a man is hunched over and dropped his cane in the aisle of a vast big box warehouse store

Expending Too Much Energy With Parkinson's Disease is Dangerous

One day last week, I did too much physical activity in one day. I went to the gym with my occupational therapist and participated in one hour of a strenuous exercise session. I did feel the burn after the session.

My wife picked me up in our car. She wanted to go with me to Costco to buy some things. Costco is a large warehouse filled with aisles and aisles of everyday goods that we use. I took my cane and went shopping with her. So, pushing the shopping cart for extra support, we started our journey by exploring each aisle for items that we use. We spent over an hour there navigating each aisle, putting the groceries, etc. that we needed into the wagon.

Losing energy

All of a sudden, I felt that I was expending too much of my residual energy and knew that I was rapidly approaching my zero-tolerance level for standing, let alone walking. I had never before felt this way. My internal gas tank was pointing to zero. I felt that I was in great trouble of collapsing onto the floor.

Now, desperately trying to find a chair or box to sit on, I pushed myself with the little energy I had left to remain upright. I visually scoured the store for a chair. One small step at a time, I tried to get to the chair. With whatever residual strength I had left, I was laser-focused on reaching that chair without giving up and collapsing on the floor.

Alas, what felt like hours, but in reality was minutes, I finally reached the chair on display and dove into it like it was a swimming pool. Customers shopping nearby, watched this scene in shock, as I maneuvered myself onto the chair and were puzzled as to what was going on with me.

Maintaing energy with Parkinson's

However, only one compassionate elderly woman, in a motorized cart, who was handicapped, came over to me to see if I needed help. She empathetically offered me solace and stayed with me until I could figure out the next step from getting from the chair in the middle of this cavernous store to the exit door. I was very embarrassed by the scene I unfortunately created. I asked my wife to speak to the manager of the store to bring me one of those motorized carts. Carefully, I transferred with assistance from the chair into the motorized shopping cart.

Cautiously, I maneuvered the cart to the cashier in the front of the store and gingerly placed some of my items on the conveyor belt for the cashier to ring up. Next, I had to maneuver this electric cart to the exit and patiently waited for my wife to retrieve the car. Finally, I was able to successfully transfer myself with the help of my wife, into the car. This was an embarrassing, frightening experience!

I learned so much from this experience. First, I realized that I must use an external reminder such as my iPhone to set a reminder and ring when I was due for my Parkinson's medication. Second,  I must listen to my inner voice when I have exerted too much energy and I needed a rest period to continue. Third, I must ask for help when I need it. Fourth, I must use my adaptive equipment when necessary. Fifth, I should be hydrated at all times. By carrying a bottle of iced water with me at all times, I can avoid the risk of dehydration. This was the first time that I experienced this new symptom. In addition, pushing myself to limit that point is dangerous and frightening.

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