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My Parkinson's Journey

In which Terri shares a humorous look at her journey with Parkinson's disease and Dystonia:

For me, illness and health are not opposites but exist together. Everyone has something that is challenging to them. Mine just simply has a recognizable name. My life will take a different path because of this but that's okay. Everyone has changes in their lives that create their path.  I'm learning how to enjoy whatever path I'm on.

The PD We Don't See

Terri Reinhart

“Words are like nets - we hope they’ll cover what we mean, but we know they can’t possibly hold that much joy, or grief, or wonder.”
— Jodi Picoult

Tonight my dear husband, what's-his-name, made me sit down and watch a video about the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. I was going to watch it earlier this afternoon, but I suddenly had to lie down and take a nap. When I got up, I had more energy and decided to get lots of chores and errands done. This included a trip to the thrift shop where I picked up an old Victor Victrola cabinet on impulse. I have no idea where I will put it in our house, but it was too cool to pass up. When I got home, our son (John? Tom? Dave?... oh yeah, PATRICK) was there because it's Saturday and he won't pass up the chance to have a hot meal each week. He and his father helped haul the cabinet into the house.

Chris then asked what I was going to do with the chicken I had gotten out for dinner. “Cook it,” was my reply. Beyond that, I had no idea. Planning ahead isn't my forte. Eventually, dinner was made (curried chicken), Patrick left, Emma was working on her homework, and I sat down to learn about just how wonky I really am.

Here is the link to the video:

The PD You Don't See

It was humbling to watch this and recognize my own challenges with word retrieval, sleep, temperature regulation, too much saliva when I'm trying to talk, among other things. The doctor recommends we do all our important stuff in the mornings when we are functioning at our best, which is, of course, why I signed up for a 400/500 level college class that goes from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Let's face it, by 5:00 my brain is saying “Thhhhhat's all ffffolks” and turning down the sheets, letting me go out into the cold without it.

Oddly enough, I do most of my writing in the evening. Hmm.

However discouraging these challenges can be, there is an upside to some of these strange symptoms:

Disordered autonomic nervous system – Hot flashes aren't just for women, men with PD get them, too. Saves on heating bills.

Word retrieval – I'm getting better at swearing. Those words I can always retrieve.

Impulsivity – Used sparingly and carefully, this can add a little fun into our lives. Besides, we really NEEDED an old Victrola cabinet in our house.

Vision problems – Hey, the world is just a little softer place now, that's all. And you'll always look good to me.

I'm not trying to brush off this stuff. It's important we parkies pay attentions to all this and make sure we eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep, don't overdo it, get enough cognitive stimulation, and make sure we get out into the world. There's also some stuff I don't like to think about at all, like being more susceptible to things like strokes and melanoma. Pay attention, but don't dwell on that stuff. Make things fun.

Which is why I'm sticking to my college class, even when my brain has clocked out for the day.


The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
— E. E. Cummings