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Just Another Hurdle – Attitude Is Everything

If I may digress for just a moment. January of 2007 I had my first heart surgery, a double bypass, to be exact, followed by a repeat of the same operation three years later. By that time my body had been through hell, or so I thought because I began suffering intense back pain. So, I had my first back surgery in 2012 which was done after long periods of acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic and a series of shots in my back, all of which served as a band aid. So, in 2017 I underwent a spinal fusion, which sort of corrected the problem.

But more to the point. I was a court reporter for almost thirty-seven years, twenty-three of those years spent working in Brooklyn Supreme Court. Of course, having total control of my finger movements operating a stenotype machine, without conscious thought, was key to working at times in very stressful situations.

I feel sorry for Parkinson’s

Then one morning, while waiting in the bus depot, my right index finger began to move uncontrollably, as if it had a mind of its own. It eventually stopped and I gave it no more thought. But then other manifestations began to appear. I’d be walking and I would lose my balance and fall against a wall. My fingers gradually could not find the correct keys to strike on my stenotype. Luckily, I was able to retire before I could no longer do my job at all.

September 2016, after suffering leg weakness, which I attributed to my back problems, I was sent for a DAT scan, which confirmed I had Parkinson’s. That’s all I needed after everything else. I decided to fight back. I had joined a gym several years before and worked out maybe once a week. But now I was mad. Not at anyone, but at my situation. I remember telling the gym owner, this is going to go one of two ways. Either Parkinson’s is going to beat me or I’m going to beat it. And I feel sorry for Parkinson’s.

Keep moving

Now, along with my daily medications and working out four times a week, I’m in better shape now than I was in my 20s and 30s. That’s the point. You have to keep moving. Walk, jog if you can. Hit the floor and do pushups, even if you can only do one. But it’s a start.

Sure, I get depressed. But then I snap out of it. Moving, not standing still, is great for the mind as well as the body. But move. And take your medication.

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