Parkie Tolerance

I marvel at the amount of leeway one Parkie will give another. Whereas, a Parkie will easily tolerate another Parkie who is movin’ and groovin’ in place, with no music playing, that same leeway might not be afforded a non-Parkie exhibiting the same dance fever. As a Parkie, the dyskinesia we get coming 'off' our meds puts us immediately into squirm mode, or rocking back and forth, doing what’s known as the Parkie Dance.

The part-time handicapped

If we see a person get out of a car parked in a handicapped parking spot, and there is no visual cues that the person actually has a handicap, we aren’t so ready to convict that person who might seem to be parking illegally. As a Parkie, I know there are times when my physical signs of impairment are not visible to the public. Parkies make this allowance.

On being helpful with Parkie super powers

This phenomenon works in reverse too and not always in our favor. A few years back, I was sitting on bench at a local marina, enjoying the breeze, reading a good book, and doing some people watching when I spied an older gentleman, walking very carefully and very slowly, with one hand always on the rail of the walkway he was making his journey on. I also noticed that his left hand was tucked away in his pocket, obviously hiding the lack of coordinated left, right, arm swing that assists in a natural walking gait. My super-smart powers of Parkie observation kicked into gear. As a fellow Parkie, I thought it would be a nice gesture to go over and maybe walk with him a bit.

So, I walked over to him, as he shuffled along, and introduced myself. Then I said, “I couldn’t help notice your walking situation and the fact that your left hand was tucked away. As a person with Parkinson’s disease I recognize a fellow Parkie when I see one and thought you might like some company for a few minutes.” He replied, “well I sure would enjoy the company, but I have to tell you, I do not have Parkinson’s.” And then he proceeded to tell me all about his untimely stroke and how he was there every day working his way back to a normal life, which had been very active. I was embarrassed at first, but after walking with him for a few minutes, and after having a short laugh at my expense we concluded my super powers of observation were not exactly, well, super.

Parkinson’s, the game

I have walked with other super-Parkies who actively try to pick out the Parkies from the crowd like they were on a hunting expedition. It reminded me of one of those old car games we used to play while driving with the family. Slug buggy was my favorite. When you see a Volkswagen Beetle before a fellow competitor does, you’d yell out something like “slug buggy yellow in that parking lot,” and then haul off and punch your brother in the arm, registering your point. Delightful.

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