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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


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!