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Friday, July 22, 2011

What does Parkinson's Disease feel like?

People often ask me that question and I have thought about it a lot over the years. Probably the easiest to duplicate is the lack of dexterity in my fingers and hand. Want to give it a try? See what it feels like?

Okay, go dig out your winter gloves. Got them? Good. Now, we will set up some tests for you. Grab a deck of cards or a stack of dollar bills. Are you wearing a shirt with buttons? If not, grab one out of the closet. Ready? 

YumaBev trying to button
Put the wrong glove on backwards on your dominant hand. Now, try to deal the cards or count your dollar bills. Having trouble? Now try to button or unbutton those buttons. Fun, isn't it? That's pretty much what my right hand feels like 60% of the time. The other 40% of the time, my meds are operating at their peak, and then it still feels like I have an invisible glove on, just not the wrong one backwards. So, now you can understand why I could no longer work as a bank teller.

There is no pain in my hand or fingers like you get with arthritis. There is no tingling, numbness, loss of strength or feeling. The fingers just won't cooperate with my brain. If I need to open a jar of pickles, the right hand is the one I use, when I can get it to grasp the lid. It makes cutting steak difficult, trying to coordinate both pushing down and moving back and forth.

So, we Parkies adapt. My Wonderful Husband cuts my steak when my fingers won't. I donated all my shirts with buttons to the Salvation Army or now wear them like this. See, I just tie the tails in a knot and skip the buttons. It works for me, and looks fashionable, too.  Plus, it was fun shopping for the right color tank tops to wear under them. 

YumaBev fashion - Parkie style
YumaBev's Parkie fashion

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!


  1. I know exactly how you feel, any kind of buttons give me a fit, so my wife bought me a bunch of shirts with snaps! Tom

  2. Finger food! That's what I always order. Geoff

  3. I also get pain in my hands (not all the time) -- pins and needles, numbness, stabbing...gnawing pain. You're right though, you learn to adapt. Excellent blog! JC

  4. Good explanation. People wonder if I am in pain. I say its absolutely not painful, but it is extraordinarly annoying. What bugs me the most is all the confined spaces I have to get through during the day. Left hand turns are brutal, I have to do a clockwise spin and hope I don't fall over. I am not sure how I ever dealt with so many cramped spaces before without noticing them, or if they are something that has found me and latched on like a tick. B

  5. I have no pain, but I sure do ache. If I don't take a nap in the afternoon, I hurt from my neck to my feet in the evening.

  6. Bev, I hop you don't mind but i shared your post on MagnaReady's Facebook page. We created a product just to combat the buttoning challenge. Your humor is uplighting!

  7. Right on the money!
    Scott B

  8. It's sad that I often do things with my left hand, even though I'm right-handed because it's easier! Parkinson has only affected my right side thus far... Kathy

  9. A very good description of what the "Beast" feels like....thanks so much Bev.

  10. I tried wearing dish washing gloves to type and it is hard. Inverting the hands makes it almost impossible.

  11. I work in engineering (still). Although I am the early stages of Parkinson's, using the computer keyboard (double typing or missing keys, especially with the right hand), and using a mouse is difficult at times. These symptoms are one of the things that got me to talk to my doctor, which lead to my diagnosis. I use a Logitech track ball (thumb ball type) instead of a mouse, but typing is still difficult. Bev, enjoy your blogs, please keep it up and keep smiling!!!

  12. Amazing you have shown our problems so well for others to understand. I've given up crocheting and hand craft work after 50 years. I was an active person in my early 60's until i had 20 falls in seven weeks. I had 7 concussions and was knocked out 5 times before after the 11th trip to the er they decided to admit me. They found 3 small spots where my brain had been bleeding. I had a bloods pressure condition from undiagnosed Parkinson's. I spent 10 weeks learning to write, read, walk,talk,dress, rollover in bed and how to do math and remember things. Then I was sent home to live all alone with my cat and no fresh food. I survived, but it was a tough introduction to Parkinson's. Thankfully it is much more kind now. Some speech problems but my cat doesn't seem to care.

  13. You did such a great job of letting people know first hand what a part of Parkinson's Disease is really like. I am going to buy you book today.