Objects May Appear Closer Than They Are
May 7, 2011
Thread the Needle Pose Modifications
May 16, 2011

Parkinson’s in Translation

In a recent issue of Good Housekeeping, Michael J. Fox answers an interview question about the challenges of living with Parkinson's. He responds that one of the most awkward aspects is that people don't know what to say.Perhaps they don't quite know how to say it.

In a recent issue of Good Housekeeping, Michael J. Fox answers an interview question about the challenges of living with Parkinson’s. He responds that one of the most awkward aspects is that people don’t know what to say.

Perhaps they don’t quite know how to say it. Subtle turns of phrase in one language can have a whole different meaning in another. Common English  terms and word combinations shift from their original definitions when translated into Parkin-speak. While the following list is far from complete, it does contain a variety of everyday phrases along with their interpretations

Listed in alphabetical order, this handy reference guide can be useful for the first-time traveler into the world of Parkinson’s.

Button up
General meaning:
Command to shush;  typically connotes demand to keep quiet about the truth.
Parkin-speak:
Command to grasp  small, round plastic item between stiff fingers and insert it through an equally small hole in the front of a shirt or blouse.

Crawl out of bed
General meaning:
Arise before the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep; walk is a slow shuffle and posture is slumped.
Parkin-speak:
Waken from slumber any number of times throughout the  night with a total of 5 or fewer hours of sleep; wrestle covers from legs and ease down to the floor on bent knees; proceed to move at a forward pace on all fours until reaching a stable base such as a dresser or door jamb from which to use as an aid to pull oneself upright; walk is slow and posture is slumped.

Don’t leave home without it
General meaning:
Remember to bring a perceived-as-necessary item along when away from one’s living quarters; used commercially to refer to said item as a named credit card; by forgetting it, one is unable to shop.
Parkin-speak:
Remember to bring necessary medications along when  away from one’s living quarters; by forgetting it, one is unable to move.

Don’t move
General meaning:
Wait in the current position; be patient.
Parkin-speak:
A condition that overtakes brain messages to the muscles thus blocking the ability to step forward (see Don’t leave home without it, above).

Do you smell something?
General meaning:
An odor, typically unpleasant, is recognized and confirmation is sought; sometimes used subtly as a request to alter the source of the odor, ex: when one parent notices that the baby’s diaper needs changing but may not wish to do the changing.
Parkin-speak:
Question regarding whether an odor exists despite holding source of possible odor  – such as carton of spoiled milk  – in close proximity of the nose.

Jot it down
General meaning:
Write oneself a note as a reminder.
Parkin-speak:
Wrap stiff fingers around a pencil and press it to paper with the intent of shaping legible letters to form a note (see Remind me below).

Keep a stiff upper lip
General meaning:
Try not to let one’s emotions show.
Parkin-speak:
Forget to take one’s medication thereby guaranteeing that lips as well as neck, trunk, and limbs, remain stiff.

Move it or lose it
General meaning:
Exercise regularly to maintain use of certain muscle groups.
Parkin-speak:
Exercise aggressively to maintain use of certain muscle groups.

Remind me
General meaning:
A request to jog one’s memory, especially if one did not jot down the item needing to be recalled.
Parkin-speak:
A request to jog one’s memory, especially after attempting to read what one jotted down.

Run errands
General meaning:
Take some extra time to quickly do outside-the-home activities such as grocery shopping.
Parkin-speak:
Take the afternoon to do one outside-the-house activity such as grocery shopping. (Re “Run” see Move it or lose it/Exercise).

Sweat it out
General meaning:
Hold out for the promise of something better, such as withstanding a painful massage to feel relaxed afterwards.
Parkin-speak:
Sweat. A hot-flash-like experience where one’s body sweats, sometimes profusely, for no apparent reason. One can hold out, as above, until reaching an open window or until the next dose of meds kicks in.

Take a trip
General meaning:
Vacation to a place away from home.
Parkin-speak:
Catch a toe and stumble, oftentimes in the home on the edge of a rug or threshold. Tends to occur when walk is slow and posture is slumped.

Not itemized in the above glossary:
Laughter is the best medicine.
Why? Because along with a touch of truth, I inserted humor into each listing. I do believe that whether I’m in mid-crawl to the bathroom at 3:00 am or sensing a hint of the scent of lilac, the moment offers the opportunity to smile.  Being able to be in the moment, with the moment, allows us all to access the universal language of laughter.

 

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