Looking Up to Wayne & Looking Up Parkinson’s

January 3, 2017
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October 26, 2017

Looking Up to Wayne & Looking Up Parkinson’s

We lost one of our own this week. Wayne didn’t die from Parkinson’s. But he did soldier through living with Parkinson’s, which, to me, means he died a war hero.

I didn’t know Wayne well, but I did know two aspects about him. One is that he battled it all and then some, having a variety of medical conditions. The other is that he had a sparkle in his look, as though behind the dusty blue of his eyes was an enormous filter that sifted through the muck for those shiny moments of fun and humor. That quality likely got him through the daily skirmishes with PD.

There are ten million of us worldwide (according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation) who make up the ground troops in combat with rigidity, dystonia, dizziness, dyskinesia, insomnia, meds that sometimes work and sometimes don’t.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness month. So, in addition to the front lines, we’ve added civilian duties to advocate, educate, demonstrate that we can step through doors in more ways than simply placing one foot in front of the other. Sometimes a cane helps, sometimes a walker, sometimes a giant dog.

The dictionary defines awareness as knowledge or understanding of a situation or subject. It doesn’t say that the knowledge needs to come from those already aware. After a decade with this disease, I have to admit to being tired of explaining it. And that’s less than half the time Wayne lived with the sidelong looks, the questioning faces of those wondering about our stumbles, our slurred sentences.

It’s called Parkinson’s. Look it up. Go to the PDF’s web site. Or the Michael J. Fox web site. Or call the American Parkinson Disease Association.

The next time my meds give out in the middle of the produce aisle, I’ll soldier through the stumbles. But not through the stares.

Before the month is over, I just may blurt out a new awareness approach: “Lady with Parkinson’s coming through. Need a wide path. Not sure where my feet will land. Ooh, look, broccoli is on sale.”

And I’ll think of Wayne and hope he has a good laugh.



  1. Carolyn Weaver says:

    Thank you 💜 Selma too🐾

  2. Cindy Bittker says:

    Sadly, there is a lot more understanding now then when I was diagnosed 12 years ago at age 48. Typical conversation then: “I have Parkinsons Disease.” Response: “Oh, that’s like MS?.” Me: “No. It’s like what Michael J. Fox has”

    Real conversations now: To my new pedicure-ist: “I can’t cut my own toenails. Expecting her to look puzzled she said, “My dad was diagnosed 2 weeks ago.”

    Seems everyone knows someone with Parkinsons Disease these days. That wasn’t how any of us hoped to build awareness. But might hasten a Cure.

  3. Mark says:

    Beyond the stares I hate when people ask if I’ve been drinking. Especially at 6:00am.

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