Dear friends and family,
With the big holidays approaching, here is some advice from a person living with Parkinson's Disease to all my friends and family who don't know exactly what I go through each day. Please invite me to join you for whatever you have planned. Don't assume that I won't feel well enough to attend, but please try to understand why I MAY say no.
I have difficulty with fine motor skills, so please stop and think before you ask me to serve liquids or help put away those crystal wine glasses, there is nothing humorous about breaking glass or spilled gravy. I have trouble cutting meat into bite size pieces and maneuvering peas from the plate to my mouth, so I do much better with finger foods and stuff that won't fall off the fork when my hands won't cooperate. I feel uncomfortable eating around strangers, they tend to stare, and I know they can't help it, I find myself staring at people, too.
I really should take my 'dopamine' medicine on an empty stomach. Pretty much my entire daily routine is dictated by taking my medicines.
Here is a sample day:
4:30 am woke up, took empty stomach, first thing of the day meds
6:00 am ate a banana, need the potassium to prevent foot cramps
6:45 am took dopamine medicine, stomach should be empty now
7:30 am ate some crackers, to settle my gurgling stomach
8:30 am walked with neighbor
9:00 am finally eating my breakfast, a big bowl of cereal
12:30 pm ate lunch, which is usually my biggest meal of the day
2:00 pm take dose of dopamine medicine, stomach empty again
3:00 pm took a nap, have been up 11 hours already
6:00 pm ate dinner, which usually consists of a salad and sandwich
9:00 pm ate a snack and another banana
11:00 pm take last dose of dopamine and go to sleep
As you can see, eating a huge meal at 2 pm will just throw my day out of whack, but sometimes I do it anyway.
I can go from "on" (which is when my meds are working their best and I feel my best) to "off" (which means they aren't) in 10 minutes or less. This explains why I walked into the restaurant just fine, but moved slowly going out.
Stress and excitement aggravate my symptoms. Even good stuff, like weddings or other emotional parties can adversely affect me. An argument or shouting will have me shaking from head to toe.
This is why I usually spend the holidays with just my Wonderful Husband. We have a simple meal and a very calm day. It's not that I don't enjoy your company, it's just that I do better in more casual situations with smaller groups of people.
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 Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!