Up and Down All the Parkinson's Days

Ever since I felt my first tremors, there have been a lot of different days of Parkinson’s. Obviously, some days are better than others. Nevertheless, each day is a statement of what this condition is and who I am in relation to it.

Understanding and learning from each moment helps me redefine who I am and who I need to be. More importantly, recognizing the changes lets me acknowledge the bad times aren’t forever and that the good times are equally finite.

The positive wave with Parkinson's

Somedays, I feel like I can take on almost any challenge that is put before me. It’s that sensation inside that makes me want to smile for all I have, as opposed to focusing on the things that I’ve lost. I like those days a lot, but isn’t that obvious? It’s like saying I’d like to win the lottery or that winning is so much better than losing.

On days like that, I just want to feel the cool breeze run through what little hair is left on my head. Those are the moments that I can sit in a patio chair and just "be" for a while. That said, it’s also moments like that, which let me know I’m still Dan. Here, I don’t need to "do" anything special since life in the right here and now, even a life with Parkinson’s, is pretty okay.

An object at rest

There are other times where it’s hard to get out of bed. I don’t feel motivated to do more than lie on the sheets, letting the overhead fan cool me off and drift me back to sleep. Anything more than that is too much. And yes, those days completely and totally suck.

At my most motionless, in those moments, my Parkinson’s mind tells me that Sparky, who is whimpering at the door, can wait to go for a walk. After all, my wife is downstairs. Fortunately, my responsible side is still there to tell me that it’s time to get my lazy butt out of bed to walk him.

I am happy with having him as an athletic trainer and the canine equivalent of Jeff Dunham’s ventriloquist doll, Peanut. I’m lucky to have Sparky in my life to set me straight to what should be my priorities. As he just turned 2, we’ve got a lot of good times together. I need to earn them. Besides, if I don’t move, he might use my office floor as his bathroom!

Some days I feel overwhelmed

Sometimes, when everything I’m thinking is clearly wrong, I’ll feel overwhelmed. These days are not my favorites, but that too is obvious to anyone who has ever heard Johnny Mathis sing about his favorite things and their opposites.

Fortunately, I have coping mechanisms. Here, I will consciously acknowledge that I need to think back to the 1990’s TV show Seinfeld and remember how George Costanza (temporarily) fixed his life when he did the opposite of everything that he was doing wrong to make his life right. I’m not able to do this every day, nor was he. But a lot of times, it’s a little life hack like this that has the possibility to do the trick.

A force of resistance

Being stronger than the storm isn’t always about truly being stronger than any challenge placed before a person. Sometimes, it’s just about being confident, playing a strong hand,
There are days when my mental philosophy fills me with the sensation that I’m a "world-beater." It’s like when the Arizona Diamondbacks walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded, as opposed to facing him. Those are the days when nothing gets me down. It’s like my life history taught me everything I needed to know about dealing with Mr. Parkinson’s tricks, so take that you scumbag!

The hurting times

Then there are the other times that the symptoms get too much, and I want to scream. It’s like the universe caught me boasting and is now forcing me to put up or shut up.

Sometimes, it feels like they will last forever, but the thing about time is that it keeps moving. When it does, I might wake up to find that I have the opportunity to make it one of those better days. If not, it’s back to the drawing board to figure out a way to make it better or to push through it.

It may not be fun, but the alternative is far less fun. Thus, here’s to all of our better days.

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