A day in my life never passes that at least a few people check by phone or stop by to see how I’m doing. And when I get out in public I am usually inundated by folks who want to look me over and make sure I’m still standing. To be perfectly honest, it feels kinda good to know that friends and casual acquaintances have some concern for my well-being.
There was a time in my life when it was dangerous to ask me how I’m doing unless you really, and I do mean really and truly wanted to know, because I would talk your ear off as I complained about a long list of afflictions. I could spend five minutes complaining about my hangnail and try to convince you that I still hadn’t got over that chigger bite I got picking blackberries last year.
Instead of asking you about your well-being, I’d be more apt to note that you sure were looking pretty good because the last thing I wanted was to hear that you had more problems than yours truly even if I knew you had bone cancer.
Now days, when I ask you how you’re doing and you start spouting off a laundry list of health problems, I start feeling better if you sound worse off than I am. And if you ask me how I’m doing, I’ll simply say:
“Well my mind’s still warped
And my body’s spent
But I’m doing real good
For the shape I’m in.”
That I’m coping and not doing too bad for an old fart and let it go at that. Because the truth of the matter is that most of us don’t really want to hear the gory details and I really don’t know why we ask in the first place.
People tell me, all the time, that they’re sorry that I’m “suffering” from Parkinson’s Disease. The truth of the matter is that I’m not really “suffering” all that much. There’s not much pain associated with this disease, other than nagging headaches that are sometimes awfully aggravating.
And, while it is true that I wobble more than walk and frequently don’t know what day it is and sometimes forget the dog’s name, none of that stuff really hurts, so I rarely feel like I “suffer.” I’ve always been impatient and normally aggravated about something so that’s not new. My kids will tell you that I’ve been grumpy as long as they’ve known me. Mr. Parkinson simply gives me a whole new set of stuff to grump and be impatient about.
The fact of the matter is that getting old is not for sissies, no matter what disease or infirmity we may have and complaining, long and loudly, hardly ever solves the problem or makes things any better.
If anything, I’m a lot luckier than a lot of folks I know. While it’s true that there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, the medications that I am taking sure do relieve the most severe symptoms. My neurologist tells me that he has never had a patient respond as well to Sinemet, the Parkinson’s miracle drug, as I have.
While I sure don’t want to have to do it again, he is also baffled that I keep bouncing back from massive strokes.
The reason I feel lucky is because I have several friends who have had hip replacement or knee replacement or big time shoulder surgery and they are in constant pain. Several have had cancer, in one form or another. And, from my observation all of them are far more qualified to tell you about suffering than am I.
Loretta went through rotor cuff surgery last year and then endured months of physical therapy that bordered on torture, from my observation. She complained far less about it than I did about the aforementioned chigger bite. So, now I am trying to emulate my wife when it comes to dealing with Parkinson’s.
Her style was to make fun of herself and try to convince her family and friends that the necessity for her surgery was her own fault and that, in the long run, it would pay off. I’m not really convinced of that but the attitude seems to work for her.
I’ve found that it’s far more productive to poke fun of Mr. Parkinson than it is to let him wear me down and be a bother to everyone around me. And as far I’m concerned, he has met his match, at least for the time being.