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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nontraditional Religion.

I am not a person who considers himself religious in the traditional sense of the word.   As a matter of fact, the last time that I was in temple my mind wandered. I thought to myself, “what would happen if Bruce Springsteen, were in fact Jewish, and was the Cantor?
‘ Jews like us, baby we were born to pray.’”                                                                                

I am so untraditional that I call myself a “Jew for Jeter.”

Knowing this, would you call me a hypocrite, if I say that I feel blessed?

I don’t believe that I’m blessed by God, but if you want to feel that way, I’m not going to argue.

I’ve had a pretty easy, uncomplicated life.  Until recently my toughest decision may have been choosing who not to root for in the 1986 World Series.  I ended up hoping that both teams would somehow be disqualified.    Now, I have real issues to face.

I face a world of uncertainty.    Will this disease continue to progress at a snail’s pace, awarding me the opportunity to make my life productive?

It’s not that I’ve been unproductive, but admittedly, I’ve looked at life from the cheap seats.   Yeah, I’ve been the uninvolved complainer, but besides voting, I’ve never done anything.  When I heard that Hostess was owned by ITT baking, which had something to do with the bombs in Viet Nam, it was too much for me to give up cup cakes.

SO why am I suddenly blessed?  Why have I been given a second chance.   I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!!!   Can I get a Hallelujah?  Alright enough of that crap.

Everybody that I know has been good to me, my family, my friends etc... They don’t treat me as handicapped, they don’t marginalize me, they treat me just as they always have.  I appreciate that.  I have no opportunity to feel sorry for myself.   That would be a waste of time.

I’ve also gotten involved with a group of Parkinson’s advocates.   These people are energized, these people are intelligent, these people are selfless.   Not one of them asks for pity.   Not one of them does less then they did before being diagnosed.  I respect these people.  They’ve taught me so much.

I’m 55 years old.   For some strange reason that is called middle aged.    I’ll accept that lie, because now I have 55 years to pay forward.   They might not find a cure for this insidious disease during my lifetime, but my role is to exert any effort that I can, to help find a cure for future generations.    I do it with pleasure.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury

There are times that I wonder where this shaky journey that I'm on will go.

There are certain facts:  1) You don't die from Parkinson's Disease, 2) On the other hand, you can die from one of the symptoms; 3) There is currently no cure; 4) Everybody dies of something.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, those are the facts.   They are not in dispute.   Now what of the defendant, Marc Sherman, aka Groucho Marc, aka Jello Marx, aka Marc I Am,  aka Oscar Marcinson, has he led an exemplary life?"

"He freely admits to at times in his life having been selfish, sloppy, sarcastic and lazy.  As a matter of fact that is written on his CURRICULUM VITAE (Latin for aren't I a pompous ass?  It would have been just as easy to say Resume). Will this life altering disease change him?"

"So at 55 years old, much closer to the end than the beginning, has the defendant exhibited any remorse?  Constantly.  But what that that mean, words and thought are meaningless with accompanying deeds."

"So, Mr Foreman of the Jury, have you reached a verdict?"

"Yes your honor we have, the defendant has exhibited no propensity to change  so we sentence him to a life sentence with himself."

There is nothing worse than being caught up.

Why is it that at the time of life that you can physically and mentally do practically anything, you're not smart enough to know how? Later in life, when you finally figure it out it's too late. 

I've come to one conclusion. If there is a God, he or she is a practical joker. Who else would create a platypus? 

But if this is a practical joke. I get it. Now can we move on? 

Parkinson's disease is exhausting. I dread sitting down. because of the struggle getting back up. I know what to do. but my body fights me.

The Meds just kicked in. For the next three to four hours, I'm as able as you and you. Maybe more than you. Then, all of a sudden it stops.

The last two weeks have been busy. I'm exhausted, but in a good way. The worst feeling in the world is being caught up. You worry where the next check will come from.

I hope that I never know that feeling again.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I've got good news and bad news.

The one thing that you’re not warned about is the utter exhaustion that simple, everyday tasks cause if you have Parkinson’s disease.      This was probably the busiest week that I’ve had in 4 years.   That’s the good news.   This was probably the busiest week that I’ve had in 4 years.  That’s the bad news.

Monday, I was in Brooklyn by 8:00 AM, and in Syosset, Long Island by 11:30 AM
Tuesday, I was in Centereach, Long Island in the afternoon.   Because I have to take the train, and there are no trains to Centereach, I left in the morning.
Wednesday, I was in Merrick, Long Island all day.
Thursday, I started in Jamaica, Queens at the Surrogate’s court, and then went to Syosset, where I was stood up for on an appointment.
Friday, I was in Brooklyn again at the Surrogate’s Court.

All of these appointments, except Monday morning, I took the subways or railroad.   Monday morning, my wife drove me.

This would have been a hectic week prior to PD, but it wouldn’t have been unusual.

I’m exhausted and exhilarated.

Don’t let anybody tell me that I can’t do something.     The human spirit can overcome a myriad of obstacles.   So I’m tired.  I’ve got the weekend.

The good news is this coming week is also busy.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A dose of Reality

It's been a somewhat frustrating time.   I hate writing about that, but if I'm going to write about Parkinson's you should know that I don't always feel optimistic and I am often frustrated.

I take three different medications for Parkinson's.   The one that I feel is the most effective (and truly I don't know this for a fact)  I take 4 time a  day.  I take it at 6:00 AM, 11:00 AM. 4PM and 10PM.   I can feel the moment that it kicks in.   I can sometime feel the moment that it wears off.

The hour before I take each dose is the most annoying.  I can't keep my foot flat on the ground.   Sitting is terribly uncomfortable.  Standing isn't always practical.

At this moment my fingers are working well.  I'm typing, albeit not the way I was taught, but at an acceptable pace.     At 10:30 AM, if I'm still typing, I will be hitting the wrong letters and typing at a Tortoise pace.

I'm pushing myself to walk.   Averaging 2 miles a day.  Yesterday I did 3 miles.  Sometimes it is difficult.  I try to time the walks so they coincide with the apex of the medication's effectiveness.

As I have previously stated, I don't have a typical Parkinsonian tremor.  My tremor is in my legs.  Mostly my right leg.  When a man, almost 6 foot 3 inches and 240 pounds shakes, so does everybody and everything around him.    I was particularly conscious of this while sitting in classes on Wednesday.     Stopping the tremor for a short period of time is possible, but it is difficult.    

Perhaps the most difficult thing is rising from a chair.    When the pills are working, I have no problem, when they are not, I think that it would be easier to light a match on a bar of soap.  (Stan Laurel said that this was impossible, in response to Oliver Hardy's statement, "Nothing is impossible, Stanley.")

My business has improved.   Partially because of the economy.  Partially because I've got this thing in me that says I should never give in.

People have asked if I'm thinking about going on disability.  Not a chance.    I may not love what I do, but it is mine, and for me, quitting is not an option.

So it leaves me just where it always has.  I'll continue to believe that in the realm of things, that I have it pretty good, laugh about what i'm going through and remain happy.  

Some people find this inappropriate behavior.  It's the only way that I know how to cope.