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Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011. No escape from Reality

A dose of Reality this morning. I fell. I'm not hurt, just scraped my knee. But for the first time I've got nothing but PD to blame it upon.

It's time to face reality. This doesn't mean that I'm going to be a shut in. Just a little more careful.

Now the difficult part. How to hide a skinned knee from my wife. Any suggestions?

There is a difference between men and women. I look at the result, which is nothing. She looks at the cause. She's right of course. She's afraid of the future. I want to continue along "big, fat,dumb and happy.'" Somewhere in between lies the answer.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 31, 2011. At least I get to throw out the first Ball

Yogi Berra gets to throw out the first ball. Although I'm taller and younger, last night I felt like Yogi. I went to an awards ceremony for a long time business associate. It's a Real Estate Brokerage, whom I've gotten a lot of business from over the years. Although I had been their primary referral of this brokerage and other incarnations of this brokerage for about twenty years, I realized last year that i no longer was.

I was like the aging Godfather. People came over to me, kissed my ring, but clearly the popularity was reserved for the younger Attorneys. Last year when I first got this inclination, I immediately set up a luncheon for the brokerage. It worked to a limited degree.

I don't blame the decline in business solely to Parkinson's directly, but to the ancillary results of the Parkinson's. My main office is now in my home. It is about 50 miles from the Brokerage, and although I tell potential clients I will meet them out at the brokerage, they hear that I'm in Queens, and I hear the inevitable, "OH." I no longer can meet them at night. I used to make many of my appointments at the client's convenience. However, I now avoid driving at night. I have taken the train on occasion. It eats up most of my day, and when you add the round trip, subway and cabs, it costs more than $60.00. I can't pass this along to the client, because that will only give them more incentive to get a local Attorney.

Am I past my prime? There was a time that I got upwards of 150 referral a year from brokers. If I had 25 last year, I'd be surprised. A large percentage of the drop off is clearly that the market is bad. But an equal percentage is me.

I still play the game. Yesterday, I sent out a mass e-mail regarding estate planning. If I get one client, it was worth it.

at the party, when the guests were introduced, as has been their custom, I was introduced first among the Attorneys. I got to throw out the first ball.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Bible's Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse allegedly symbolize Conquest, War, Famine and Death. (Now for those of you who think that I've found religion, don't bet on it. I'm still a "Jew for Jeter.") Parkinson's has it's own four horseman, Stress, Panic, Depression and Anxiety.

My stress could have been eased had I grown up. I was immortal. I didn't need to save. I didn't need long term insurance. Well wake up folks, there may not be a tomorrow.

My Panic is partially a result of the stress. Partially a result of what I describe as a loss of instincts. What was once instinctive is no longer. I have to think out every move.

Depression comes from the change of life. One day I'm Superman, the next day Jimmy Olsen.

The final result of the above is irritability.

I'm a Lawyer, I'm an elder care Lawyer. I advise people to get Long Term Care Insurance. I advise people to get life insurance. I didn't take my own advise. Luckily I did get disability insurance. If only I were playing baseball, I'd have a good average.

If you're in your forties or older, if you're a caretaker, don't wait. Look into Long Term Care Insurance. Before it's too late.

January 28, 2011. Parkinson's Hates a Fighter.

I've been remiss. I haven't written in two days. It's too easy to get out of the habit.

Being shut in leaves me little to report. I do have an extreme case of cabin fever.

The problems with being cooped up:

1) My wife is aware of every snack that I eat.
2) I realize how seldom the telephone rings in my home office.
3) I get lazy.
4) When I'm active, I'm more productive.

The third item, I can't truly blame on being shut in, I've always been lazy. When in school, I believed that you don't do today, what you can put off until tomorrow.

I owned the largest collection of Monarch Notes. Regrettably for "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "Of Mice and Men." Thankfully for "Siddhatha," (If I ever had children, punishment for misbehaving would be reading Siddhartha or The Prophet.)

A teacher once told my mother, that she knows that I didn't cheat, I was too lazy to cheat. My response was, "No point in doing something if you can't do it well. "

What does all of this have to do with Parkinson's? The Fourth item. It's very easy to fall into a pattern with PD. PD is the reason that the snow forces me inside. Inside I get lazy and I fall into a pattern. If I don't fight this, the next step is depression, which exacerbates itself.

So today, I'm learning from my past. When I started to write this, as usual, I had no idea where it was headed. By writing this I realized where I was headed. I won't travel down that path again. Parkinson's can take over your mind as well as your body. It can be fought on both fronts.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25, 2011. What's a Yoot?

I had a strange experience yesterday. I ran into a man who I once rented space from. He is in the early stages of Parkinson's.

In June 1985, I left my "dead end" job to open my own practice. An Attorney who I had seen often offered to rent me an office. I was thrilled. Not only did I get an office at a reasonable rat, but i got a mentor also.

The mentor part didn't exactly work out. He was highly intelligent, but too devious for my tastes. I left him in December 1986.

We'd run into each other many times over the years. we are both always polite and gracious to each other. Yesterday was different. We spoke about the disease. Both of us are in good spirits.

You can't necessarily see the day to day changes in yourself, but they're evident upon someone who you haven't seen for a while. I suppose that they are evident on me too.

Long gone is that kid with the beard and the wavy hair. The beard would now be white and would exacerbate the chafing problem that Parkinson's has caused. The hair clogs a drain.

I still wear pants with a 32" waist. Only now I need more than one pair to go around. My noble chin is still there, somewhere.

Where did that kid go? Oh he said so many inappropriate things. Like the time in his first year of Law School. The Contracts professor was teaching a lesson on "stopping the right of retraction." He turned to his friend in the next seat and said, "Stopping the right of retraction, my God, that sounds painful!" We were both asked to leave the classroom.

Although the hair and waist began to go in his twenties, the mouth remained. Like the toast he made at a playboy friend's bachelor party, "I've had four heroes in my life, John Lennon, Mickey Mantle, Groucho Marx and you. Now you're all dead." For some strange reason my contracts professor showed up and asked me to leave the party.

Youth was so much fun. I must visit there from time to time.

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011. Where this man has never gone before.

I belong to a wonderful support group started on facebook. It's comprised of people with Parkinson's and their caretakers.

Today one of the participants was a bit depressed. He had concluded that he would only get worse. I suppose that that is the truth. when I think about it, I get a bit melancholy too. So I try not to think about it. Am I in a state of denial? Somewhat, but I think that that is OK.

Somehow, I've managed, through my greatest challenge, to go where I've never gone before. I've become an optimist.

To what do I attribute this metamorphosis? A couple of factors. 1) I love having people around me. People are more likely to befriend an optimist than a pessimist. 2) I could not go on that way. I didn't want my own company. That's something that there's no way to avoid.

People don't die from Parkinson's they may die from Pneumonia or something else caused by the Parkinson's. So I'm aware of the possibilities, but I'm determined to never let it kill my spirit.

So I've gone where this man has never gone before.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011. Remember that Hope is a Good Thing

Remember that hope is a good thing, Red, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. (Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen KIng.)

I look forward to writing these essays every morning. Honestly, I often don't have an idea until I sit down at the keyboard. Other times, like today, I hear or read a line in a movie or a book and it wakes me up.

Hope is a good thing! When I was first diagnosed I was sad, morose, melancholy. (Remember that I'm still a Lawyer. Three adjectives is par.) One day something awakened me, to the realization, that this is not going away. Therefore, I can accept it for what it is and enjoy the rest of my life, or continue on a downward path. For once in my life I chose the right route.

I realize that my words alone or, even better, Stephen King's words are not going to stop a depression. If you've got it, you've got to fight it. Don't ever get used to it. There are people depending upon you just to be you.

So hope is a good thing. I can hope that they find a cure, if not for me, for the one's that follow. I can hope that the progression of the disease continues slowly. I can hope that it never again takes my spirit from me. Without my spirit, I don't enjoy my own company. I can only imagine how I must have made others feel.

The movie, "The Shawshank Redemption," had another memorable quote, "Get busy living, or get busy dying"

So I'm 54 years old. I don't particularly like what I do for a living, but because there are those who question whether I physically can do it, I will not stop. I will do it until I find something better.

I would love to write. I'd love to take what is now a wonderful hobby and make it into my vocation. I don't know how good I am. Many of these pieces are redundant. But I have hope, and hope is a good thing. And I'm going to get busy living.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

" Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

I've always questioned how a man who knew that he was dying, could express such a thought. Yet Lou Gehrig saw the big picture. I believe that Gehrig probably appreciated what he had before he was diagnosed with ALS. It took Parkinson's for me to appreciate how good my life has been. I don't mean that in a comparative way. It's still good.

This is a tough world. I was born to a middle class family in Queens, NY. not the poverty of Cuba. The nearest thing to hunger that I've felt was an empty box of Mallomars, not the hunger of an African child. A disaster, to me,r is when the Yankees miss the playoffs, not an earthquake in Haiti.

Prior to PD, I was unappreciative of what life had given me. Up through today, I've been egocentric. Maybe PD was natures way of saying, "Hey Schmuck, you're not alone." As you know, I signed up too walk for PD research. I'm walking in Central Park on April 16. I had initially set a goal of raising $1,000.00. We passed that the first day, so I raised it to $2,500.00. We passed that on the fifth day. We're now closing in on $3,000.00. I'm overwhelmed by my friends and family. It's odd that it took something like Parkinson's to make me fully appreciate how lucky I am.

It's a small step, No pun intended, but it's a beginning. It's my beginning.

"So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for."

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011. The Marx Doctors

The diagnosis was a long journey. After realizing that there was something amiss I saw five different doctors.

The first Doctor was my GP, Dr. Chico.

Dr. Chico: So Whatsa mattta?

M: 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.

M: 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...

M: 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.

M: 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, before sending me to Dr. Groucho a Parkinson's specialist.

After using his cigar for light, and asking me how I did in the Kentucky Derby. 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 before.

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

Now you may believe that 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, January 20, 2011

January 20, 2011. A House Divided

Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to repeal Universal Health Care. Republican members of the House, without presenting any economic theory, claim that it's too expensive. The Congressional Budget Office, Congresses Nonpartisan Budget referees have estimated that repeal of The Health Care Bill will increase the deficit by $230,000,000,000.00.

"The U.S. currently spends about 40 percent more on health care per capita than any other industrialized nation that has a universal health care system. There are federal studies, which show that universal health care in the United States could save $100-200 billion per year, even with additional coverage of all the currently uninsured people. Also, universal health care in the U.S. would incur less expenditure because of lower administrative costs. The U.S. currently spends 50-100 percent more money on administration than universal health care systems.

Their grandstanding has no chance of making it through the Senate.

There have been many lies told about universal Health Care. Remember the Death Panels. The thought of it is absurd. so why does the Republican Party want the system to remain unfettered? After all, they still haven't proposed a system of their own.

Is it because Health Care is so good it shouldn't be changed?

"Currently the U.S. is in 20th place for women’s life expectancy and 21st for men’s, down from 1st for both in 1945. Also, the U.S. ranks between 50th and 100th in immunizations, taking 67th place, right behind Botswana."

Is it because Congress is worried about depriving the citizens of services?

Research has shown that with universal health care systems citizens have more hospital stays and more doctor visits than in the United States. Currently about 30 percent of Americans have trouble with health care access because of payment problems, which is a far larger percentage than in any other industrialized country. Around 17 percent of Americans live without health insurance and about 75 percent of uninsured people who are sick suffer difficulties with paying for or even accessing health care.

What is the real reason? Look at who benefits most from thee current system remaining. The biggest beneficiaries are the Insurance and Pharmaceutic industries. Ironically they are also the two biggest spenders on lobbying in the Country.

Don't think, for a minute, that members of Congress, who get health care insurance for life, have our best interests at heart. Democracy is dead. The Corporation survives.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 19, 2011. To be a Curmudgeon or not to be a Curmudgeon, that is the Question.

I've found my smile. Parkinson's may make it difficult to physically exhibit the smile, but it's there.

"We have two lives... the life we learn with and the life we live after that. Suffering is what brings us towards happiness."
— Bernard Malamud (The Natural)

I've used that quote before, but I think that it is particularly pertinent to this entry. i spent much of my younger days cultivating the image of the curmudgeon. I suppose in some immature way that i wanted attention. getting Parkinson's helped to put things in perspective.

"What did you learn, Dorothy?" I learned that people want to be empathetic. However, they will only be empathetic to those whose problems are real and who those people who help themselves. When I was so consumed in my own imagined issues, i did not realize how good I truly had it, I was boring.

What changed? Parkinson's, strangely is the life that I will live with. It's not so bad. I have a very supportive family, more friends then you can shake a stick at (which is good, because they used to get pissed when I'd shake a stick at them), and a good life.

We all have problems. The people that you want to associate with do not let their problems consume their existence.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18, 2011. Always Look on the Bright side of Life.

What are the unexpected benefits of Parkinson's Disease:

1) You never need to put a quarter in the "magic fingers" machine in a cheap hotel's bed.

2) Save time in mixing Bosco. It will be mixed by the time it reaches your mouth.

3) Don't need an electric toothbrush.

4) You win all the dance contests. Assuming that their doing the twist.

5) Great head fake on the Basketball Court.

6) Can disguise yourself as a giant rattlesnake and fool the Arizona Border Patrol.

7) Save money of Maracas when the band wants to play LaBamba.

8) James Bond will always want to come to your house for dinner. You make the perfect Martini, Shaken not Stirred.

January 18, 2011. Sweet Melissa

There are people in your life that will always hold a special place in your life.

One of those is my cousin Melissa. When I decided to do this Unity Walk, Melissa was one of the first to join in. Not only did she volunteer to walk and donate money, she took the bull by the horns. She posted on her facebook, she wrote the relatives, she designed a t-shirt.

She's 15 years younger than I am. She was always my adorable little cousin. She's long since past being a child. Our relationship has grown into a friendship. She's one of my favorite people. Melissa has two beautiful young children, she goes to school, where did she find time for this? It doesn't surprise me, her enthusiasm and generosity have always been a large part of what makes her a wonderful woman.

Melissa's enthusiasm is contagious. She is one of many family members whose support has kept me going.

Thank you Mellie, this has been my favorite essay.

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011, Castles in the Air

Yesterday, as I sat on the bus crossing over the 59th Street Bridge, I could see the United Nations Building, The Empire State Building, The Woolworth Building and my favorite The Chrysler Building. I came to the realization of something that I have known for many years. New York City is the only place in the world for me to live. On the bridge, my mind can hear the sounds of Simon and Garfunkel, my "home-boys" from Forest Hills. I realized that three of the aforementioned buildings, were at one time, the tallest building in the world.

New York City also affords me the opportunity to keep my business running. I have become dependent upon the subways, the rails and the buses. No other city in this country has a mass transit system like New York.

On April 16, I will be participating in a walk for a cure for Parkinson's disease. The walk takes place in Central Park. This could be my favorite spot in the world. A lush green oasis in the middle of a beautiful concrete jungle. The Park is gorgeous in April. The response to join grouchomarc's team (appropriate name, don't you think?) has been overwhelming. As I'm writing this a friend of mine gave me an idea, fake nose, mustache and glasses for all. If you want to join me, load your ipod with Simon and Garfunkel and come on down.

I have wonderful friends, I have a wonderful family, I live in the best place in the world. I wouldn't wish this disease on anyone, but it does make me appreciate how lucky I truly have been.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16, 2011. Fight the Fights that you can win.

On a Parkinson's page of facebook, one of the subscribers mentioned how he had too many beers, they didn't mix well with his medications, and he got into a fight with his wife. Although the first part, too many beers, is unlikely to ever effect me (I've had one beer in 20 years), I sure that any person with PD and the caretaker can relate to the second part.

My wife is a Geriatric Physician. She is brilliant, logical, diligent and disciplined. I am bright, far from brilliant. I am logical when it comes to work, but often illogical in life. I want to live until I die. That attitude leads to bad decisions. I am not diligent. Although I've been quite disciplined when it comes to writing this blog, I am far from disciplined.

Tick, Tick, Tick....

Can you say time bomb? How do we deal with this situation? Often times, not well.

Parkinson's adds stress to a marriage. The role of the caretaker and the inflicted party often clash. I've done things that I shouldn't have, without telling her, in order to avoid a fight. Invariably I feel bad after the fights, because I realize that she is only looking out for my welfare.

So I try to live my life by one rule: Fight the fights that you can win. When I find one, I'll let you know.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 15, 2011. Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee.

There are artists who shine above the rest, Beethoven, Mozart, The Beatles, Van Gogh, Picasso. In the world of sports there are those who are no lesser artists than those listed above.

Willie Mays was the Picasso of Baseball. Tom Seaver said that he was the only outfielder that he ever played with, that wanted to know what pitch he would throw. This is because Mays could usually tell by the combination of the pitch and the angle of the batters bat where the ball would be hit. He knew that the game was entertainment, and that people came to see him, he rarely disappointed.

Wayne Gretzky made everybody around him a superstar. They used to say that he could see the play unfolding in slow motion. I had season tickets for the Islanders for 20 years, much of it during Gretzky's prime. Although I always rooted against him, I marveled at how great he was.

Everybody knows about Michael Jordan. There was nobody like him. He walked on air. During his prime I had season tickets for the Knicks. As long as Jordan played, the Knicks would remain the perennial also ran.

I never was a boxing fan. It wasn't a sport to me. With one notable exception. Muhammad Ali. Ali was grace, pure entertainment. He'd dance and recite his poetry, and have the crowd roaring. He even made Howard Cosell enjoyable. Thirty years after his last fight, he is still considered the most recognizable face in the world.

Ali suffers from Parkinson's disease. Most likely the disease was caused or at least exacerbation by the many blows to the head that he took. He was diagnosed in 1984. Today Ali barely speaks, needs help walking, his hands tremble and shake. His infectious smile is a struggle, that he seems willing to overcome.

"When Ali was first diagnosed with Parkinson's Syndrome, he went through a battery of tests, first at the renowned Mayo Clinic, then at a series of other highly respected institutions. Ali's physical exams and tests indicated a surprising amount of abnormalities, all of which seemed to be boxing related. It was found that Ali had a hole in the membrane separating the two sides of his brain. While this type of abnormality is often congenital, being punched in the head repeatedly, if not causing such a condition, can certainly exacerbate and worsen it. Further complicating matters, Ali was shown to have a series of degenerative changes in his brain stem; a part of the brain that is linked with dopamine production, a neurotransmitter that is lacking in those afflicted with Parkinson's-like afflictions. Ali's brain stem was shown to be significantly damaged, and his attending physicians, in a statement released at Muhammad Ali's behest, stated that they believed Ali's brain damage to be boxing-induced."

Ali doesn't appear to be bitter. He appears at many charitable events. Somehow he seems to be able to fake a combination to excite his legion of fans.

I haven't watched a Boxing match in more than thirty years, and will unlikely ever watch another. Because there will never be another Ali.

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14, 2011. How's the view from the cheap seats?

It occurs to me that I am obsessing. I have too much time on my hands so I obsess. I decided that if I must obsess, I'm going to put it to good use.

I have written to some Parkinson's organizations volunteering my services in the role of advocate. I'm a well spoken, well written Attorney. I think that I'd be an asset.

I've lived my whole life in a bubble. The world floats by me, as I sit still. i haven't taken much from society, but I certainly haven't given back. Oh yeah, I forgot, I donate to the ACLU.

I've ranted and raved to my friends about war, pollution, drugs and the designated hitter.. Besides that I know the view from the cheap seats.

So if I must obsess about my condition, why not put it to good use?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 13, 2011. This is the winter of my Discontent.

Doctors can treat the physical symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, but often don't understand the mental toll that it take on the patient.

I'm a fairly optimistic person, and this helps. But, I can't kid myself. I've read about the ravishes of the disease.

Why the depressing start? The weather. This is the winter of my discontent.

Because my balance is potentially bad. I'm stuck inside. I do have a closing today. I'm being driven door to door.

This loss of independence, which will only get worse, is difficult to treat. How do you treat somebody, who never had to "rely upon the kindness of strangers," but now must, because those days are suddenly gone? I can't be told that it will get better, because I know that it won't. Ergo, at 54, my days of independence are over. Not a minute goes by where someone can't reach me. This is both comforting and disturbing. An adult needs his privacy. Those things that are solely his. I'm not speaking of salacious matters. I'm speaking about the things everybody does that are solely our own.

I'm struggling to separate the loss of independence from the loss of individualism. I have to convince myself that they are mutually exclusive, one is not dependent upon the other.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12, 2011. The Thesaurus is not a Dinosaur

Perhaps the aspect of Parkinson's Disease that bothers me most is that the combination of Parkinson's and aging has robbed me of my nearly photographic memory. The long term memory is still there, but the short term memory is bad.

Imagine being able to rewrite your note for a class, and that exercise alone would relegate them to memory. I could do this. Just by rewriting them, I would have them memorized. I could tell you what page and where on the page a particular fact was. It was if I had a snapshot in my mind.

It wasn't only for schoolwork. I would remember important things too. For Instance the roster for 1967 (last place) Yankees. You never know when that will come up in conversation.

People think that I'm a funny guy. Half of the things that I say are from movies that nobody remembers.

I also forget words. Not necessarily unusual words, but simple words. This is particularly upsetting for me. You see I love words. I'm a sesquipedalian. I belong to SA (Sesquipedalians Anonymous). I've completed six steps of the program.

1) I admit that I am a Sesquipedalian;
2) I recognize that the Thesaurus is the higher power that gives me fortitude;
3) I examine prior errors with the help of spell check;
4) I correct these transgressions;
5) learning a new word;
6) helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions. I'll buy them all a Thesaurus.

If you are a Sesquipedalian, tired of having to face a world of those that can't spell avuncular. We are here to solve your conundrum. All that you have to do is acknowledge that you have a problem.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011. So this is what a Courthouse Looks Like.

I hate going to Court. I avoid it whenever possible. The main function of the court is "hurry up and wait."

It's filled with Young Attorney who think that they learned something useful in Law School.

It's filled with Middle Aged Attorneys, that can't believe that this is what their lives have become.

It's filled with pompous Attorneys, that carry with them 250 page briefs, that are only that long because Attorneys need to use three synonyms for every adjective that they use.

I guess that it serves a purpose. It keep Lawyers off of the streets.

Today, I'm going to Court. In Riverhead of all places. I can drive out there, but since the calendar is at 3:00 PM, I'd be driving back at night. I don't do that anymore. It's one of the activities that I have given up due to the PD.

The next choice is the train. The last train to Riverhead arrives at 10:30 AM. Assuming that it takes 10 minutes to get to the Court, I'd have 4 hours and 20 minutes for lunch. The return train leaves at 3:50 PM. If I miss that one, the next train leave at 10:20 PM. There's not much one can do in Riverhead for 12 hours.

My wife is going to drive me. This is wonderful of her, but it bothers me nonetheless. Not because she is nice enough to drive me, but because she has to drive me.

It's not the loss of independence that bothers me. It's the loss of the option of independence that bothers me. It's very important to the ego to believe that you can still be the one who is relied upon. To request this ride was not easy.

I see this happening more and more. My reactions may not be logical, but I'll bet that they are common. You spend years growing up, so that you can be the one relied upon, then one day, it's all taken away from you.

I used to go to Yankee Stadium at night via subway. Now I no longer go to the Stadium and, because of the stairs, I avoid the subway if possible. Is the Stadium still there?

I used to go to out of town conferences. If possible I drove. I'd bring all of The Beatles CDs in the car. Those hours of solitude with just the music were extremely relaxing. I'll never do that again.

I've always hated Court. I avoid it whenever possible. I wish that I could go to Court today, by myself. You don't always realize what you enjoy, until it is taken away.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011. The Gookie

"The Gookie," Harpo Marx's iconic funny face. The eyes cross, the cheeks puff up and the tongue rolls.

Since I was 15, I've been making that face to make my younger cousins laugh, then my nephew and nieces, and finally my cousins' children.

Lon Cheney was called "The Man of a Thousand Faces." One of the telltale signs of PD is a masked, expressionless face.
Could I, the man of one face, still make "The Gookie."

The challenge was made. His second called on my second. My second ran away, so my third answered. Deep beneath that mask, would "the Gookie" be awakened.

I did it. Still Champion. I accept all challenges.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9, 2011. Legalized Bribery

The Two Industries spending the most money on Lobbying were in 2010, 1) Pharmaceutical and Health Products at $2,019,336,707 and Insurance at $1,462,880,244.

I spent over 25 % percent of my income last year on Health Insurance, Doctors and Medications. (If I were to include Malpractice insurance, Auto Insurance and Disability Insurance it would climb to over 35%.)

The Congressional Budget Office, Congresses Nonpartisan Budget referees have estimated that repeal of The Health Care Bill will increase the deficit by $230,000,000,000.00.

So why does the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives want to repeal the Health Care Bill. After all didn't they run on a promise that they would decrease the deficit? The answer lies in the opening sentence. With the ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission the unfettered bribery of the elected officials will continue.

What is the result of this debacle? Thankfully for now, repeal will never make it past the house. But the Insurance industry and the Pharmaceutical industries will still have its hands firmly on the neck of all Americans.

As a result we will have fewer Doctors (strangely not too much of the insurance money "trickles down" to the Doctors), Drug prices are controlled, forcing people to either chose breaking the law, by going to Canada or Mexico or chosing between the medications and other necessities of life.

I don't pretend to know the answer. However, I do know, that with the Roberts Court the way that it is currently constituted, it will only get worse.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January 8, 2011. Peter Pan

"Of course there was Old Greggor and his son Young Greggor. Oddly enough, Young Greggor's son was older than Old Greggor. Nobody could figure out how that happened. " Woody Allen, Love and Death

There is supposed to come a time in life where roles between child and parent reverse. The time when the child looks out for the parent.

Due to numerous circumstances, least of which is not my own doing, that event has not completely occurred in my life.

My father died two years ago. My family is convinced, if not for my mother's dedication and diligence, it would have occurred much sooner. Out of respect for my mother, I won't say her age. But, you know my age, so you can calculate the range. She looks and acts 20 years younger.

Mom lives in a wonderful apartment in Manhattan. They purchased this about 25 years ago. This location affords her the opportunity to take classes, go to museums, the opera etc...It basically keeps her young.

Regardless of my mother having discovered "the fountain of youth," why am I still playing the role of child?

Is it Parkinson's? To a limited degree, yes. It would be easy to make PD a scapegoat for my shortcomings. To be frank, I never took the role that I should have. I've remained Peter Pan.

I'm lucky, my Peter Pan life style has only affected my ego. It could have been a lot worse.

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 7, 2011. If Doctor Seuss wrote this Blog

Apologies to Dr. Seuss

It was early December
The sky it was pouring
Quite cold He'd remember
Another day boring.

He was reviewing a Contract
and while making an annotation
The hand of Marc, The Attorney
was causing him frustration

His writing was shrinking
Microscopic some say
He hadn't been drinking
It just came out that way

He tried felt and ball point
He found no solution
Was Marc, the Attorney
Stuck with written diminution

Soon he detected
discomfort while driving
His foot was affected
the pleasure depriving

Now his arm remained stagnent
whenever he walked
"See a Doctor," his wife said
He no longer balked

He went to the First Doc
Doctor Howard was he
He conferred with his flock
Howard, Fine and Howard made three.

"We don't know the problem
But here is a pill
Please see the receptionist
she'll give you the bill"

He scoured the phonebook
for a Doctor to see
He'd see a urologist,
who just made him pee

The Doctors repeated
the same mantra they sung
"We don't take your insurance.
I hope it's cash that you brung."

About to quit searching
He scoured the nation
He found the one doctor
to ease his frustration.

"You have PD.' he said
"Please take this bill.
Now see the Receptionist
She'll give you my bill"

You've now heard his story
and if you hadn't guessed
the tale is about me
I'm the one so blessed.

Despite all the runaround
the Doctors and Nurses,
I remain optimistic
you'll not hear me curses.

For Depression I found
just wasted my time
I'm done with this tale
I can no longer rhyme.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 6, 2011. Give me some of that old time Religion

I gather many people contract an illness and find God. Well unless he or she are on the E Train, there is little hope of that for me.

It's not that I don't believe. It's that I don't know.

I certainly don't believe in the vengeful God espoused in the First Testament and by such self appointed leaders as Robertson and Falwell. I also don't believe in a God that only looks after those who repeat the same empty words each day and night.

Don't get me wrong. I am Jewish and proud of it. That is my heritage. It has taught me respect of others, to honor family and how to tell a joke, among other things. By the way it also makes a great hot dog.

I also respect and envy those people who are truly religious. I'm not talking about those fakes who claim that they speak for God, and all those who dare to have an original thought be damned. I'm talking about those who are accepting and respectful of others.

I remember in Hebrew School, if someone was out of line, it wasn't unusual for the Rabbis to take a belt to him. We weren't even 13 yet. These people belonged in jail not in front of the Torah.

I have no problem with people who speak to God. I have no problem with people who think God speaks to them. My problem lies in those who think that God speaks through them. That illusion has done more damage through history than anything other than the tea party movement.

So you'll never catch me in a healing service. But, if the opportunity presents itself like Koufax and Greenberg before me, out of respect, I won't play in a World Series game that falls on Yom Kippur.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 5, 2011 The Caretaker

I think that this whole process my be tougher on the caretaker than on the inflicted. I saw this with my parents, when my Dad was ill, and now again with my wife.

The problem has multiple aspects:

1) The inflicted party presumably knows precisely how he feels and what he is capable of doing. The caretaker sees the difference from day to day;

2) The inflicted party doesn't want to constantly think about Parkinson's Disease or whatever ailment affects him. The caretaker has no choice.

3) In many cases the caretaker knows more about the disease than the inflicted party.

Although, I write these almost daily, I don't think of myself as ill. I'm more careful in my day to day activities, but that doesn't mean that I will curtail them. I don't know what the correct answer is 1) Giving in to the challenges and discontinuing some activities that might prove problematical. or 2) Pushing the envelope, regardless of, what I consider to be, the slight chance of problem.

The answer is in a compromise.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 4, 2011. On the Road Again

After a week of working out of home, I finally in an office again today. It's so strange how one's perspective on life changes based upon life changing circumstances.

Six years ago, if asked what I most want in life I would have said 1) A Mallomar, 2) Another championship for the Yankees, 3) A new career. Today although numbers 1 and 2 remain paramount, given the choice I'd either take a new career or be able to continue the one that I have. The important part is remaining vital.

I used to ask my dad when he was in his seventies, when he was going to retire. He'd say maybe next year. I now understand why.

I don't doubt that it is satisfactory for some people to completely retire, but it will never be for me. Just like my father, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I would no longer feel vital.

Keep in mind that the mind has wonderful powers to heal. I don't think that it's going to cure me, but the more that I follow my old routine, or establish a new routine where I feel that I'm not a burden, the disease will progress slower.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3, 2010. Regrets, I've had a Few

There are some rough times. Today until the Medications kicked in, I was struggling. Whenever something like that happens, I feel more mortal.

I'm not in as much of a state of denial as I've claim to be. I've read a good deal about the disease, and I know what it can do.

There are certain things that scare the living daylights out of me. 1) The possibility of ending in an Adult Care facility; 2) Any loss of mental capacity; 3) The Yankees signing Carl Pavano.

There is little that I can do about numbers 1 and 2 except exercise my brain and body. There is nothing I can do about number 3.

When I get these feelings of mortality, I start thinking of regrets that I may have had.

1) I regret most of all not having children. I won't get into that any further at this time.
2) I regret not having purchased Long Term Health Care Insurance. If you are over 40, look into this. A nursing home can cost up to $500.00 a day. Medicaid is available for some, but it is a poverty program. Therefore planning should be done how to best qualify and not deplete all of your assets.
3) I regret not getting Life Insurance. I always figured that I had time and without kids, I didn't really need it. Now it's too late.

There is still some planning that can be done. But for now, what I can do is advise my friends not to make the same mistakes. Go see an Elder Law Attorney. Get your affairs in line. It may not be able to wait for tomorrow.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2, 2011. Angry Young Man

Why are we incensed by the rantings of the less than mentally titanic celebrity? That was not meant critically, my vitriol to those who use their accidental fame to spew hate, is equally baffling.

There have been many such incidents but three in the last decade stand out.

1) The New York Knicks, April 2001. A New York Times writer, Eric Konigsberg, had been attending a bible study run by Charlie Ward of the Knicks. Ward addressing the writer asked, ''Jews are stubborn, E. But tell me, why did they persecute Jesus unless he knew something they didn't want to accept?''

''They had his blood on their hands,'' Ward added.

Allan Houston, then cited a passage in the New Testament: ''Matthew 26, verse 67. Then they spit in Jesus' face and hit him with their fists.''

Ward added: ''There are Christians getting persecuted by Jews every day. There's been books written about this -- people who are raised Jewish and find Christ, and then their parents stop talking to them.''

At the time I shared a Knick season ticket. My friend and I have never attended a game since then.

I'm sure that this bothers the Knicks. After all we split a pretzel and drank one bottle of water each at the game. Now, I'm sure those tickets are used by people who drink a six pack each.

2) The second was Mel Gibson. who during a DUI arrest in 2006 was captured on tape. shouting anti-semitic remarks to a Jewish policeman. I understand that the current issue of GQ, quotes WInona Ryder that Gibson was anti-Semitic and homophobic, but “No one believed me.”

Ryder said that at a Hollywood party 15 years ago, Gibson called Jews “oven dodgers,” referring to the ovens of the Nazi extermination camps—a term she said she had never heard before.

Long after his Anti-Semitic rantings, Gibson was still a regular guest star on Jay Leno. I guess that Jay is more forgiving than I.

3) The third incident, involves Rush Limbaugh and Michael J. Fox. After a series of political ads, in which Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease, and has been a tireless spokesman for others who suffer, supported candidates who favored Stem Cell research. Limbaugh without the benefit of any research said, "He is exaggerating the effects of the disease... He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."

"This is the only time I've ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has," Limbaugh said. "He can barely control himself." Later, still on the air, Limbaugh would apologize.

Why do I care what these people say. Ward and Houston are now ex-athletes. Their statements were made out of stupidity and should be given no credence. Gibson, it seems, may finally be a non issue. Everybody knows he is a bigot. I doubt that he will ever be a success again. Limbaugh is still on the air. Maybe more powerful than ever. He has unexplainable control over the Republican party. This is far from the first or the last time that this man was guilty of irresponsible journalism. This man is the second coming of Father Coughlin.

Somebody will respond to this and say that, "every time you write something negative about him you're giving him what he wants. If we ignore him, we make him less important." Yes and no. Because he has such a large and loud following we must continue to point out every time he makes a bigoted, insensitive or uninformed statement.

I believe in the First Amendment. He can say what he wants. It is also my first Amendment right to say what I want. The only way to shut him up is to show him for the person that he is. Like Father Coughlin before him, we must shut him up. The way to do that is to keep hammering at his lies, until all know him for the person that he is, and his ratings take him off of the air.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1, 2011. The Doctor is In.

Why do I write? Is it because I am going through a midlife crisis, and I can do this without guilt! How can you suffer a midlife crisis at 54? A male with PD is not likely to make it to 108. Calling it a late in life crisis sounds too depressing. So I'll continue my state of denial and call it a midlife crisis. Basically, I write because I can and it's what I've always wanted to do.

Do I think that I'll be published? Well a boy can dream! I've done nothing to further that ambition. Maybe that way I cannot consider myself a failure.

The first thing that I wrote that showed any talent, was a parody in High School called "The Spiro Agnew Show." The basic story line was that Dick Cavatt was replaced for the night by the then Vice President Spiro Agnew. It went over well in front of a bunch of Liberals.

Then as a senior project a good friend and I wrote a book about our High School. Upon recently rereading the book, I found it to be at times very funny, but at times mean spirited. For that reason, it will never see the light of day again. Although we got a fine grade on the project, it was extremely amateurish.

My friend, before he passed, went on to become a writer of some renowned. The fact that we didn't see each other for the last 10 years of his life, will forever haunt me.

I am an Attorney. I hate being an Attorney. I may be the worst Attorney in the world. Then again I may be the best. Why the contradiction, because I am not a prick! To be a great Attorney you may have to be devoid of sympathy, compassion and anything else that separates us from the Republicans. I am not devoid of these characteristics, hence I am also not rich. Oh, I do a good job for my clients, it's just that I fail sometimes to do a good job for myself.

I am a New York, Liberal. As you may have already guessed I grew up in a Woody Allen movie. I am married to a very fine woman, but I don't know if I treat her as well as I should. I am lazy, I've always been lazy. I believe "Don't do today what you can put off until tomorrow." Maybe writing will be cathartic, and I will change.

The combination of laziness and guilt is not good. I still feel bad about not handing in my English essay to Mrs. Feldman 37 years ago. I guess it's time to get over it.

Many questions occur to me. I wonder if I'll be too lazy to continue this blog. I wonder if anyone will care. I wonder if Rodriguez can survive on $275,000,000.00. I wonder who are the 9% who actually approved of Dick Cheney were. He made me long for the days of Spiro Agnew. I wonder if Ann Coulter's parents are embarrassed. I can see them walking around with a fake nose and glasses.

One reason that I write, I sure is for therapy. This is my couch, and you are my therapists. So put up a sign, that says "The Doctor is in." Charge me my nickel and let's go.

January 1, 2011. A New Beginning

No matter how many pieces I write, no matter how much my leg shakes, no matter how stiff I look, I still don't think of myself as at all impaired.

I can't. It's not something that I'm willing to accept or give into.

I resolve for 2011. 1) Not to get a handicapped parking sticker; 2) Not to go on disability; 3) Not to slow down at work, in fact, I resolve to bring the business back to what it was pre-Parkinson's; 4) Not to make excuses why I'm not exercising.

There are certain things that can't be done. The Scarecrow, in the Wizard of Oz will never understand Geometry. (The Scarecrow says, "The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an iscoceles triangle, is equal to the square root of the remaining side." Why is he wrong?) "You can't light a match on a bar of soap." (Stan Laurel) An nobody can explain the virtues of "The English Patient" to me.

This being said, there is no reason to give in to PD. In a year when I revisit this, I will be in a better condition than I am today.

Happy New Year.