Saturday, November 6, 2010

Good Days, Bad Days

Be, the Box Turtle, fails to negotiate a high (for a turtle) and narrow path.  Courtesy Toni McLaughlin
Some days it doesn't pay to venture out.  Some days, we try our hardest, but, instead, we fall on our faces.  The last few days have been difficult.  The Klonopin the neurologist gave me has started doing what other sleep aids did--Ambien, for example, which can make a person somnambulate, take a spin in the car, and strip the 'fridge of every bite of food.  Well, instead of helping me sleep right after taking it,  this stuff did little when I took it, then "rebounded" 12 hours later and almost caused me to fall asleep driving.  After I got home, I then slept, but I already felt like Be above. So I have been resting--camouflaged in my surroundings.

One of my former captains, Tom Mayberry, died of "complications of Parkinson's" the other day. How we hate to hear those words added to an already upsetting death notice. Couldn't they be specific and tell us what specific complications?  Tom was a good man and the kind of captain who trusted a person to do her job if she had proven she was competent. He was my captain on the arson squad. I loved that job; he hated it. So he let me do my job, and, when standard operating procedures called for his presence, he stayed out of my way and let me work, but he always had my back--which is what a person wants on a dark and dangerous night. Captain Thomas Mayberry (Nashville Fire Department, ret.), may your memory be for a blessing.

Depression often accompanies Parkinson's, especially when we feel worsening symptoms.  Yesterday, I don't know which came first.  What I do know is that venturing into the classroom--head out, legs strong and ready to navigate out of the mitzrayim [Hebrew, narrow places] and emerge as the dynamic and charismatic professor my students went on a waiting list to get--led to tremors, doubts, and one student's defiant rudeness.  I  had an uncharacteristic misstep from which I could not recover.  I think of our dopamine problem coupled with depression as dueling banjos for which we take often contraindicated medications. I confided in my fellow teacher, Ray, who has more years of teaching under his belt and who well knows distracting health problems. He gave me that permission I needed to be good to myself and go home......oh, and not worry about calling off two classes.

Soon I start  LSVT LOUD speech therapy for people with Parkinson's and other  conditions. This is a positive step and will require a month of intensive therapy.  Now, at this very moment, I have to do what I promised to do when I started blogging and get my walking stick out and venture out of my safe place into 29-degree weather.  I was starting to give in to worries about speech, swallowing (or not), the dreaded mask, tremors, and the big D.  So here goes. Be's person, Toni, says Be is not hibernating this year, but, fortunately, she doesn't live in this climate, nor does she actually live outdoors; she goes on supervised adventures.  Here goes--for Be, for all of us living with PD, for our significant others who live with this as much as we do, and for my sanity--a walk and a concerted effort to climb back onto my path, however narrow and dangerous it gets.
What's this? A new path? Come, check it out with me.
(Photo courtesy of Toni McLaughlin)

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