When a common ailment messes with you and your PD symptoms
Last updated: March 2023
Dear fellow Parkies, does this resonate?
Things have been going pretty well. Your own particular blend of symptoms have sorted out their pecking order, stiffness and joint pain mostly in the mornings; your gut settles down sometime after mid day and you're walking with limited use of your cane. The meds are working. You are hardly shaking, unless someone or something gets your goat and there are moments, sometimes hours, when you feel quite normal! It's still a rollercoaster but it's a rollercoaster that's going nice and slow!
All of a sudden you start to feel light-headed; you are a bit wobbly and clumsy. What's going on? Are the PD symptoms getting worse?
Common cold and Parkinson's
In a way, yes. You get a little headache and a tickle in your nose and all hell breaks out. It's as if there is a new kid on the block and all the other kids are being jostled out of their happy routine. Your symptoms rebel and fight to regain your attention. Your muscle and joint pains start earlier and by two thirty in the morning, you just have to get up and move your body. It feels like you are carrying a watermelon around in your gut. Your calves spasm and the dreaded curly toes seem to be mocking you, there is nothing you can do to stop them from playing their macabre tune at the end of your feet. Day one and you feel defeated. But wait, now you’re sneezing and coughing - it is just a cold that's causing this chaos. You can overcome.
Years ago, when I was working on a brand of cold medication, we conducted some very insightful research into the psychology of the cold. In the first stage of a cold there is relief, we deserve a rest a little pampering goes a long way. So Parkie peeps, rest a while. After a day or two, the study told us, the cold starts to be a nuisance. People can't do the things they want to do, they feel helpless, hopeless, frustrated and out of control. Now they start to look for ways to feel better. The search can be almost frantic.
Cold medications don't interact well with the PD meds I am taking – Parkie buds beware lest the same is true for you – so I need to look to alternative methods to restore health and regain control. For me, at least, regaining control and maintaining a positive attitude are most important if I am to enjoy life with and in spite of the Parkinson's. Any slip and those pesky PD symptoms will be only too happy to fill the void. Gotta fight them no matter what.
In need constant reminders
We all have our 'go-to' methods. My way of taking charge, is Qi Gong - Qi Gong exercise, and Qi Gong meditation. This practice has helped me get into and, mostly, maintain a positive frame of mind, it is my way of living and enjoying life with PD. Still, just recently, it took a reminder from my teacher that I need to practice daily, to get me up and going once the latest common cold had taken grip. It boggles the mind how easy it is to slip into the old habits of complacency. We need constant reminders to do for ourselves that which does us good. Two days later I feel regenerated and re-energized. The cold symptoms are running their natural course and my Parkinson's symptoms are returning to their old routine. The battle continues and it's Parkinson's One: Me 2.
Do you experience issues with spatial awareness?