The Right to Grrr

Somewhere in the midst of colonoscopy prep, I realized I had enough. Like many people with Parkinson’s, when I don’t eat, I get HANGRY (i.e GRRR). Starting Monday at noon, pretty much after I got up, I was off real food until after my 2 PM appointment the next day was finished.

I did have a few Jello containers before prep began, but really, they don’t count. Do you know why there’s always room for Jello? Because it’s just more substantial than air (even though it tastes better than some items on a liquid diet).

Hence, by 5 PM, I excused myself to my room to avoid human contact for fear I would take feeling starved/growling (GRRR) out on my wife and my dog Sparky. As I’ve written in many other circumstances, it’s always good to know the moment is too much for our Parkinson’s emotions. Hence, we can excuse ourselves to "the room."

Is it worth it?

Fortunately, that worked. By the time I was put under anesthesia, I had contemplated a million options before coming up with Arby’s (because they have the meats). The fried chicken buffet was tastier, as was pizza, but they seemed a little much on an empty stomach. Gotta be responsible, you know?

By some fate of the universe, I made it until the next day and took the appointment, and well, we stopped at Arby’s to sate my hunger when I was cleared for another 5 years until the next time.

Throughout the ordeal, I found myself thinking about whether or not this whole "Roto Rooter" process was worth it. Long story short, it is, but in the meantime, a whole host of thoughts rushed through me like a bull in a china shop. My mind was playing Rage Against the Machine’s "Killing in the Name of," which definitely isn’t a "play nice" kind of feeling.

That's the thing about Parkinson's

Sometimes expletives directed at the universe (not others) is the answer. Just like hitting a punching bag, nothing gets hurt. The animosity comes out, and it has to come out.

"What?" you’re asking. Parkinson’s makes those of us with it angry? Go figure. I know, every day with Parkinson’s is a clown party with a bouncy house.

Some of us who have this condition feel we have to exist in an "I got this" state (that's ME). Because of this, we rehearse well-prepared answers, so we aren’t labeled a whiner. After all, if some Parkies can perform extreme fitness on their best days, we need to be able to do the Dentine Gleam.

(Note: Parkinson's athlete Jimmy Choi does talk about his rough days while presenting, but that’s not always included in the media’s time-limited coverage of him. Please note, I have nothing but respect for these athletes and their advocacy, especially Jimmy.)

Heros in adversity

This got me thinking about my own disability expectations. As a baseball fan, I always go back to my number 1 hero, Jackie Robinson, when it comes to how I confront adversity. After all, if Robinson can do 1947, there’s nothing I can’t do.

However, with his oversimplified biography, there is a feeling (for some) that he was heroic because he took abuse in the first few years of his career. Later, after African Americans were "accepted" in baseball, Brach Rickey, the Dodgers' GM gave Robinson the greenlight to stop taking crap.

Jackie definitively did so, and like another hero of mine, Roberto Clemente, much of his media persona changed in to "the attitude." Clemente’s crime was he hated being called "Bob," which he saw as removing his Latino heritage.

Facing the world with Parkinson's

In Parkinson’s corner of the world, Parkies find that they need to balance how they are seen, how they want to be seen, how they feel, and what this condition does to them. This is nothing unique, but it doesn't allow for us to be who we are because of Parkinson's, let alone imperfect.

Generally, I like to play nicely in the sandbox, but sometimes, like in E.E. Cummings’ poem about Olaf glad and big, "there is some shit I will not eat" (too). We all reach this place at points. When we're there, what do we do and how do we do it?

Return from time out

Yes, after I’ve had my chicken fingers, I’ll chill out and continue getting my innards on video. But sometimes, when I can and where I can, I’ll make my own choices of what I will and won’t do with regard to how and when I let my symptoms be treated.

If this means telling 5 percent of the population that they speak up rather than me wearing a hearing aid (yet), so be it. I know that doesn’t sound warm and fuzzy, but Parkinson’s isn’t kind and gentle either.

Besides, I’ve got enough changes that need to be confronted now, like those head tremors I didn’t see, but my wife did. I can’t write them off to jamming to the soundtrack in my head anymore. Nope, it's time to put on my big boy pants and hate Parkinson's to the soundtrack of Slayer (Grrr).

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