a man with several arms, each pointing and placing blame on Parkinson's

The Blame Game

Recently, my wife assigned me to the task of picking up garage door openers and then having the guy at the store reprogram them. While there, I thought I would be helpful and reassemble the old cases, but my tremors weren’t being agreeable.

After a minute or so of ineffective use of a screwdriver, I gave up. Instantly, I went to my old stand-by response: blame Parkinson’s. On one hand, I didn’t have a personal stake in reassembly, but I also didn’t want to appear like I couldn’t use a screwdriver.

"My Parkinson’s has me a little shaky today."

Plenty of blame to share

In life, there are so many things to blame our problems on other than Parkinson’s. For instance, getting older is a nice start. In his book Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut wrote, "I knew it was going to be bad getting old ... I didn’t know it was going to be this bad." That’s not absolute, but it’s sometimes a fair blame.

For instance, I’m now 50, so it’s realistic to expect that I’d be slowing down and getting heavier. I changed a lot of my ideology and interests. Maturity and wisdom are a fair trade to no longer be Simone Biles (gymnast) or Steph Curry (basketball).

However, when it’s a slow descent into aches and pains, as well as the inability to have the range of motion we once did, someone is getting blamed.

Gradual symptom progression

Parkinson’s disease feels like I’m in a crockpot, bubbling in my symptoms and "pressure-cooked" until I’m too "well-done." As I move into the forest surrounding stage 3, I notice the extra spiciness of how "the chef" seasoned my condition.

Fingers only tremors are now upper body shakes. The newest variation of the back pain of sciatica can leave me crawling across the floor, unable to stand. It always hurt, but not like that.

For a lot of issues, we can blame political leaders or follow Milli Vanilli’s lead and blame the rain, but not here. Besides, it’s not as if I developed my symptoms overnight, as if they were the result of a single event. Severity increases incrementally. Conditioning is gradual. Nevertheless, eventually, the things that I don’t see building are too hard to miss at some point.

Heat issues

Last year, summer was so hot it went beyond "hot" to being "HOT" out there. By mid-July, I was at the melting point. No amount of "cold" air conditioning would help. Recycled, burned air just felt nasty. Yes, that’s better than being sticky sweaty, but breathing dead air gets old.

With Parkinson’s, my heat sensitivity is terrible. Similarly, the cold in my toes during winter is terrible, too. I wish I could blame it on my niece Amanda, but she just blames me. In the end, it’s still just Parkinson’s fault, so I’ll leave her alone.

Movement challenges

Stress isn’t good for anyone, much less people with Parkinson’s. It’s easy to be late because we are stuck. Adulting and schedules are tough for anyone, much less a person with Parkinson’s who wants to remain in bed because they just can’t move.

I sure would like to blame that on curses associated with No, No, Nannette, a billy goat, or Rocky Colavito, but this is neurology, not baseball.

That said, 90 percent of Parkinson’s is mental, too, though the other half is physical. Both parts are terrible.1

Just not motivated

Not eating right or staying hydrated is a problem for Parkies, and it gets worse when we can’t motivate ourselves to make supper, much less to leave the couch to get food or drink.

Yes, folks, this is a problem I’d like to blame on someone, perhaps, Bill Buckner, Steve Bartman, and Fred Merkel. Then again, let’s let baseball pariahs be and place the blame right where it belongs: Parkinson’s.

Other problems

Let’s not blame chaotic anxiety from crosstown traffic and crowds on butterfly wings and sliding doors. Being overwhelmed while arranging and going to physical therapy appointments has nothing to do with murder hornets.

A shift in medication effectiveness or feeling out of whack while taking meds is not the fault of supply chain failure.

Yes, Parkinson’s effects are blamed on pesticides, but sadly, they could also be blamed on bad luck, not karma, or demons. Realistically, this is about genetics for a good lot of us, not about my wife being to blame. Besides, she’s responsible for my white chin hair.

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