“I did not trip and fall. I attacked the floor and I believe I am winning.”– Anonymous
For those of us with Parkinson’s disease (PD), there are many unexpected little things that continue to confound us on fairly regular basis. Sometimes we can figure out a way to combat the problem successfully. Or not.
Here are a few things that continually get in the way of life as usual for me and some of my solutions, if I have found any.
One of my biggest challenges has been that I do not always pick up my right foot enough when out walking. So the curb that was once so easy to navigate before suddenly became a black diamond ski run. My toe catches and I go flying! After the first eight or nine times it happened, I started to catch on. I had to be more mindful while I was walking, not looking ahead of me, but looking down.
One other little problem with looking ahead is I did not always see the obstacle beneath me. Twice while traveling (and maybe I can blame the first one on jet-lag), I had a major encounter with the ground. In Hong Kong, where the streets are always under construction, Mr. Twitchy and I decided to take the sidewalk rather than the elevated walkways between buildings. While looking at the amazing skyline ahead of us, I failed to see a cover over the sidewalk and went sprawling. A bruised ego, arm and leg were the result. Another trip, I walked right into a sink hole that was about 4 feet deep. Never saw it coming.
Now that I pay more attention when I am out walking, I have a new problem. While looking down, I bump into people and things because I don’t look up. But at least I am not tripping anymore. Maybe a periscope will help.
Do you lose track of time? I get so involved in something, whether it is a puzzle, TV show, reading a book or playing games, that I totally lose track of time. I used to be ready to leave the house early, but not anymore. Because I lose track of time, I can’t find my purse, my phone or something else important I forget to get ready. How many times do you get in the car and realize you forgot something? Then it is back into the house to find it, which makes you even later.
Do you have an itchy scalp? That one was not in the Parkinson’s Play Book, but apparently it is pretty common for Parkies. I got some relief from a shampoo that was recommended, but it never lasted very long. Last time I got a haircut, my hairdresser used a plastic scalp massager on my head while washing my hair. I didn’t itch for several days. I went to the drug store and found one that works well for me. My scalp is much happier these days.
I still attempt to play tennis. But like playing the piano, my hands don’t always cooperate. I take a great swing at the ball, and then…my hand decides to lose its grip on the racket right at the moment of impact. I have thought of strapping the racket to my hand, but I don’t think that will work. (Does anyone have a solution for this?)
Do you play a musical instrument? Can you get both hands to cooperate at the same time? I started taking piano lessons five years ago, the first time since I was 13. I really had not played the piano since my kids were little, so it had been probably 30 years since I had played. My right hand was tight from PD and playing the piano really helped open it up. I enjoyed playing again, especially classical music which I appreciate much more now than when I was 13.
While playing the piano was great for my poor brain, several problems got in the way. My fingers did what they wanted to do — not what I wanted them to do. I could not memorize music at all. And I frequently lost my place when looking up and down between the music and the piano keys. (Anyone else have this problem? Have you found a solution for it?)
Finally, there is my handwriting. I am grateful for computers and iPads so I can take notes with a keyboard, or record something to play it back later. As someone who used to do calligraphy professionally, this is the ultimate insult. My handwriting can be good and bad within the same sentence. Of course, when you want to write something that needs to be legible, it is always impossible.
Do you have anything you would like to share? Little problems that you have found a solution for, or are seeking a solution? Let’s start a conversation. Please respond in the comments below.
Follow this journey on on Twitchy Woman: My Adventures With Parkinson’s Disease.