Friends see us one morning at the gym cruising along on the treadmill. The next afternoon, they might witness us shuffling the aisles of the grocery store barely able to reach for the spaghetti sauce. The “You Look Great” comment morphs into no comment.
Is it possible to describe how days — hours — vary widely when living with Parkinson’s?
Consider making a comparison to a classic board game. The dice, like our meds — can determine so much. Who hasn’t wished for doubles to slip by landing on that hotel on Boardwalk? But, just as passing Go holds no guarantee that we’ll collect our $200 again the next time around, simply getting through today with no “off” time is no sure sign that same will hold true for tomorrow.
On the good rolls, like on good days when symptoms wane, we land on Free Parking and own that hotel on Boardwalk. Others, well, they’re like landing on Chance. We’re either a beauty prize winner or headed for jail, either dancing or heading for a tumble.
If the Monopoly comparison doesn’t work, think Yahtzee. The game is entirely about the dice. Sure, we have control over which combinations we select, but like each new day brings the unknown, so, too with each new toss of the dice. Sometimes it’s a fluid Yahtzee day, sometimes it’s a dyskinetic pair of ones day.
Sorry and Trouble say it all in their names. By design, the more setbacks, the more exciting the game. It can be a challenge — in the game as well as in life — to make it to the safety of home when doing so depends on a number bouncing around in a bubble
Perhaps soon there’ll be no need to compare the finicky action of our meds to a game. In the meantime, if friends don’t understand the shifts that occur throughout our days, give them Clue. Not a clue, the game. Colonel Mustard couldn’t possibly have done it with the candlestick if he had PD. The weight of the brass would have thrown him off balance. Unless, of course, he’d just taken his meds, hadn’t eaten anything with protein, had slept well the night before, had been out on a walk earlier, his body chemistry wasn’t wigging out, and . . .
Here are a few of the many players out there who are there to help us win this game. Please consider joining, donating to and/or participating in research studies at:
American Parkinson Disease Association
Davis Phinney Foundation
Michael J. Fox Foundation
Parkinson Disease Foundation