I’m packing up a folder full of schedules and notes on all that I plan to partake in at the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) next week. Sir Thomas’s toenails are trimmed (he knows something’s up) and I located and even used the iron before adding a couple of blouses to the suitcase. I can’t help but feel as though I’m off to attend a giant wedding.
Like with a modern event where the bride and groom have shared equally in the planning, patients and practitioners of this event have both contributed to the preparations. And, when guests arrive, we aren’t relegated to sit on one side or another. This multi-day gathering encourages intermingling among all those related to Parkinson’s disease (PD), from individuals living with it to researchers seeking to strike it from our lives. There are speeches, toasts, even dancing, and the fully-stocked program is the buffet table of tasty tidbits to entire entrees, crafted to guarantee that all guests find something to suit their palate.
The union is not that of marriage, the air filled with love and support. It is, however, a coming together of community, with an unmistakable theme of connection. Familiar faces, like old relatives, will be present and there will be hugging – perhaps a bit more careful hugging so as not to set anyone off balance – and catching up. Formal opportunities to share in the best-ofs combine with plenty of space to relax and renew.
When the couple heads off for their new life together, we’ll be wishing that we had new lives, ones without Parkinson’s, in store for us. We’ll be tired and ready to go and hoping we won’t need to attend any more of these affairs. In the meantime, as my friend, Cindy, says, until there’s a cure, there’s community. Until there’s a cure, there are big, fat PD weddings.