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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December 28, 2011. I fought the drawer and the drawer won

Today, I turn 55, and I don't feel a day over 55. Now somebody is bound to say that 55 is the new 40. That occurs only in a speed zone.

I'm having one of those rough PD mornings. You know the kind. I'm back from my walk, and don't feel like going out again for the rest of the day. The second pills should change that.

I've told you about the vivid dreams that PD causes. Sometimes I actually act them out Last week, I had a fight with my night table. I fought the drawer and the drawer won!

It's getting to the point where I sometimes sleep through them. Today I woke up with a painful ankle. I don't know if I hurt it taking a jump shot or stopping a Hockey puck. I do know that it happened late, because it didn't make the morning editions.

This is a strange world that I now live in. The lines between reality and fantasy are blurred.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 12, 2011. Challenge Me.

Do you know someone whose skills have been diminished? I suppose that the politically correct way to refer to it is "challenged." What a silly way to refer to it. I'm not "challenged," because nobody lets me do the things that would challenge me!

I still practice law, but it's the same mundane things that I've done for nearly 30 years. Not much new.

If I take a walk, my cellphone has to be on and fully charged. My kingdom for an isolation booth! The problem is not that people are checking on me. The problem is that they can.

So I've become deceitful. I just don't answer the cellphone. If my sojourn takes me into the City, I say that I'm in the neighborhood.

I realize that everybody thinks that they're acting in my best interests, but there is a lot to be said for independence as a quality of life issue.

Right now I move slower than I once did. My legs get tired. My right leg shakes a bit. I know where every park bench is located, but I'm hardly "challenged." I'll turn 55 in two weeks. My Dad successfully changed careers at 55. I'm too young to be put out to pasture.

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011. An Unforeseen Benefit

I’m generally in a good mood. I tell jokes, I laugh, I make others laugh. The one time that my mood varies is when I’m walking the streets.

I’m lucky that I live in New York City. People walk. Mass transit is very accessible. Having basically given up driving, I did so without skipping a beat.

I live in the County of Queens. Did you know that Queens County is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States? Being ethnically diverse, and contending with drivers, who apparently don’t know what STOP spells, I have learned to say ASSHOLE in seven different languages. In French it’s “maudite vache,” In Spanish it’s “Culero.” In Japanese, it is “ketsunoana.” Of course being a big fan of Chico Marx, I speak a perfect Italian, “Yousa Asshole.” Russian is a big language in Queens, it “Asholeski.” Of course in Yiddish, it’s the ever popular “Tushie lokh.”

So I’ve become multilingual. The drivers take every thing in stride, they all salute me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 15, 2011. Logic vs. Fun

I don’t know if I’m handling this well, or if I am king of denial. Do I listen to all of those people whose Uncle Irv, ad Pd for 40 years, but died in the Himalayas at age 90, or exposure, because he was having sex with the 22 year old, female Sherpa? Or do I listen to those who ask me if I can still walk?

There has definitely been a decline in my motor skills in the past year. Not precipitous, but noticeable. When the medications are not fully working, my walking is slow and strained. I now can fool none of the people all of the time. I’ve been having trouble with keys and forks again. (This was one of the first signs. The medications seemed to have conquered this.)

I’m constantly tired. This may be a product of lack of sleep, which is a product of not wanting to go to sleep, so as to avoid the graphic dreams. Last night’s dream, I landed in OZ. I met a Mortgage Broker born without ethics. I offered to take him to see the Wizard. He declined and tried to sell me a subprime mortgage.

I fight the never ending battle between logic and fun. Logic tells fun not to do certain things. Fun tells logic to go f*** himself. So who do I listen to? More often than not fun. That brings to mind the eternal question. Is quality of life or quantity of life more important?

I’d love to live another 40 years. However if 30 of them have me in a nursing home, lusting after that sexy octogenarian, with the adorable dribble cascading down her chin, then what’s the point?

So getting back to the first statement, I know what may happen to me. I’ll discuss my health with anybody, as long as they don’t think that they are Nostradamus. I’m going to keep om going until I can go no further, and then I’ll go some more.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

'Parkinson's isn't my life. I have Parkinson's. Why does it have to be my life?'"

The quote comes from the movie, "Love and Other Drugs." The movie was both fluff and at times true to life. The quote "Parkinson's isn't my life. I have Parkinson's. Why does it have to be my life?" stuck with me, and made me wonder, is it my life? If so, is it possible for it not to be my life?

I'll try not to think about Parkinson's, but I must remember, four times a day, to take my meds. I hate taking Medications. I went through my college years, straight and sober. I was run over by a car, during Law School, and got off of the pain killers within 2 weeks. I don't like being drunk, I don't like being high. Taking so many medications is anathema to me. I imagine that in this sense it has come to define my life.

I'll try not to think about Parkinson's, but it reminds me during my morning and afternoon walks. I live in New York City. I was born as a character in a Woody Allen Movie. As a New Yorker, I walk. I walk in Central Park, I walk on Queens Boulevard, I walk on Fifth Avenue, and as they say in "On The Town," I "walk in a hole in the ground." I love to walk. But. I'm walking with my buddy, Parkie. He tells me, "Your neck is straining, from the posture." He tells me, "move your arms, you look like Frankenstein." He tells me, "Better rest for five minutes." In this sense he is with me, but doesn't quite define me, because tomorrow, I will walk again.

I now take buses and trains instead of driving. He has forced me to do that, but because I can still get places, he's an inconvenience, not my life.

He's with me at meals. my dietary habits were forced to drastically change to avoid the GI problems that Parkinson's causes.

He's with me as I sleep. Dreams are vivid and often scary. Sometimes I even act them out. He doesn't sleep.

He has become Harvey to my Elwood P. Dowd.

Have I answered the question? No. If pushed to answer, I would state that, "it doesn't define me." What else can I say? Wouldn't anything else be admitting defeat? That is something that I've never been willing to do.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 5, 2011. A Night At The Doctors

I am a 54 year old Attorney. . I am someone who loved childhood, and in a sense, never really left it. About 6 years ago, an event occurred that should have caused me to leave childhood and become an adult. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. I knew nothing about the disease. The kicker is, that it may have taken Parkinson’s for me to realize how much I loved my life, and how lucky I am.

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. I went to five Doctors before it was finally diagnosed. Let’s call these Doctors, Dr. Gummo, Dr. Zeppo, Dr. Chico, Dr. Harpo and finally Dr. Groucho.

The first Doctor was my GP, Dr. Chico.

Dr. Chico: So Whatsa matta?

Marc: It's my handwriting Doc. It's getting small.

Dr. Chico: Write a me something.

So I proceed to write the entire "Why a Duck" routine.

Dr. Chico: I can't a read that.

Marc: See I told you that it's too small.

Dr. Chico; No I just can't a read. I'm a gonna send you to my Brother Dr. Gummo. But first you pay a the bill. Let's a see. Yesterday we no see you, that's three hundred dollars. Today we examine you...

Marc: That's One Hundred that you owe me.

Dr. Chico: I bet I'm a gonna lose on the deal.

Dr. Gummo, was a renowned hand surgeon, who confirmed that I have two hands. He send me to
Dr. Zeppo.

Dr. Zeppo, an orthopedist, didn't like the way his Brothers were treating him in the practice, so after my short visit he quit. But before he quit he sent me to Dr. Harpo.

Marc: Dr. I'm having trouble with my hand. If you would stop chasing the nurse and take a look, I'd appreciate it.

Dr. Harpo: Honk

Dr. Harpo proceeds to kick me in the behind, pick my pocket, and play the harp for ten minutes.
Finally Dr. Harpo 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 Parkinson’s as the cause of my problems.

After using his cigar for light, and asking me how I did in the Kentucky Derby, the specialist, Dr. Groucho was ready to address the issue.

Dr. Groucho: You have PD. Now isn't is a PD that you didn't come to see me sooner.

He then gave me a cube of sugar, some horse pills and sent me galloping away.

Dr. Groucho is still my Doctor (and he is a charming man, despite the nickname that I have laid upon him here). He 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, have become my friends. These are special people. They kick my butt (when I show up), they don't believe my bull, and the genuinely care. I happy to 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 is a geriatric Physician, so she sees this from a different prospectus that I do. I look at it as an inconvenience not an illness. So where she, for my own benefit, tries to inject logic into my plans, I try to live my life, pretty much as I always have.

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.
I don’t want to be a 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 angry at myself. 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. In many ways, now six years into my journey, I may be more content with life than I ever was before.

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.

Now you may believe that part of this story is fictional and my object to the innuendo.

But that's just like I've always said, "Love flies out of your door, when money comes innuendo."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3, 2011. A Civil War

I'm sure that today's conundrum (I just love using that word) is not unique to me. The never ending battle for truth, justice and the American way. Seriously the conflict between the caregiver and the inflicted.

I consider what I have a minor inconvenience. My wife, who I must admit, as a Geriatric Physician, is far more knowledgeable than me, is very careful and strict with my activities.

Let's get the easy one out of the way. These we agree upon. 1) Although I was never a big drinker, because of all of the medication in my system, I never drink when she is not around, and then never more than one glass of white wine. 2) Venturing outside on a wintry day. It's not always practical, but my footing is not great.

Now some of the activities that are in question. 1) Driving. I don't drive unless she is in the car. I think that my driving is still better than 90% of the people out there, definitely better than the Russian cabbies of Forest Hills, who think that a double yellow line means that it is mandatory to make an immediate u-turn on a congested street, and that a stop sign means, aim for the lady with the walker. 2) Crowds, ie subways and ballgames. I've been doing this for 50 years and see no reason to stop.

Strangely, for a Lawyer, I'm not a great fighter. So she wins these arguments. But they come too often. I know that she is presenting her opinions from the vantage point of experience and compassion. What I am saying is that this should be combined with my need to feel alive and too maintain whatever ego that I have left.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2, 2011. Youth is wasted on the Middle aged.

I bumped into friends of my wife yesterday. They're my age and retired. The weather was in the low 50's and they were in down jackets, gloves and hoods. I wore an open sports jacket. When do we cross that barrier from youth to middle aged to seniors? This is not a chronological question, this is mental attitude.


I've known these folks for 18 years, they were old then. That's OK, that's how they are comfortable. I like the fact that I haven't accepted that I am middle aged. (What a euphemism. How many people live until 108?) I still want to run up and down a basketball court. (Friends who have known me for years are now laughing. I was always an unusually slow runner. I ran, a Telethon started. Somebody once said that it looked like I was running under water.) I still want to hit a baseball (That I could do.) I haven't mentally or emotionally accepted the fact that I am 54 or that I have a neurological disease. This too is OK. This is how I feel comfortable.



I don't particularly like what I do for a living , but I'll either find something that excites me or continue to do this. I've no intention of retiring. I can't see me doing nothing. Ideally what I always wanted to do was volunteer legal services for the ACLU, but I don't foresee a time hat I could forgo an income.


I don't know why, if I choose not to, that I have to get old. I know why physically and I know why chronologically, I just don't know why mentally.


Therefore, I will continue to laugh. I will continue to reminis about the wonders of youth and in my mind I will continue to be young.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 28, 2011. Walk Like A. Man.

Everybody has been co nice to me, but in one respect I wish that they'd stop.

My wife doesn't want me to fall, slip, trip, pratfall, stumble, ergo she often insists upon driving me places. I want to walk

My friends at the office think that I look tired, sleepy, droopy so they insist upn driving me to the train. I want to walk.

My Mom doesn't rest, when I leave her home until I arrive at my home, domicile, abode, humble chateau, so she often slips me $20.00 for a cab. I want to walk.

I need to walk. Even if it is a struggle, I need to persevere and walk. It's too easy for me to take the ride, but in the long run, I know that I shouldn't.

Forest Hills walking is tough and often boring. There is no excitement on Queens Boulevard. But walking in Manhattan is wonderful. I haven't been to Central Park this Autumn, but if the weather permits tomorrow, I'll take "...a light and tumble journey From the East Side to the park; Just a fine and fancy ramble To the zoo.

But you can take the crosstown bus If it's raining or it's cold, And the animals will love it If you do...."

Sorry, I had to break into Simon and Garfunkel for a moment. The bottom line is, that I could give in and take advantage of everybody's good intentions, or I could keep walking. I choose to keep walking.

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011. Look in the Mirror

It's 6:34 in the morning and I am sitting at my desk. I was never a late sleeper, but there is no reason for me to be in the office at this hour, but every morning I am.

The alarm goes off at 5:00 AM. By 5:30, I stop hitting the snooze button. I'm at my desk by 6:20. I'm not working, but I'm here. I go for the same walk every day, have my coffee at the same bakery, play the same games on line when I want to take a break. I have become a creature of habit.

I rarely drive anymore. My business, like many others, is slow. Can I blame Parkinson's? Parkinson's may have pulled the trigger, but I loaded the gun. When first diagnosed, nearly six years ago, I didn't take matters in hand, I moped. One day about two years later, I realized that I was wasting my time.

My business was collapsing. But this I foresaw. I'm a Real Estate Attorney. Any Real Estate Attorney who didn't know that sub-prime lending was going to destroy this economy, is either stupid or lying.

I sat at closings. knowing that when the mortgage adjusted, these poor people were going to be foreclosed upon. One person, I helped convince to walk away from the table. He had a good job. When we saw the mortgage, it had a "teaser" adjustable rate and negative amortization. The mortgage broker refused to negotiate. The Seller was nice and willing to wait for my client to get a better mortgage.

This happened on a Friday. By Monday, the mortgage broker called me, "What can we do to save this man's deposit?" I responded in my normal calm, classy matter, "Where were you on Friday. You asked this man to pay for everything but the Vaseline." We closed exactly one month later.

SO the crash was inevitable. Yet I did little to move my business in another direction. This wasn't PD's fault. Nor was it PD's fault that I didn't save for a rainy day.

I'll make it. I got a great support system. But without lecturing, You never know what will hit you. Many of my friends have it far worse than I do. I refuse to feel sorry for myself, because I, like most other people, got a disease. I will feel angry at myself, for stupidly thinking that I was immortal, and not fully preparing for this day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011. Stream of Consciousness

Who is that guy in the mirror? He looks just like my Dad, but about 4 inches taller.

I used to joke that I had "my Dad's hair. If he ever found out where it was, I'm in trouble." Now I know where it is, behind the bed, on my bathroom floor, growing from my knuckles, nose and ears.

I'm glad that the hot weather appears to be over. Parkinson's destroys your inner thermometer. Some people get extremely cold, I an always warm. The combination of that with a New York Summer, brings to mind the effect that Asparagus has on Number 1.

My wife is cold today, therefore I should wear a sweater. I don't get cold, until the temperature dips into the thirties.

Walking is difficult in the summer. If this weather pattern continues, I may try to take a walk in Central Park over the weekend. It's one of my favorite activities. I like to enter the park by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I look for the Egyptian Obelisk behind the Museum, and marvel about how in the 1880's, this, multi-ton structure, was rolled from Battery Park to its permanent resting place behind the Museum.

I bring my Camera with me. a couple of years ago, I was taking a picture of an Orange crested bird. A couple asked me what kind of bird it was. I said that, "I think it's an Oriole, but they're not in town this weekend." No laugh. Must have been Met fans.

I try to walk over to Strawberry Fields, but if you've ever walked in that park, it's difficult to know exactly where you are going. I exit wherever I find myself.

Ideally, I'd like to exit in the West seventies. I then take a leisurely stroll down Columbus or Broadway. I used to relax at the Barnes and Noble opposite Lincoln Center, but like many other bookstores, that is gone now.

I also loved to do this alone. There is something wonderful about solitude among the masses.

Of course all of this is dependent upon my having a good day. I loved to walk. Now more often than not, it is a struggle. These are the less than obvious things that are stolen by Parkinson's disease.


The disease and the advent of cell phones, have taken away solitude. I hate cell phones. People in what otherwise would be peaceful places discussing their hangnails to their friends. Clients who feel that it's not improper to call at any hour or day. If I go to the park, I may toss my phone in the reservoir.

Of course the disease makes the cell phone a necessity. I must always be able to make contact.

I would love a reprieve, even for a weekend. Columbus Day in New York can be wonderful. I remember in 1972 taking a date to the Guggenheim, walking Fifth Avenue to the bookstores, getting her a McGovern button, being a accosted by members of The Unification Church. New York memories.

Well the young lady is long married. The Bookstores are all close. McGovern got walloped. Thankfully Reverend Moon and The Unification Church have moved on. And that walk is difficult for an overweight 54 year old with a major neurological disease. But, I may try it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

September 27, 2011. Even a Tortoise slows down

I've been very busy with work the last few weeks. Except for the weekends, I haven't spent a day in the home office for two weeks. Like all things, this is good and bad.

On the positive side, 1) I'm earning money, 2) I feel vital, 3) I'm seeing people.

On the negative side, 1) I'm exhausted, 2) I realize how far I have slipped in a short time.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to feel vital and to see people. I can do so much more as long as feel useful.

Today, I started off in Queens Supreme Court. Possibly one of the most miserable places in the City of NY. after having an order signed I walked 4 blocks to the Long Island Railroad. Took the train to Long Island, where I had 2 appointments. Tomorrow and Wednesday, I'm pinch hitting for a friend in my old office.

I spent between 10 and 25 years with these people. Mostly pleasant, sometimes hostile. But I was alive. I'm looking forward to it.

The downside to all of this is that I am physically exhausted. I push myself to walk and not take the train. I've increased the dosage of the Cynamed. That helps, for a few hours. I can't help but realize what the future will bring.

But, with that in mind, I also can't accept it, and must keep on fighting it. Every time I lose an activity, ie Driving, ballgames, I cling to the others that much tighter.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 15, 2011. The Day from Hell

Today was a day from hell. Clients were crazed, Attorneys were crazed, computers were crazed, but strangly enough, I liked it. This was my life prior to PD. The telephones would ring nonstop. I'd always be late getting somewhere. And I hated it.


Damn, I hated this, the hours are ridiculous, the work is monotonous. If I had my diploma translated, it would probably say, "All that thou learneth here, will be of no value to thee in the outside world. Na, Na, Na, Na, Na." So why did I enjoy today?

Someone took it away from me. That is unacceptable. Today, I learned that I can still do it, and because I was busy I was more efficient.

I'm a 54 year old man, with a man's ego. Sitting around the house is painful to me. I loved being active. something that I said years ago is much truer today. "There's no orse feeling than being caught up." If your'e caught up, you're wondering where the next dollar is coming from.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September 2, 2011. Markie the Parkie

On the Urban County
Of Queens
Markie the Parkie
Was living his dreams

A nice little county
Where he got all his treats
Commuting was easy
His Car had warm seats
Markie had everything he
ever would need
Only he didn’t know it
He now will concede.

He had, our friend Markie,
The best of it all
But he lacked a vision, you see
Of the long haul
He grumbled did Markie
Or kvetched, was more like it
He’d tell all by phone, e-mails
And all methods of transmit.

He’d moan from his home
And was blind to his bounty
For he never knew
He was the richest in the county
For the home that he lived in
Was clean, safe and secure
But in his late forties,
He was still immature

So Markie’s a Lawyer
With the world by his hand
And Markie, the Lawyer
Didn’t know where he stands.
His health and well being
Were better than most
But in his self pity
He was deeply engrossed.

One day he noticed,
His hands were unsteady
Getting up from a chair
Was difficult, til he was ready
His legs they would shake
And rattle and roll
Of life’s simple chores
He was out of control

“What is it?” Asked Markie.
“Do I have a disease?
Could it be lack of flossing? Or maybe, it’s fleas.
I’m walking much slower, and my writing, it stinks!
My driving is suspect! And, besides all of that,
My face is now frozen, in a stare that is flat.
My body betrays me, what have I got left?
Of hope, you see, I’m clearly bereft!”

He went to the Doctor,
And arrived just on time
But waited and waited,
For the doc to finish his wine
Then long about eight
When the doc cleaned his plate
He asked with a smile
“walk down that aisle.”
While the doc was there sitting
Completing his knitting.

He said, “My dear, Markie,
I’m afraid You’re a Parkie.”
Then Markie the Parkie, said to the doc,
“You know that this comes as quite a shock.”
So Markie the Parkie
Was sad and depressed.
And Markie the Parkie
Would give it no rest.

“Why me?” said he. “I’ve committed no crime.”
When he suddenly realized that he’s just wasting his time.
He’s got no complaints, life is better than most,
So he laughed for the first time, and started a toast.

“I’m Markie the Parkie, and life is just grand.
I’m Markie the Parkie, let me expand.
I’ve had everything, that one could ask for.
Marbles and YoYos, a ride to the candy store.
Life is too short, to be sad and depressed.
Life is too short to feel all distressed.
I’m Markie the Parkie, it’s time for a rest.”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

August 7, 2011. Hey, Hey Parkie Paul and Paula

In many of these Parkinson's on line support groups, mascots have been adopted, who the members write posts through. Names such as Parkie Paul and Parkie Paula, can be found making their Parkie Proposals. Their intentions are admirable. But they are talking to people who, euphemistically, are called middle aged, who, for the most part, don't want to be talked to by a cartoon character.

Parkie Paul, speaks to me about what to do about the stiffness in my legs. What about the embarrassment of knowing that because of that stiffness, if I give my bus seat to that elderly woman who just got on the bus, odds are, that I might fall when the bus driver stops short. And if I don't I feel miserable.

Parkie Paula speaks to you like you're a child, not a middle aged person, experiencing a life altering disease. and coming to terms that you may never again do some of the things that you love to do. If you were an artist, you may never paint again. A weekend athlete, who may have hit his last home run. A cook, who can no longer measure a cup.

Hey, Hey Paula, how do I deal with the fact, that I don't drive anymore? Hey, Hey Paul do you wan't to tell me how not to be embarrassed, by having difficulty tying my laces in public.

What about the private matters. The one's that a middle aged man, born during the Eisenhower administration, wont speak about in public.

Don't get me wrong, I applaud your intentions, but I am an adult, not a child, I don't need a cartoon advising me. I find it Parkie Pathetic. Unless, of course, it's my old friend, Parkie Perv. (above).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August 4, 2011

Parkinson's and I have decided to have a trial separation. I will stay in New York, he or she, is going on a trip. I will be loyal to him and not get any other major neurological diseases. I hope that he is loyal to me, I would hate to see him with another. He can be very trying at times.

So for the next two weeks, i won't talk about him, I won't write about him.

He will be difficult to escape, because he is now such a large part of my life. I think about him when I eat, when I walk, when I talk, when I button my pants, when I get up from a chair.

For the next two weeks, he's promised to leave me alone.

Now wouldn't that be wonderful. We can always take a vacation from work, friends, relatives, even spouses. But we can't get out of our own way, so to speak. So this is how, I'm coping with it, for the next two weeks, we will go our separate ways.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011.

I've been remiss in my writing lately. Partly because for the first time in three years, my business seems to be back on the right track. Partly because there is little to say.

Parkinson's is not an overnight disease. There is a gradual deterioration. Although I fight it, I have noticed it recently. I keep hoping that it is just the summer heat getting to me, and it might be just that.

Walking outside has been more difficult. I find that I know every park bench in Forest Hills.

May I digress for a second? Some time ago, while walking on Third Avenue, I came across a group of park benches. On them was the following sign, "No Loitering." Can somebody tell me, what else one can do at a park bench, besides Loitering?

My spirits are good.

It's strange, somebody posted something the other day regarding fortune tellers. Being the world's most concrete person, I believe in fortune tellers as much as I believe in Leprechauns.
But even if I didn't think that they were charlatans, why would I want to know the future. I intend to keep living my life until I no longer am living. All that time I will haunt you people with bad puns and song parodies.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17, 2011. The ain't no cure for the summertime blues.

Summer heat and Parkinson's Disease don't go well together. Except when there is a rare reprieve, I've basically curtailed my walking. Two blocks and I am soaking wet.

I loved the summer as a kid. Almost nightly we'd get together whatever friends were home for a game of softball. The idea of staying in the house, would never occur to us. I love modern technology, but with it we pay a price. Do kids today play wii or guitar hero indoors rather then go out? I wouldn't trade childhoods with today's generation for the world.

I drove on Thursday. The first time since I hurt my back, nearly two months ago. I did fine. I did about 70 miles.

The disease progresses slowly, but there are noticeable signs.

My work, however, is improving. More business and better concentration.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011 Marc the Park

One day I did realize
my handwriting was small
My Assistant said, “Marc,
I can’t read this at all.

I found myself driving over
Mountains and Rivers,
All the time my foot shaking
I must have the quivers.

I’m driving much faster
Than I like to go
Or was the Schlimazel before me
Just going too slow?

I’ve spent my life healthy
Despite my large girth
I wasn’t concerned,
There’s still room on this Earth

So I found myself thinking
“Have I reached the age,
That time in one’s life, where time turn’s a page.”
So I made an appointment, with the Good Dr. McSage
Who places his index finger, inside of my Cage.

“But Doctor my problem
Does not come from that end….”
He disagreed and told me again to bend

“You have Carpal Tunnel, I’m not mistaken,
And while I was in there I found this piece of bacon.
Not really,” he said, “I was just fakin.”

He said these problems you have
are not up your ass,
but while I was up there,
I caught this Sea Bass.

Your problems, I fear
Are all in your head.
Go see the head shrinker
And then off to bed!

I then tried to pay him
With Insurance, not dough.
“We don’t accept Insurance,
From Curly, Larry and Moe.”

So I next day I went
To visit the Shrink.
He said, “I can cure you.
Please pour me a drink.”

“Your problem you see
Comes from your Schmuck.
Tell me, have you ever made
Love to a duck”

As I ran to the door,
I said, “you’re clearly a Quack.
Before I leave here, can I
Have my Sheep back?”

Next I was scheduled
To get a brain scan
I’ll tell you right now
It wasn’t my plan

So I lay on this table
And listened to their tunes
The feature was two guys
Named Elmer, playing the spoons

Inside my head they said
There was nuthin’
Just a poor homeless family
Eating Turkey with stuffin’

So next to the Doc
To check my nerve ending
This time I’ll be more careful
When I start bending

Without sticking his finger
Where it doesn’t belong
He said, “I see the problem,
Please come along.”

“Your arms hang at your side
Like two fish on Canal Street.
And when you walk,
You shuffle your feet.”

You’re what we refer to
As a classical Parkie
I’m not pulling your leg
I’m not full of Malarky

Take these ten pills
To stop your tremor and shake
Of course you’ll have trouble
Remaining awake

So that was my story
Which I hope that you enjoyed reading
To put me away
Would take a Legal Proceeding.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011

The disease has knocked me out. The combination of the heat and the Parkinson's has thrown me for a loop. I find that I dread going outside. I still push myself to walk at least 1 1/2 miles a day, but it's a struggle.

My spirit is still good, and I'm working hard.

I've also made a concerted effort to do as my wife says. After all, eventually I give in and 99.9% of the time she is right anyhow. This way I avoid the hassle.

Although I've had my morose moments, I feel as though they are behind me now.

There are things that I've given up in the last few years.

I can't imagine ever going on a train to Yankee Stadium again. The crowds would be too much for me.

I rarely drank, but I did enjoy a nice glass of wine. With all of the medication in me, I'm hesitant to drink.

Spontaneous drives to Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, even southern Vermont were not unusual. I miss those. I haven't driven in about 6 weeks. I had hurt my back and was hesitant to drive with the stiffness coupled with the Parkinson's. My back is now alright. I'll drive this week.

I never knew that I was such a fighter, but I refuse to give into this. My wife asked me the other day, how long did I think that I was going to work. I have no reason to believe that I will ever quit. Be that realistic or not, that is what I truly believe. Giving in to this thing is anathema to me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011. Johnny Friendly is Laying Odds...

PD doesn't want to leave me alone!

Mentally and emotionally, I feel great. I've been busy with work. That hasn't been the case for quite some time. I'm falling behind, but like I've always said, "The worst feeling is being caught up."

This is the gift that keeps on giving. Physically, it's been a struggle to walk one block. But the harder it gets, the angrier I get, and the more I want to persevere. The worst thing that someone can tell me is that I can't do something. Remember Marlon Brando, playing Terry Malloy in "On the waterfront." The final scene. Karl Malden whispers in his ear, "Johnny Friendly is Laying Odds that you won't get up."

PD is my Johnny Friendly.

For the longest time, I hated being a Lawyer. Although I always loved the Law. Now that PD is laying odds that I can't do it, there is nothing I'd rather do. I can't stop.

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3, 2011. The Right Stuff

Periodically, when I start feeling sorry for myself, something wakes me up, and reminds me how much good fortune I have had throughout my life.

This is a tough world to live in. I have unquestioned support of family and friends.

Everybody has problems. I believe that how one copes with the little problems is indicative of how happy and successful one's life will be.

I'm rereading "The Right Stuff," Tom Wolfe's wonderful account of America's Mercury Astronauts. These were seven men who had no fear, whatever challenge stood in their way, felt that they had "The Right Stuff" to conquer the obstacle.

I think that it's important for each of us to have a certain degree of "The right stuff." My Right Stuff is aided by others. As I've stated before, my friends and family have been wonderful to me. It adds to my confidence and keeps me going.

Negative examples have impacted my attitude, as much if not more, than positive examples. As much empathy as friends have, nobody wants to listen to a whiner.

I won't hide my condition. I will discuss it with anybody who asks, but if I ever complain, my friends and family have license to tell me to shut up. I am deteermined to enjoy the rest of my life.

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011. If you can't stand the heat.....

I'm now home from my walk. 2.4 miles, numerous stops. I now smell like the rest of NY in the summer. NY is an ideal place for someone who can't take the heat. The humidity rarely exceeds 99% and there are these wonderful tall buildings to trap the stagnant air. The sanitation department does such a wonderful job. They allow you to visit Monday's garbage at the same curb on Friday.

Pre PD, on a day like today, I would have gone into Central Park. It's my favorite place in the world. Now by the time that I'd get near the Museum of Modern Art, I would smell like a recently dug up ancient relict. They would put glass around me and make me into an ancient exhibit.

Can't you see it now? You're walking through the park on a beautiful day. You come across the Egyptian Obelisk, "Cleopatra's Needle". This was a gift to the United States from Egypt on the 1880's. So you know that your at the magnificent Museum of Modern Art. You go around to the front. On Fifth Avenue the vendors are selling buttons of the museums newest exhibit, "King Marcankhamun." You must go. The exhibit is scheduled to tour the country.

After you leave the impressionists, and spend some of your Monet at the gift shop, you meander past the African room. Where you see this magnificent exhibit. First you walk through the childhood memories of Kong Marcankamun. There are pictures with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. There is his Schwinn Orange Krate.

You think, "Oh my, that couldn't be, but it is, 200 MAD Magazines."

Next comes the picture of the King, as a child, reading the four questions: 1) Why a Duck?; 2) Who's on First?; 3) How fast does a Swallow fly?; 4) Does Your Dog Bite? Now the King's religion was rarely spoken about, but here is the proof of his pious soul.

You come to a room, with a large curtain. People are all waiting to see what is behind the curtain. The curtain opens, It is King Marcankamun. He speaks, "Good evening, Ladies and Germs...." The crowd quickly dissipates.

Later when asked about the exhibit, you say, "The exhibit was good, but I'd pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, 2011. God does not play fair.

God does not play fair.

I know that I'm only 25 years old. Why then does 2011-1956 = 55?

God does not play fair.

I know that I'm 189 lbs. Why then does the scale say 245?

God does not play fair.

I know that I have long, curly brown hair. Why then, when I look in the mirror are those few hairs that I see, turning white?

I'm still the same guy, who could hit a Baseball a long distance, who couldn't be moved from the crease when playing hockey. So why does he make shoes that make me shuffle?

Women speak about aging, men are supposed to be stoic. If this is the truth then God has a wicked sense of humor. Why then would he start having hair grow from absurd places (nose and ears) and stop it from growing on the top of the head?

I had lunch in an open cafe today on Austin Street. Because dining has become more than a momentary pleasure I had a salad and not a steak.

I calmly tried to read my Kindle as beautiful young women in sun dresses walked past.

Among the things I'm sure of in this world are:
1) I am Heterosexual. Once many years ago I asked my Dad what his reaction would be if I said that I was Homosexual. He responded, "You, your eyes follow anything with bumps!" My Dad was a wise man.

2) Women look great in sun dresses. I don't think that there is anything misogynistic about this. Many women have ogled my ass, and I don't object.

3) I, like the Gibbon apes, wolves, termites, coyotes, barn owls, beavers, bald eagles, golden eagles, condors, swans, brolga cranes, French angel fish, sandhill cranes, pigeons, prions (a seabird), red-tailed hawks, anglerfish, ospreys, prairie voles (a rodent), and black vultures am a monogamist.

This is where God makes up for everything else, because I fear that if I weren't a monogamist, those beautiful women in their sun dresses, might see me the same way that the Calendar, the scale, the mirror and my shoes do. That would be the cruelest trick of all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011. Fuhgettaboutit

I did something today, that I hadn't done before, and I swore that I wouldn't do. I relied upon the Parkinson's to ask a favor of somebody.

In April I had filed, via Federal Express an Estate Proceeding in Surrogate's Court Kings County. I did it via Federal Express, because, 1) I hate Brooklyn Courts, 2) I hate this Brooklyn Court, 3) I had no time to waste a half of a day dropping it off. Big Mistake.

I has heard nothing from the court so i called them. As of 2 weeks ago, the clerk said that it hadn't made it to their office yet, but if I came down, they'd look for it. Fuhgettaboutit!!

I finally went down there today. Went in every wrong direction after getting off of the F Train. You see, one of the byproducts of this disease, seems to be, that I have lost any sense of direction. If I could run I could star in the Monty Python comedy skit which featured a marathon for people with no sense of direction. They all went in different directions.

"No, no, it was the 100-yard dash for people with no sense of direction. The long-distance run was the Marathon For Incontinents, featuring runners constantly dropping into the bushes alongside the road."

So by the time I got to Court, I was sweating profusely. Another attractive aspect of Parkinson's Disease. It takes me so long to empty my pockets and I was sweating so much that the cop at the metal detector, must have suspected that I was hiding drugs, so he made me take off my belt. Now I also have to worry about my pants falling down.

I get to the clerk's office, and the clerk says, "I don't have it." He indicated that it would turn up, but that there was no way to look for the file.

I finally broke down and said, "It's very difficult for me to get here. I have Parkinson's. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated."

Although he did not find the file, he did spend the next half looking for it, gave me his name and said that he'd continue to look. The clerk indicated that this was not unusual and that the file would turn up.

That trip may not sound like much, in fact a couple of years ago, I would have made the trip and been back on Long Island by 10:30, but I'm exhausted. I don't think that I did anything wrong. I wasn't trying to elicit sympathy. I was just trying to get some help from a nice man.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2011, A Tame and Toothless Tabby Can't Produce a Lion's Roar

"When I started this song I was still thirty-three
The age that Mozart died and sweet Jesus was set free
Keats and Shelley too soon finished, Charley Parker would be
And I fantasized some tragedy'd be soon curtailing me
Well just today I had my birthday
I made it thirty-four
Mere mortal, not immortal, not star-crossed anymore
I've got this problem with my aging I no longer can ignore
A tame and toothless tabby can't produce a lion's roar."
Harry Chapin
There Only Was One Choice

Age is such a strange thing. We shouldn't define ones age chronilogically, but mentally. Chronilogically, I am 54, but mentally I feel no different than I did at 25. Physically, well it changes from moment to moment.

Women are far more logical than men. They seem to accept the ultimate inevitable facts of aging. Men don't. My wife has known where she would be buried, long before I had met her. I suppose that I will be buried next to her, but frankly, I don't care.

Don't get me wrong, I can't picture myself becoming an aging man, with a comb-over, shirt unbuttoned to the navel, 4 inch Jewish Star, driving in a convertible, with the mirrored sun glasses. You've seen the type. Often the lens in the sun glasses are put in with the mirror facing inward. This is so he can look at himself.

There are certain inevitable facts about growing older that I must concede. I could not imagine myself with a woman much younger than me.

"Dear where were you when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?"

"I was a zygote."

Common experiences are too important.

Life is strange, when you're old enough to truly know how to have fun, you either can't do it or look ridiculous trying.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18, 2011. Ticket Stubs and Memories.

I've been to Baseball Games all over this country, from Seattle to Portland, Maine. Since 1964, when my Dad, brother and I went to the Bronx for a Sunday afternoon, double header against the Orioles. I now must consider the possibility that those days are over. Between the crowds on the Subways, the steep steps and my inability to sit still, I may be better off watching these games at home.

My family had season tickets to the New York Rangers in 1968-69. We had season tickets to the New York Islanders from 1972-1993. I had a season ticket for St. John's Basketball from 1991-93. I shared a season ticket for the New York Knicks from 1992-2001. I shared a season ticket for The New York Yankees from 2000-2002.

I was at game 3 and game 4 of the 1969 World Series. I rooted for the Orioles. My heart was broken by Tommie Agee and Ron Swoboda.

I was marveled and was saddened by the great Bobby Orr.

In the spring of 1971, I watched Tom Seaver strike out 19 (including the last 10 batters) Padres. It was the only time that I rooted for the Mets.

I was at Candlestick Park, in 1972, when Willie Mays played his first game there as a Met.

I watched Bill Bradley hit a shot from the corner to complete a comeback, by The Knicks in the over The Bullets in the 1973 playoffs.

I watched Bobby Murcer drive in all 5 runs, in a 5-4 comeback victory, on the day of Thurman Munson's funeral. He will always be one of my favorites.

For four years I watched great Islander Teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The final game often conflicted with my Law School exams, but I did see the final game in 1983. A month ago I had the extreme pleasure of discussing this with Bobby Nystrom. The next year my we lost to Edmonton. There has never been one as good as Gretzky.

I saw the Knicks in the finals in 1994 and 1999. I saw Michael Jordan at his finest. I was crushed by Reggie Miller scoring 16 points in a little more than a minute. I saw the final game of the NBA Championship, when the Knicks lost to the Spurs.

I watched Mariano Rivera saw off Atlanta bats as the Yankees won the 1999 world Series. I watched Roger Clemens, inexplicably, through a broken bat in the direction of Mike Piazza. I saw Scott Brosius send game 5 into extra innings, for the second straight day, in 2001.

I sat next to a Fisherman from Alaska and discussed baseball for three hours in Safeco field in 2001. Where else can a Fisherman from Alaska talk Baseball with an Attorney from New York?

The last couple of years, it has become more of a hassle then it's worth. So I'm afraid that I'm now stuck with Ticket stubs and memories.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17, 2011. Parkinson's Dementia

Perhaps nothing scares me more than the possibility of Parkinson’s related dementia. Although I was never the “smartest kid in class,” I also had nothing to be embarrassed about.

Parkinson’s Dementia affects about 20% of those with the disease. Early indications are hallucinations and severe motor control problems. I’ve had minor hallucinations. For example, I swear that I actually remember the Yankees winning a ballgame. My motor control problems, even in my most self pitying moments, could never be considered severe.

It’s difficult to tell what is Parkinson’s Dementia and what is a normal function of aging. The eight signs of Parkinson’s Dementia are:

1) memory problems: As I’ve previously indicated, my memory is not what it once was. This could clearly be a sign of aging.

2) distractibility: I’ve always been easily distracted. I’m not concerned.

3) slowed thinking: Haven’t noticed any problem.

4) disorientation: Haven’t noticed any problem.

5) confusion: Haven’t noticed any problem.

6) moodiness: clearly not.

7)lack of motivation: lifelong problem

8) hallucinations: I have had them. Situations where out of the corner of my eye, I see something that is not there.

What is worse, losing control of one’s body, where you’re a burden upon yourself as well as others, or losing control of one’s mind where you mostly burden others. I may have to get back to you on that one.

May 13, 2011. Dignity

I'm not afraid of dying. I'm not embarrassed by my condition. I am however terrified of losing my dignity. Now I’ll bet that your first thought is, “A guy who puts is picture, with a fake nose and glasses on a t-shirt, is worried about dignity?”

Dignity is a personal thing. If I do something foolish or silly with the intention of getting a laugh, or lightening up an otherwise tense situation, that’s got nothing to do with dignity. As long as I feel that I still have it, I still have it!

But, ending my days in a Nursing home would devastate me. Losing the ability to complete the necessary functions of daily living is my greatest fear. The thought of somebody having to brush my teeth, help me with toileting, etc….is why I continue to fight.

It’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve been a bit absent minded and wobbly.

When I was younger, I had a photographic memory. The fact that the shutter is now broken, and I may be out of film alarms me. I don’t know if this is a function of age or Parkinson’s.

People with Parkinson’s often have periods of freezing. Not temperature wise, but suddenly not being able to move. This happens to me, only when I get out of chairs. It’s been happening more often.

The last few years have been the perfect storm. The Parkinson’s which caused a depression, and forced me to move the office, combined with the worst economy in 70 years, has been devastating to my business.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I don’t feel sorry for myself. On the contrary, people have been so good to me that I realized that I’ve got a lot to live for.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011. Can I have a time out?

I haven't written for days, because I wanted a time out. For a few day I wanted to be Marc. I didn't want to be "Marc with Parkinson's." The disease has come to define who I am.

It's not possible to escape oneself. When you're tired of a co-worker, you get to leave at the end of the day. When you're tired of a friend, you avoid them for awhile. Even if you're tired of your spouse, you can take a walk. You can't get away from yourself.

I don't usually mind my own company. I make me laugh. But lately, even my jokes are Parkinson's related. So, I'd love to just to have one week that I needed no prescription, one week to take a walk in Central Park, without straining, one week to take a day trip with my wife to Southern Vermont, One week to go to Yankee Stadium. I didn't realize how much I loved these activities, until they became difficult.

I can't escape it, no more than I can escape aging. It's now a permanent part of my life. It's with me during the strains of waking. It's with me during the dreams of sleeping. It effects how I get out of bed, brush my teeth, dress, sit at my desk, eat my lunch, walk, talk and even go to the bathroom.

So if I'm stuck with you, Mr. P., you're stuck with my Parkinson's jokes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011. This is Facebook, It's not life

Clearly I talk a lot. I love eliciting a debate, and then sitting back and watching the results. Sometimes it gets out of hand. A few years ago there was a nasty fight over the meaning of Don McLean's American Pie. You see, we are talking about important stuff.

I used to occasionally post things on a political chat room. I'd get all incensed at the insults. Life has been far more peaceful since I decided to quit.

Until yesterday I was a member of a few Parkinson's Facebook Support groups. I met some wonderful caring people at these sites. The folks at these sites started to fight among themselves. The purpose of this site is support. I hastily quit the sites. It no longer served the purpose.

I go on the internet when I want a distraction. Not for fights.

There are major issues in life. I have Parkinson's, my business could be much better, each day my future is a mystery. This is Facebook, not life. I will miss the support that I got and that I was able to give, but on balance, I made the right decision.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30, 2011. Insurance

"A recent study analyzing the effects of the 2006 Mass. health care insurance reform law revealed that while insurance coverage has increased overall and cost has become less of a barrier for obtaining coverage, the reform’s effects have not been felt equally among certain groups of people.http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/9/24/health-coverage-haas-insurance/

"Romneycare" and "Obamacare" have quite a few similarities.

" Both Obamacare and Romneycare involve the private health insurance industry. Neither creates a single-payer system or a government-run public option.
Increased regulation of insurance rates is used in an attempt to decrease the number of uninsured.
Subsidies and tax credits are provided to low- and middle-income individuals, as well as small businesses, to help cover the cost of insurance.
Both strategies rest on an individual mandate that requires people to either buy health coverage or pay a fine.
Each has been criticized for doing too little to control costs.
Residents can purchase a health insurance plan through an exchange, which allows them to band together for lower rates.
On the other hand, there are several differences between the two versions of affordable health insurance legislation, which Romney has recently pointed out:

Unlike Obamacare, Romneycare only applies to a single state. That gives it slightly more appeal for conservatives worried about states' rights and the federal government overreaching with its power. Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown has reconciled his previous support for his state's reforms with his opposition to the national law on similar grounds.
Romney initially supported a provision, later deleted by the Massachusetts legislature, that would have allowed people to opt out of the health insurance mandate if they signed a bond that demonstrated their ability to cover their health care expenses. The federal legislation includes no such exit valve.
Massachusetts did not partially fund their plan with a tax increase, as the federal legislation does. However, they did redirect some Medicaid dollars to the program.
National health insurance reform incorporates some cuts to private Medicare Advantage programs, although individual states have no opportunity to do so to begin with.
The federal government is given the power to review rate increases, which Romney considers as a step towards price controls.
Romney intended healthcare reform to expand access to catastrophic coverage for major conditions, as opposed to more generous coverage. The federal plan sets minimum standards for what must be covered." http://allinsuranceinfo.org/find16?aid=12817

I now pay, the following insurance premiums monthly:

Health Insurance $1,500.00
Disability Insurance $ 200.00
Malpractice Insurance $ 300.00
Auto Insurance $ 200.00

That's $26,000.00 per year. This doesn't include unemployment insurance, office insurance, homeowners insurance. That's a lot of money for something that ideally, one hopes not to use.


I'm working for the insurance companies!

Except for the fact that if I'm not working, I lose my health insurance, and I don't know enough about "Obamacare" to know how I'd be covered under that, it would be cost effective for me to go on disability.


Now how is that right? We live in a society where there is a greater incentive not to work.

The General Accounting Office says that national health care will reduce the deficit. It has in Massachusetts.

Without supplying any evidence the opposition denies this bipartisan organizations findings. Pharmacologicals is the number one lobbying industry. Insurance is the number two lobbying industry.

It doesn't take too much to tell whose interests are being served by those who oppose National Health Care.

Friday, April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011. The Happy Curmudgeon

At one time the Earth was dominated by a strange and wonderful creature, The Curmudgeon. I think that the Curmudgeons were the happiest creatures in the world. They saw things that the rest of us didn't and exhibited no trepidation about pointing them out. I, myself was once a curmudgeon in training, but I couldn't yell at little children, "Hey get off of my lawn!" (Having no lawn, just a balcony, it made no sense to me. Ergo, I flunked a required course, Grumpy 101.)

We all knew somebody who fit the description. You know, the uncle who you dreaded seeing, but you loved repeating the stories about him. I often felt that Marvel Comics should get rid of some of its lesser super heroes and replace it with The Curmudgeon.

"The Adventures of The Curmudgeon. Slower than your mother’s goodbye on the telephone! More flatulent than you old bulldog! Able to scare children with a single growl! ("Look! Up in the laxative aisle!" "It's a grump!" "It's a grouch" "It's The Curmudgeon!")... Yes, it's The Curmudgeon ... strange visitor from another era, who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men! The Curmudgeon ... who can change the course of mighty dinners, clear rooms with his strange odor, and who, disguised as (fill in the blank) , unwanted relative for a great American family, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way! And now, another exciting episode, in The Adventures of The Curmudgeon!"

The Curmudgeon is pretty much an American character. In the fifties, he sat on the park bench yelling about communism. In the sixties he complained that you can't tell the boys from the girls. In the Seventies he started to hate the Government. The Eighties, he was truly miserable. That is because he was happy, he had Ronald Reagan. The Nineties brought pure joy to our hero, he had Clinton and Monica to grumble about.

I'm afraid that this past decade was too much for the Curmudgeon. He was conquered by a stranger more dangerous creature, "The Tea Partiasaurus."

The "Tea Partiasaurus," without the obvious charm and sense of humor of the Curmudgeon, also has major complaints; 1) Gay Marriage, 2) taxing the wealthy, death taxes (to those worth in excess of $5,000,000.00), etc... They'll fund unjust wars, give tax credits to wealthy oil companies, worry about a birth certificate, object to the elimination of junk food on a school lunch menu, let insurance companies, not doctors, control your health care. They are the new American.

Someday they too will be extinguished. What will replace them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011. Smile

It took 2/3 of my expected life to learn to smile! Not to take life so seriously.

I often wonder how some people make it through the day. The guy who speeds up at the yellow light, only to save less than a second, because the next light is red. The people who spent three years screaming about a birth certificate, who won't accept the proof anyway. The kid who practically knocks over the elderly lady to get a seat on the bus. Life's too short to be that angry!

Anger about mundane matters is a waste of time.

I wonder what I would have done with my life had I realized this earlier. Would I have gone to Law School? Probably not. How many Lawyers do you see smiling?

If I had someone to advise what to do, if my pointless, point of view, meant something, I'd say, "Make sure to find a career that you are passionate about."

Following my own advise, I would have tried to write.

Life is strange, by the time that you realize what is important, you're not in a position to act upon that realization.

April 26, 2011. The Eveready Rabbit

My wife thinks that I am obsessed about walking, past the point where it is necessary. She probably is right.


I have been exhausted the past two weeks and it is directly attributable to my obsessive walking. I don't know if I can stop or even slow down.


I'm running from a stalker. When I first was diagnosed, the depression had me resigned to believe that I only had a few good years left. I was obviously wrong.


There is a short window of time when I can take advantage of the weather. In the winter, my clumsiness makes the ice treacherous. In the summer, one of the effects of the Parkinson's is the "flop-sweats." They seem to be starting early this year. In the spring and the fall New York is lovely. So instead of my one mile a day, I've often stretched it to Two to Three miles. I avoid the subway, unless I'm exhausted, or it's a long trip.


I don't know what the answer is. I've been exhausted the last few weeks. I can fall asleep anywhere, at my desk, on the train, in a meeting. This is not good for my career.


Yet what is the alternative. It's not in my nature, to acknowledge that I can't do something. The thought of giving up is repugnant to me. Yet it hurts. The clumsy, almost Frankenstein like style of walking, puts a great strain on the neck, back and knees.


I'll probably just keep on going.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 24, 2011

I keep fighting the feeling of exhaustion. I try to walk at least one mile a day. Today is a beautiful day. No jacket needed, the cherry blossoms are in bloom. Perfect walking weather. So I fought it. I walked about 2.5 miles.

Last week on my team was an ex-professional hockey player, his triathlon partner and a marathon runner. To them 2.5 miles is just the warm-up. Yet I'm now shot for the day.

I feel like I'm fighting an enemy who doesn't obey the rules.

When the weather gets nice, and I can walk, the "flop-sweats" begin. My meds make me feel better, but also throw me for a loop. I can fall asleep at any time. When I do sleep, the dreams are so vivid that when I awaken, it takes a few minutes to figure out that I was dreaming.

Parkinson's, you don't fight fair! All I can do is keep fighting back, and remember that after each bad period, there often is a good period.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011.Crash

The body is capable of strange things. Last Friday and Saturday I felt great. I was on a natural high. Since then I've crashed.

The adrenaline kept me going last week. The Parkinson's took over this week. I went to work out today and I had no stamina.

So which is the true me? The one who walked from 38th to 90th Street last Friday, or the one who struggled to get to 10 minutes on the treadmill today? I suspect that I'm somewhere in between.

The Parkinson's and the Medications wipe me out. I often wonder what I'd be like without the meds. Would I have a tremor? When I started taking them my tremor was insignificant. would it still be that way. I know that I'd have discomfort in my feet. I know this because I know have it until the pills kick in.

I never liked to take aspirin, Now I take 15 pills a day. Isn't that special.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 16, 2011

What a wonderful couple of days this has been.

Both days were spend on Parkinson's related activities. Yesterday was my first meeting with The Parkinson's Disease Foundation People with Parkinson's Advisory Council. Besides sone enlightening conversation, I met people whose Parkinson's is far more advanced than mine. These people are exceptional. They don't ask for sympathy. They are passionate and vital.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 PM, and it was off to dinner on the upper west side, with the same group. I had two hours to get there, so I decided that I'd walk as far as I could. I walked from 36th Street to 90th Street. I was tired, but I felt fine.

Today I participated in "The Parkinson's walk for unity," in Central Park. My family and friend came out to join me. All gracious and generous. Some wearing the t-shirt with my unshaven face, and a fake nose and glasses, with the words, "Team GrouchoMarc." I set a goal of $1,000.00, raised nearly $6,000.00.

My friends came out in the cold. My mother and siblings and nieces and nephew, ignored the damp weather. My Uncles, Aunts, Cousins and their adorable children walk with funnv nose and glasses all smiling.

Joann, my physical therapist, brought her workout buddy with her. Bob Nystom, of The New York Islanders. I had season tickets throught his entire career. He's a very warm, nice, generous man.

Many of us went to Patsy's for lunch afterwards. It was great to spend time with my cousins, who I don't see often enough. It was a thrill to play with their beautiful children.

This was a weekend that will remain with me forever!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

April 12, 2011. Here come's the weekend!

It is quite a busy week! On Friday is the “People with Parkinson’s advisory Council” meeting, followed by a dinner. On Saturday is the Parkinson’s walk, followed by a team lunch. I haven’t has so much attention since my Bar Mitzvah.


I calculated that my team, “GrouchoMarc’s team,” by raising at this writing $5,509.00 is 34th out of approximately 450 teams. We have about 40 walkers, which includes a professional athlete whose long career I had followed from his first to his last game.


I knew that he was a friend of my Physical Therapist. On a Saturday, not too long ago, I received a very nice e-mail from him, asking to join the team, with a $200.00 donation. I’m excited like a little child.


This is going to be a fun week!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April 10, 2011. Dear Pop

Dear Pop:


It occurs to me that 3 weeks from today is your 85th Birthday. We haven’t spoken in a while so I thought that I would bring you up to speed.

Every time I see a old Schwinn bicycle, I think that you’re sending me a message. It’s very comforting to know that you watch over us. I remember when you sold the stores. First the Sporting Goods store, then the Bike shop. You first offered it to each one of us. You were secretly glad that we said no. I don’t know how much you loved working there. I think that I loved the idea that my Dad owned a Toy Store, Sporting Goods Store and Bicycle Shop.

You never particularly liked sports, but there you were next to us and The Ranger games and later The Islander Games. Fast asleep. I tell a story about those days. There are 17,250 people at Madison Square Garden, screaming at the top of their lungs. You’re snoring. Suddenly you awaken, and say, “That was some play!” Michael says, “Dad, that was the Zamboni.” Only three people know that this is a canard. But when the rumor becomes fact, print the rumor. Anyway, I think that you’d get a kick out of it.

I remember as a kid wanting to have a catch with you. Before that day, I’m not sure that you had ever thrown a baseball in your life. You took out an expensive, Wally Bunker, Rawlings mitt from the store, and we had a catch. You weren’t bad. It meant a lot to me.

Every January we’d go to the trade shows. I know meeting Mantle, Mays, Aaron and Brooks Robinson among many others didn’t mean much to you, but you knew how much it meant to us. Because of what it meant to us, you enjoyed it.

As years went on, your love of family didn’t change. 10 years ago, I had 4 tickets to a Friday Night Yankee game. Of course one went to Michael, another to your granddaughter. We told her to choose a friend for the fourth ticket. She chose you. You hadn’t been on a subway for 30 years. (We took the 7 train to the 1969 World Series.) When she asked you graciously went. In the Fourth Inning, I looked over, and there you were, asleep.

I look in the mirror and I see your face. I wish that I had more of you. You used to say, “watch your words, you can’t take them back when they’re out there.” I know that you had a sarcastic sense of humor. You knew when to restrain it. I don’t always know. I’d like to learn to restrain my tongue.

Yours was a special generation. No hyperbole, but it truly was the greatest generation. Like many veterans of you generation, you first supported the Viet Nam war. Later you became vehemently opposed to the war, and all subsequent wars.

You may have been the most educated, informally educated, person that I’ve ever meet. You never went to college, I'm not sure if you graduated from High School. But if asked, I'd respond that my Dad was well educated.

You never were an enthusiastic writer, however. When I traveled Europe in the summer of 1976, I kept sarcastically writing and thanking you for his long letters. Until one day a letter finally came. I found in it 2 feet of toilet paper, with the words on the top Dear Marc, and at the bottom, here's your long letter, Love Dad.

I know that you worry about us, but don’t. You left us quite a legacy. Each other. My Parkinson’s has developed very slowly. I may be more functional today then I was when we last spoke.

Mom is great. You had great taste in women. My brother, my sister and your four grandchildren, follow your example of loyalty and love.

It’s been almost three years. I miss you dearly, but I’m not sad. I’m very satisfied with our relationship. We spoke frankly with each other and I know, just as I hope that you did, that we love each other.

I hope that you don’t mind if I write again. Please write back, I’m low on toilet paper.

Love,


Marc

April 10, 2011. A Little Bit of Luck

It's been a while since I've written. I've actually been spending my spare time reading. I always kick myself for not reading enough. I sometimes find it difficult to start reading a book. Yet I always enjoy it when I do read.

My mother gave me a Kindle. What a wonderful devise. It's light, it's small and you can download a book in seconds.

Believe it or not, I'm now reading "Goldfinger." I never read anything by Ian Fleming, and I'm enjoying thouroughly. I think that the thought of a Martini "shaken not stirred," appeals to someone with Parkinson's disease.

Why else haven't I written? Maybe because we often talk about bad things, but when things are going well we keep it to ourselves.

I feel great. When I stick to the "No protein for lunch" diet, the pills work and my energy is level is high.

I've also been touched by the reponse to my fundraising efforts. The Parkinson's walk is one week away. I set a goal of $1,000.00. Raised that goal, very quickly to $2,500.00. As of this writing, a total of 45 different people have contributed $5,309.00.

These contribution come form family, childhood friends, high school friends, college buddies, work associates, current friends and people that I've only met through my writings.

How could I be sad, knowing this support that I've received?

Parkinson's has no known cure. But these are the cards that I've been dealt, and I will play with them. even though there is no known cure, I'm winning most of the battles. In my opinion there are four criteria to winning these battles: 1) A support system; 2) exercise; 3) attitude; 4) Luck. The first three are a necessary component of number 4. So far I've had all four.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011. Snake Oil Salesman

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. Many are taking the opportunity to walk 30 Miles in 30 Days For Parkinson's Disease Awareness. This may not seem like much, but to someone with PD, it can be a great accomplishment.


I'm a lucky guy. I still walk far more than 30 miles in 30 days. The progression of the disease in me has been slow. I attribute that to luck, exercise and attitude.


Luck, because it has progressed much faster in others.


Exercise, may be the reason that it has progressed slowly.


Attitude, keeps me pushing myself, even when I'd rather not.


There is no cure for this disease, but there are ways to slow the progression.


Through the internet I've met a lot of people with Parkinson's Disease. The Internet can be a wonderful place. It can also be a very dangerous place. There are those out there who try to sell us "cures" for the incurable.


As a Lawyer, I have been trained to be skeptical. If someone is offering something that no one else can give, be it a product, income, a cure etc..., they are trying to pull something over on you.


So if you know somebody who has Parkinson's Disease, who has Alzheimer's Disease, who is elderly etc... try to find out what they are doing on the internet. That person offering them a miracle, and asking them for money cannot deliver.

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011. Moment to Moment

Things can change in the blink of an eye. One moment I had a successful business, I was independent, and my health and safety were the furthest things from my mind. Then the Doctor said that I've got "minor Parkinson's Disease." He then excused himself to take a telephone call.

Now just like when I started, I'm living "hand to mouth." A little more does get in the mouth. I depend upon people to drive me places, to keep my business afloat, and to maintain my sanity. I'm more susceptible to falling, and I’m acutely aware of shadows following me. The last fact makes me extremely uncomfortable, because being 6’2”, 240lbs, I was never afraid of anything.

On the plus side, I now cherish life like I never have before. Things like writing a funny story, taking a nice picture, or taking a walk in Central Park, reading a book give me more joy than I previously experienced.

I’ve learned not to feel sorry for myself. I’ve also learned how to keep myself company.

Why did it take having Parkinson’s Disease for me to realize how well off I’ve always been? I think that I enjoy my childhood more through wonderful memories then I did as a child through the actual experiences.

I’ve had a lot of formal education, but I knew nothing about life. It’s never too late to learn.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011. Shaken not Stirred

I was asked for a poem about my plight.
After a sort debate, I said alright.
Since you've asked for Poetry, Madam
I will try, said Marc-I -Am
My favorite poet was Dr. Seuss
So watch out now, I’m on the loose
Parkinson’s may have slowed me down
But on my face. appears no frown
Limbaugh may think that we are fakin'.
I'll mix him a Martini, he'll see it's not stirred but shaken.
Buttons, Ties and Laces cause me trouble
And I'd prefer to skip a shave and have a stubble
My handwritten is unrecognizable
sloppy, shaky and barely sizeable.
But if you attempt to match me, word for word
I guarantee, you'll look absurd.
Don't waste your time with this endeavour.
My mind is just as sharp as ever
Just as it was, when I did start,
It's my second favorite body part.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 20, 2011. The Perfect Storm

I haven't written in a while. There's just been no time. Work has actually been busy. It's strange, for years I hated my work. I found it tedious and unfulfilling. Now, I miss those days. Last week I was booked every day. I felt great. As a result I felt great.

There was a time, that it wasn't unusual for me to do three closings in one day, prepare a couple of contracts and return every telephone call. I'm not fooling myself, those days are over. What killed them was The Perfect Storm.

Parkinson's caused my depression. Furthermore in order to accomodate the PD, I had to move my office. That, in conjunction with the worst housing market since the Great Depression was the perfect storm.

Now at 54, with PD, I struggle to get my business back. Last week I got a referral from a Realtor, who I used to get 60+ deal a year from. It was my first referral from them in 2 years.

It's hard building back the practice, but I'm excited by it. I think that the harder I work, the less the PD will effect me!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011- Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Perhaps the toughest part of this disease, is the mystery. Not knowing when, where or if it will get worse. Not knowing if the medications will start having a side effect. But this is truly no different than anybody else, with or without Parkinson’s.

So how do you choose to live your life, knowing that it could drastically change tomorrow. Mickey Mantle, believed that he wouldn’t live past 40. So he drank heavily and caroused, and was all in all a pretty miserable guy. He lived into his mid 60's, when his drinking caught up with him. Not only did he make himself miserable, but all around him suffered.

I don’t drink, and I’m not Mickey Mantle, so carousing has never been an option, but I did at times have the ability to make people miserable around me. I was often moody and sullen. Not a good combination with a quick sarcastic tongue.

Luckily I realized that as much as people may like you, they rightfully, do not want to be around somebody who is self pitying. Although others can avoid you, you can’t avoid yourself. Parkinson’s brought me to this realization. I wanted to have good days, and not bad days. Much of that was in my control.

So this may all end tomorrow, or it may go on for 35 years. Either way, I want my tombstone to say, “He made them laugh,” not, “What a bore.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 9, 2011. Further Notes from the Underground

There are certain activities that I concede to Parkinson’s Disease. Driving on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway is way up at the top. The merits of the BQE are that it has a view of Manhattan, that you can’t get anywhere else. The detriments are narrow lanes, a lot of cars, big trucks, and the Grand Canyon of potholes. I don’t miss it.

Downtown Brooklyn from my home in Forest Hills is about 20 minutes without traffic. It is about an hour and fifteen minutes by Subway, and a couple of months by the BQE. Today I had to go to Court in Brooklyn. This means that I must take the Subway. I have to take at least three trains from Continental Avenue to Cadman Plaza. It feels interminable and cost a lot more than the $2.25 fare.

On the train at Continental was a man selling batteries. Only batteries. I didn’t the batteries. The man not a particularly pushy salesman, he spoke no English, but I purchased four packs of expired batteries.

I was sitting on a bench where two average size people could fit. At Roosevelt Avenue a man about 6'8", 300 pounds squeezed in between me the elderly woman who was telling me about the wonders of Christ.

At Queensboro Plaza a man with a squeegee entered the train, he forcibly cleaned my glasses and demanded $5.00 for the service.

At Lexington Avenue, I switched to the number 6 train for one stop,
While walking to the platform I passed an accordion player who was singing, “You’re having my Baby,” in Spanish.

I was pushed onto the 6 train by a large woman, who was considerate enough to be privately listening to his rap music through earphones attached to his i-pod. I knew it was rap music, because, although she had headphones, it was still loud enough to hear every note. Also the woman sang along with the music, while playing his imaginary drums.

I changed for the number 5 train at 42nd Street. There a man entered allegedly collecting money to feed homeless children. Most people looked the other way, I gave him the lunch that my wife had made for me this morning.

At Wall Street, a familiar figure entered the train, Bernard Goetz.

As I exited at Cadman Plaza, after having giving $5.00 to the Bay City Rollers playing on the platform, I heard shots ring out from the train.

I later learned that Goetz shot the panhandlers. He’ll probably be acquitted this time.

It’s still better than the BQE.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 6, 2011. Thank You

Having always viewed life from the "cheap seats," actually participating in an event has been a new and exciting adventure for me.

When I decided to do this, I honestly didn't know where to set the goal. I set it at $1,000.00. We beat that within hours. I raised it to $2,500.00. Thanks to your love and support we are now closing in on $4,000.00. I am overwhelmed.

When I signed up for the walk, I also submitted an application to The Parkinson's Disease Foundation to be on the People with Parkinson's Advisory Council. I've realized how good life has been to me, it's time to give back.

I've recently been advised that I am one of nine people across the country to have been selected. I enter this new phase of my life with curiosity and excitement. I have no clue what this entails, but thanks to your support I feel empowered.

Thank you again for your wonderful support.

Friday, March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011. OOH-EE-OOH-AH-AH-WING-WONG-WALLA-WALLA-BING-BONG

For the time being, I'm done with Doctors.
 
It is disturbing when your Doctor bellows out "IT'S ALIVE!"  But, it is better than the alternative.
 
PD Poker, Poked a Poke on Pickled Patient.
How many Pokes of Pickled Patient did PD Poker Poke?
 
I suppose it's good when these exams are monotonous.  That means there are no changes. I'm actually very healthy. I'm down 40lbs from my highest weight. My Blood Pressure is good. I can' even recall the last time that I was sick.

Why do I hate going to the Doctor. It's intrusive, he says while telling hundreds of strangers the intimate details of his life.

Don't get me wrong, I like my Doctors, but they prove the third stage of male aging. Stage 1) You are older than Playboy Centerfolds; Stage 2) You are older than all Ballplayers; Stage 3) You are older than all of your Doctors. I now have reached the third stage.

I guess that I should accept the fact that I'm an adult. Maybe that is why my Doctors don't have Hi-Lites Magazine in their waiting room.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March 3, 2011. The view from the cheap seats.

Let’s face it folks, there comes a time in life when selfishness must end. This time comes without credit. You don’t get credit for doing what you’re supposed to do. Does the star athlete making $20,000,000.00 a year deserve credit for starting a foundation with $1,000,000.00?

Where did my sudden passion come from? Besides Baseball, I never was passionate about anything. I always took the "view from the cheap seats."

Yeah, I spoke a lot, but never did anything. I always let the next guy take action.

People would know me as the wisecracking kid in the back row. So what happened?

Am I entering into this new journey of advocacy for myself or for others? It does make me feel better, so therefore it may be for me. Others who I may raise money for are therefore, ancillary beneficiaries. Does it really matter?

Could this be one of those cases where the ends truly justify the means?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1, 2011. Doctor My Eyes

Well, it's that time again. Tomorrow I go to my GP for a physical. Thursday to my Neurologist to have my elbows bent.

Tomorrow is the Three P's, Poking, Proding and Peeing. In less then one hour, and for almost as much money, this man can tell me the same things that my wife does. 1) You need to lose weight; 2) You eat too many sweets; 3) I'd like to see you in a year. Same things that my wife says.

On Thursday, I get to bend my elbow, do the "talky, talk" song from South Pacific, count back from 100 by 7's (I'm good at that), and walk down a hall.

I guess that these visits are necessary, if only to rule out that I don't have Hoof and Mouth Disease, but I'm tired of Doctors. I can't count the number of Doctors that I've seen the last few years.

There was the one who cleans my ears, the one you checked on my back and told me that I was done playing ball, the one who checked my elbow, the one who checked my hand, the one who told be that my MRI showed nothing Dr Howard, Dr Fine and Dr. Howard.

These people go where no man has gone before.

There are one Doctor who I don't tire of, Dr Seuss.

I do not want your hand up there
I certainly don't want the pair.
If you want to check that place,
at least please kiss me on the face
I'm tired of the Docs that I see,
I'm sure by now that they're tired of me!

Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28, 2011. If you Prick us, Do we not bleed?

“If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”

Have you ever lied, about what is wrong, when someone notices the Parkinson’s? I have, more times then I care to remember. At Real Estate closings, I often have to stand up to get my leg comfortable. I just tell people that my back is stiff.

Argumentatively, I do this in order not to affect my business. Sometimes I do this to avoid the conversation that will inevitably ensue. You’ve heard it, “My cousin’s wife’s stepfather had it. He’s had no trouble for 30 years.” This is often followed by the inevitable, “I’m sure everything will be fine.” Or “You’re in my prayers.”

So what do we do? We lie. I continue to do so every day, this blog is blocked, so that certain people, clients who have friended me, cannot read what I write.

What strange reactions, I have gotten. A family friend, from The Putz family, is a Doctor. I think that he got he license on the home shopping network. He grabbed my arm to check my elbow, in the middle of East End Avenue. I’m shocked that he didn’t send me a bill.

There is also the way that people react. I have a dear friend that doesn’t return my calls anymore. I’m assuming, based upon his/her initial reaction, that it’s just too upsetting for he/she.

So what am I going to do? I’ll continue to lie to those that I don’t care to discuss it with. I’ll reach out to my friend, hoping that it’s just my imagination. Most of all, I’ll try to go about my life, without allowing the Parkinson’s to define me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February 27, 2011. Dream a Little Dream of Me

The strangest symptoms of this disease or the medication (I’m not entirely certain which causes these) are the hallucinations and the dreams.

At times, I see things out of the corner of my eyes that aren’t there. It’s usually something minor, like I think that I see an insect or a Red Sox Fan. Something that if I stamped out, nobody would miss, but it would do no harm to ignore. I look a second time and it wasn’t there.

The stranger of the two is the vivid dreams. So vivid, in fact, that I act them out at times.

I’ve had violent dreams and athletic dreams. My wife has awakened me in the middle of the night, asking me what I meant by something that I was yelling about. So far I’ve been successful in covering up my lustful desires for Sweet Polly Purebred.

As I’ve stated before, many of my dreams tend to be sports related. I’ve dove for volleyballs, shot hockey pucks, blocked basketballs and swung baseball bats in my sleep.

Sometimes I wake up happy, having enjoyed the dream. Sometimes I wake up angry, having made a strategic error in the dream. Sometimes, I wake up on the floor.

One time that I woke up on the floor, I dreamt that I had hit an infield grounder and in order to beat it out I slid into first base. Ignoring the fact that I was never fast enough to make such a play that close, I was pissed, because you never slide into first base!

Another time it was equally vivid. In fact, I even imagined an announcer.

“OK, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going here, Two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth, There’s the windup, and there it is, a line shot up the middle, Look at him go. This boy can really fly! He's rounding first and really turning it on now, he's not letting up at all, he's gonna try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center, and here comes the throw, and what a throw! He's gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he's out! No, wait, safe-safe at second base, this kid really makes things happen out there. Batter steps up to the
plate, here's the pitch-he's going, and what a jump he's got, he's trying for third, here's the throw, it's in the dirt-safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base! He's taking a pretty big lead out
there, almost daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher glances over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted down the third base line, the suicide squeeze is on! Here he comes, squeeze
play, it's gonna be close, holy cow, I think he's gonna make it”

Now any Baseball fan knows the problem here. Why would the suicide squeeze be on with two outs?

Friday, February 25, 2011

February 25, 2011. New York, Los Angeles oh how I've yearned for you. Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge

I rarely leave New York, yet recently I've been all over this country. I've met all sorts of different people, The two things that we all have in common is 1) we have an incurable Neurological Disease or we know someone who does; and 2) we've all bonded in some way.

There are those who write poetry. I can write parodies of songs and can rhyme anything with Nantucket, but traditional poetry no.

There are those who are frustrated or scared. I'm a little frustrated, not particularly scared.

There are those who look towards religion. I respect their beliefs, but it's not for me.

There are those who are lonely. At times that's me regardless of my 186 facebook friends. (if my Mom is reading this, I bet that she is glad that she doesn't have to cater any more birthday parties).

There are the cheerleaders. (Shake it to the right! Shake it to the Left! Give me a P....)

Then there's me, One of the Scriveners of the group. We deal with it by writing our every thought.

How did such a group find each other? I don’t know, but just as Dorothy felt she always knew the Scarecrow, I feel like I’ve always known these people.

The internet is a dangerous place, but sometimes it can be very rewarding.

February 25, 2011. Turn, Turn, Turn

For many people there comes a time in life when they decide that it's time to give back some of what they've taken. Some people are born with this. They start when they are young. Others never get it. I hope that I have finally gotten it.

I decided some weeks ago to start using the skills that I've attained as a Lawyer to good use. On the recommendation of my facebook friend, Linda, I applied to the advisory council of Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Yesterday I was selected to serve on the People with Parkinson's Advisory Council.

I have no idea what this entails, but I want to hit the ground running.

This morning a composed and sent an e-mail to a colleague of mine at The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, suggesting that our goals were not mutually exclusive and therefore maybe we could work together on a project

I'm very excited. I feel like a new door to my life has been opened. I'm going to enter it with a smile.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

february 24, 2011. One day at a time

I often start writing these without a clue of the subject that I’m going to write about. Today is such a day.

I started writing in November 2007. I was scared. I was depressed. I didn’t know where Parkinson’s disease was going to take me. So I started to write. It helped. Whenever I would be depressed, writing would pull me out of the depression.

As I speak to people who have PD, I find the stories strangely similar. Everybody went to many different Doctors, before one finally diagnosed the problem. All of us were told by one or more friends how their friend or neighbor had it and lived well for thirty years. My favorite is the friend who says. “I’m sure that everything will be alright.” Unless that friend is Nostradamus, that is the most meaningless statement that can be made.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. There have been great strides taken to alleviate the symptoms. They know that exercise helps. They know that dancing helps. I personally believe that positive thinking helps.

The truth is, if I met somebody today, and he or she didn’t watch me getting out of a car, they would suspect nothing. Today is a good day. The weather is mild, the medications are working well, hence I feel fine. Tomorrow could be completely different. I haven’t had to cancel any appointments yet, because of the disease, but the day will come. It is just that unpredictable.

The worst time of the day is when I first wake up. I’m stiff and slow. Right now is the best time, between 12:30 PM and 4 PM. I feel great.

Since I feel great, and the weather is nice, I’m going to take advantage of it and go for a walk.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 23, 2011 Inagodadavida

A friend, who I hadn't spoken to in a few months, asked me the other day if I was on disability.

The thought is so repulsive to me, that my initial reaction was anger. I immediately realized that he meant no insult so I suppressed the anger.

It’s funny, I don’t particularly love what I do for a living. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a Lawyer. Law School trains you to think in a way that will last for the rest of your life. You’re taught to look for the big picture, not to be mechanical. It’s something that I have embraced in my life. I never want to stop learning.

I love being a Lawyer. I don’t love practicing Law. It’s not like Perry Mason, where at the last minute, somebody bursts in and confesses to the crime. It’s not like To Kill a Mockingbird, where you get to try to have justice in an unjust society. It’s not like L.A. Law, where you get to sleep with all of your model clients. It’s not like Ally McBeal, where you can break into song at any moment.

It’s like any other business, where you have to deal with clients, who feel that because they are paying you, they own you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You have to deal with other Lawyers, who had the same training that you did, and are equally as obnoxious

So why don’t I want to go on disability?

At my father’s funeral, when as part of the eulogy, I read the following poem by Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

My Dad did “not go gentle into that good night,” and neither will I.

I will fight to my last ounce of strength before I go on disability. Today I feel great, there is no reason for me to believe that tomorrow will be different.

My mind was trained in a way that makes me want to keep it expanding. Part of what allows me to do that is the knowledge that no where in the foreseeable future will I wake up and say, that “I’ve got nothing to do today.”

Now, after all this, you’re probably asking, “what does this have to do with Inagodadavida?” Actually, it has nothing at all to do with Inagodadavida. When I first started writing this I couldn’t think of a title. So I gave it the most absurd title that I could come up with.