Whose Fault Is This?

It had never occurred to anyone (least of all the doctors) that Posy would be struck down with an "old person’s" mobility disease such as Parkinson’s.

Remember that phrase in her medical notes: "I reassured this young lady that she definitely did not present with Parkinson’s"?!

Well, now that it was identified, Posy wondered if her lack of will-power, with regard to diet and exercise, had triggered this unwelcome disease.

Is burn-out a factor?

Does Parkinson’s develop erratically? Is it genetic, and there is nothing we can do about it?

Does Parkinson’s affect only those who carry the gene (if there is one) and who fail to eat or exercise properly?

Here is another thought: Perhaps Parkinson's attacks those of us who burn ourselves out? After all, stress is a factor in many physically manifested illnesses.

Type-A stress

As I think we have established, Posy had always been a "Type A" personality. It would be interesting to take a poll to find out how many of us "Parkies" were Type A, or Type B.

Posy was a determined high-achiever with an overwhelming sense of responsibility. She was a hard worker, efficient, organized, and self-disciplined. As a student, she prepared thoroughly for exams and ended up with top notch qualifications.

As an actress, she learned the entire script for every show. As a TV Arts Correspondent, she conducted thorough research. As Director of Music, she dedicated herself to her work. As a pianist, she practiced for hours when a concert was looming, even when her hands hurt.

Pushing through the fatigue

As a young mother, Posy pushed through crippling fatigue and punishing migraines to take the best care of her precious baby (and, similarly in later years, her ailing father), intent on maintaining the highest standards.

Active, persistent, honest, and sincere, she was sometimes bullied for her principles. Posy was far from perfect. But the point is, she was not weak-minded or lazy. Sadly, but inevitably, "perfection" came at a price and she was hospitalized with severe pneumonia.

Exercise requires motivation

Exercise alleviates stress and sometimes Posy thoroughly enjoyed it. However, she could cite a million reasons and excuses for NOT exercising. These excuses included having no free time, inconvenient classes, exhaustion, and ailments. Oh, and lack of willpower!

Ironically, this changed when, after her diagnosis, and having had to quit work, Posy finally had the time to exercise during the day.

She joined a fabulous club which held excellent dance classes in ballet, lyrical/modern, and Zumba. Posy eagerly participated 3 times a week and chatted with friends over lovely lunches by the lake. Life was pretty good.

There was no time

Sadly, the following year, Posy's motivation decreased as her fatigue increased. The long drive to the club was becoming hazardous, and she had to stop driving altogether. Posy's world was fast shrinking and then ... BOOM! The pandemic closed everything down.

Live "Zoomed" exercise classes were frustratingly out of sync and there was no joy in following an anonymous online class, whereas chatting outside with her neighbors was fun!

There are only so many useful, energetic hours in the day of a Parkie. Posy's seemed to be declining rapidly. As such, Posy also felt there was no time to exercise any more.

Posy was spending her "useful hours," plus many more, on composing a musical (fulfilling) and keeping the house clean (necessary).

Feeling responsible for PD

At this point, Posy is hoping one day her energy would return and she might find a dance class that runs while she is wide awake!

One day, it might become clear whether an imperfect diet, inconsistent exercise, together with many prescription drugs taken for other (in hindsight, probably related) issues, can cause or exacerbate the loss of dopamine in anyone's brain; or whether a rogue gene needs to be present from birth?

Whatever the answer, it is difficult not to feel at least partly responsible!

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