiting family and forgot my meds I could just borrow from my grandma. I did not love almost blacking out every time I stood up.

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