I have been trying to date again and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m 40… I know, how can it be with my flawless skin… or because I’m currently in an exclusively relationship Parkinson’s. Why date now after being single for 2 years? Well, it could be because whenever I am watching a really good show and something crazy happens, like in the “Walking Dead” when the evil villain Negan is about to kill the sweet innocent Glenn with a baseball bat wrapped with barbwire and he says to his love Maggie, “I’ll find you”… then WACK! I just wanted to scream, shake someone and say, ‘Did you see that?!” but when I turn to my couch, I only see my dog Crash and he won’t understand the significance of Glenn’s death, because Maggie is actually pregnant with their child! Ahhhh!… sorry, I digress.
Maybe I feel like I should date because the only cuddling I get is when Crash and I spoon at night. Then again, my friends and family are always encouraging me to meet a man, a partner in crime, someone to laugh at my weird sense of humor. They hope that I can find someone who will care for me and be my rock when the waves are rolling in. While all that sounds good, I know that my Parkinson’s disease is a lot for someone to take on, but furthermore, it’s a lot for me to take on.
When you care for someone, you must be vulnerable. Showing the good, the bad, the ugly and the uglier. It’s comforting to come home after a day of work, turn on the television and chill on the couch. If I don’t have plans at night, I will lower my medications so I don’t have bad dyskinesia that will keep me up. This makes my symptoms more apparent, which I am finding more comfortable to do alone in my apartment. This worries me. Is it going to just harder to let someone into my life if I keep people out? Don’t answer that…
So I have made it my mission to actively try to date. It can’t be that hard. I can go into a crowded room and talk to complete strangers. I will point out my Parkinson’s symptoms, while making conversation with no fears or reservations. But when you add the word “date” into it, all of a sudden, things change.
Ok, let me give you the deets… that’s what the kids are calling “the details” nowadays. I met a man on a dating app on my phone. You know, one of those swipe right for the men you are interested in or swipe left for ones that don’t grab your attention. So I swiped right on a man who had similar interests as me and had a great smile… we will call him, “Mr. Smiles”. We exchanged a few messages and then a couple of phone calls and we seemed to click. He didn’t get freaked out when I told him about my extensive ceramic cat collection that I dust on a daily basis, so I knew that he was all right with my odd sense of humor. I decided not to tell him about my Parkinson’s ghost in the closet until we met in person… didn’t want to scare him off too early.
We decide to meet at a local bar in the afternoon for a drink. I told him to look for the girl holding a ceramic cat figurine. I arrived early, so I decided to walk around the nearby stores. I found myself having a bazillion thoughts running through my head and butterflies in my tummy. I was a little shocked by my response. I’ve never had nerves when meeting people… where did this come from? I decide to put a safety pill in my pocket, just in case I needed a Sinemet during the day date with Mr. Smiles.
I spot him approaching as I wait outside. He looked just liked his profile pictures… it was a relief knowing that I wasn’t being catfished. We said our hellos and made our way to the bar. The moment I take a seat, I feel a hot flash coming on. I think to myself, “Of course. Why wouldn’t I have a flash of fire singeing my face and neck?” I try to find a way to wipe sweat off my upper lip and still look cool.
Glistening like I just ran 10 miles, I try to stay focused on the conversation, but now I’m becoming aware that my dyskinesia has decided to join the date. “Just sit still” I tell myself as sweat is streaming down my face. I am officially a hot mess and not pulling it off because Mr. Smiles says, “you look very uncomfortable, are you nervous?” Normally, I would joke about my hot flash and educate those around me that dyskinesia can make me look like I’ve got ants in my pants, but for some reason I just felt awkward.
We spent the next hour sharing details about our lives, when I notice that my meds are going off… but no worries, I have the secret pill in my pocket. Although I was prepared, how do I get it out of my jeans and into my mouth without him noticing? I see my chance when he looks away to check his phone. I lean back on my stool and pull the yellow savior out of my pocket. Glancing back to make sure Mr. Smiles was still distracted I pop the pill in my mouth and take a swig of my tonic water. Just like a kid trying to steal a treat from the cookie jar, I was successful in my sneakiness.
I realize that if it weren’t a date, I would pull out my whole pillbox and dig through the plethora of medication I carry on a daily basis without giving it a second thought. I don’t waste time trying to make people feel comfortable about my Parkinson’s. It’s something I can’t change. So why is it different when I’m out with a potential mate?
Well that day I shared with Mr. Smiles that I had Parkinson’s and that is why I might appear uneasy, but involuntary movements is part of my condition. Wish I could say that there’s a second date planned, but that would be a lie. Not sure if I should have waited to spring the whole PD thing on him, or maybe it was the ceramic cat thing… but this experience will help me on my next date. Wish me luck.