April 7, 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 […]
January 3, 2017

Flu-like

The flu isn’t particular. It didn’t skip me because of the Parkinson’s. Nope, an equal-opportunity virus, it has me lying on the couch coughing up a lung same as anyone else in its path. I could blame holiday travel strain. Or not.  The past week in San Francisco presented a mix of utter delights (restaurants at every turn – Burmese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Californian) and unusually warm and sunny walks (across the Golden Gate Bridge and along Castro Street). Admittedly, there were upended schedules and unpredictable circumstances. But what traveler doesn’t face a few obstacles? The balancing act between being away from home and being on an adventure, I’ve learned, requires  adaptations. To keep the scales tilting toward the joyful, for example, I factor in nap times and often pack my own blanket (my PD gets me tangled up in puffy duvets). Among a litany of modifications, the most helpful has […]
November 16, 2016

Try It

People say and do things in the presence of a service dog that are harmful, even when they often meant no harm. When I post about such encounters, I tend to write them in essay form. If I simply ranted, it would be, to me, like spitting on the page, leaving only a mucous glob for readers to see. Simple narrative seems just that: too simple, especially when the topic at hand isn’t. Essay – which, in French, means to try – gives me the opportunity to rant some but also to explore, maybe educate, and perhaps discover for myself some deeper insight as I write. The essay fails me right now. Try as I do, no aha moment emerges from what came from a recent dinner conversation. Seated at the dinner table, the three of us talked as we ate crockpot chicken and cornbread. A typical evening. Until my […]
October 29, 2016

Ask Not What My Dog Can Do for You

Remember that old cartoon character with a little animated devil whispering snarky remarks into one ear and a tiny angel on the other side saying kind words? I am that character every time I grocery shop. The other day, I backed my cart  and turned, Sir T in step beside me, when the young couple stopped and stared. “Oh, I won’t pet him,” she said, not to me so much as to Thomas, based on the focus of her gaze. The husband locked eyes on him, too, adding, “We love the big dogs.” Devil: “They love dogs? They hovered over him baring their teeth. That’s totally intimidating in doggie world. Did they not see that his tail is completely tucked? And where’s the love in interrupting his work?” Angel: “They meant no harm and were simply being friendly.” I went with the angel and offered a quick smile, which I […]