Since I first blogged about my life “Before I had Parkinson’s”, more things have come to mind that I don’t want to leave out… so I will write a Part Deux. Sometimes it’s hard to think about the time prior to a diagnosis because when you have a neurological condition, you learn to adapt, to accept and move forward knowing that you will never be the same person again. Not worse, or better, just different. So adding to my list…
1. I never spent huge amounts of energy just trying to blend in.
-You don’t realize the effort that goes into looking somewhat normal. The voices in my head say, “Stand up straight. Smile… Be sure to show teeth… Oh no, too much, pull it back a bit. Swing your arm when you walk. Ok, now your hand is shaking, so sit on it. People are looking at you. They must know you’re having a hard day. Laugh… not creepily like you’re about to rob a bank. You see my friends, it takes a lot for a Parkie to blend into the crowd.
2. A late night used to be a party.
-I remember in my younger years, it was cool to stay out late and hang with friends. In fact, many activities that were worth doing didn’t even start until after 10pm. Now with Parkinson’s, by the time the clock hits 9pm, I am on my couch in my PJ’s, with Fro Yo in hand, snuggling with my dog Crash, while catching up on the reality shows on my DVR. Somehow watching someone else’s mistakes and misery on the telly makes me feel better about my life. And if it’s one of those funky nights that I can’t sleep… thank you Diva Parkinson’s… I will almost be guaranteed to have a funky day. The next morning, my PD symptoms will be everywhere and the predictability of relief from medication goes out the window. Who wants to join my party?
3. I could walk out the door without a second thought.
-Now as my Parkinson’s progresses, I find myself saying out loud before I step out of the apartment:
-Got my medication… Check.
-Got my identification… Check.
-Got my Fro Yo, platinum level (oh yeah) rewards member card… Check.
-Got my water bottle in case I have dry mouth… Check.
-Got my lip balm… Check.
I am guessing it is just like having a kid and all the crap you have to bring with you just to go to the grocery store for a jug of milk. It’s almost like I have given birth to a demanding little disease that has completely overrun my life. Wonder if I should create a college fund for the little tyke?
4. I could sell ice to Eskimos.
-Well not literally, but I used to be quick with my words. I could sell you on any idea. Examples please, Miss Perky you ask? Once I created a whole fitness program with no money… From guest instructors, to field trips for exercise experiences, all the way to a fully stocked professional gym based solely from donations. I don’t mean to brag, but it was a moment in my life where I realized I could do anything that I put my mind to. Now I find that I can’t seem to get my words out, or that I am talking like an extremely caffeinated, ADD, Jack Russell Terrier… Squirrel! And what’s more exciting is the mumbling that I have recently started throwing in the mix. It’s like a game for the listener… Come on down! You’re the next contestant on “What is Perky trying to say”.
5. I could woof down an entire cupcake in one bite.
-Alright, so maybe I’m not proud of this accomplishment, but it’s true. Before I had Parkinson’s, I could even swallow a hand full of pills and not think twice about it. Now, even if a crumb goes into my mouth I choke on it. There is not usually a day that goes by that I don’t cough or have trouble swallowing my food. Silver lining? Fro Yo is easier than water to chug! Now who’s the winner?
6. I had beautiful handwriting.
-I loved a new journal to write in, or a brand new pen to scribble down my little daily notes. But now, I can barely read my own handwriting…
7. Someone could say “Hurry Up” and I wouldn’t lose my mind.
-Just tell me “hurry up” or “we’re running late”… I dare you. I feel almost like I am panicking if I know that I am going to be late for something. The Parkinson’s Diva comes out and says, “I will make you actually slower if you imply that I need to rush and I might even sprinkle you with a bit of anxiety.
8. I used to be able to tell if I had something on my face.
-I know this one might sound crazy to some people, but before I had Parkinson’s disease, I knew if I had food on the corner of my mouth or something in my teeth. Now, I have no idea that I just jumped into a conversation with my cute neighbor while sporting the chocolate ice cream I just hoovered down while shamefully hiding in my apartment… Well now there is no concealing the evidence of my reprehensible act.
Well I can only guess that my list of “Before I had Parkinson’s” will continue to grow, but for now this is the end of my part deux. Hope everyone is well and had giggle at how crazy life can be.