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Monday, November 15, 2010

August 17, 2010

I am 53 years old. . I am someone who loved childhood, and in a sense, never really left it. Which may be why I love facebook so much, it gives me a chance to reconnect with those friends who made my childhood so special. About 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. I knew nothing about the disease.

The first signs were micrographia (small writing). My handwriting became progressively smaller, and more and more illegible. Then I had difficulty grasping fine objects, such as a pen or a fork. My right leg would be uncomfortable when I sat for long periods of time. Finally I went to a neurologist. He ordered an MRI of my brain. Before anyone else can say this, I'll beat you to the punch, they found nothing. So he sent me to a Parkinson's specialist, initially just to eliminate it.

The specialist, who is still my Doctor, recognized the classic signs of early Parkinson's. The masked face, walking with the arm limp by my side, difficulty rising from a seat. Parkinson's commonly hits one side. Mine hit my right side. Had it hit my left side, I'm not sure that we'd have known it for years.

Along with regular visits and prescriptions, he sent me to physical therapy. Two of my therapists, are facebook friends. These are special people. They kick my butt (when I show up), they don't believe my bullshit, and the genuinely care. I consider them friends.

My colleagues (those that know) and my ex-office mates have been great. I had to move my office into my home. My friends allow me to use their office, they give me overflow work, and often wait around to drive me to the train. My ex-officemates, when they moved, took my name with them. They also gave me keys to the new office and make me feel like I'm still at home. Anybody who knows me, knows that I love to talk, I love to socialize. In many ways these friends have kept me alive.

My wife, is amazing. She saw the opportunity to purchase a second apartment in our building, did so, and set me up on the seventeenth floor with an office. I never meet clients there, but on days that I don't have to see clients, my commute is 6 floors by elevator. She also picks me up at the train in inclement weather, and mostly puts up with me. You see, I'm not the easiest patient.

Since I don't have a typical Parkinsonian tremor, most people are unaware of the affliction. Ergo, I often refuse to acknowledge it. I acknowledge no reason why I still can't do the things that I've always loved. I always took long walks. Although I have fallen three times, I don't completely accept that these incidents are Parkinson's related. The first time I slipped on the ice. The next two times, I fell over my own, riverboat like, feet.

Parkinson's patients sometimes act out their dreams.All of my dreams are sports related. I've jumped in bed trying to spike a volleyball. I've hit my hands against the headboard blocking a shot, playing basketball. On five different occasions, I've fallen out of bed. The most recent time, I was dreaming that I was sliding into first base. I woke up, unhurt, but pissed off. There is no reason to ever slide into first base. Furthermore, anybody who knows me, knows that I move much to slowly to make a play that close. I guess that my wife and I are lucky that I never liked Boxing.

My disease has progressed very slowly. Although I did initially get depressed and feel sorry for myself, I soon realized that that was a waste of valuable time.

A college buddy of mine, mentioned that he had heard that I was sick. I reacted with vitriol, "I am not sick." Everybody has problems, but I have learned to count my blessings.

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