For me, the most shocking aspect of becoming ill is that…it wasn’t supposed to happen! My father lived to be 96 and my mother 90. My dad had experienced several health issues during his long life (tiny stroke at 60, a mild heart attack a few years later, non-fatal case of prostate cancer) and my mom had hardly any health problems till the very end. I’d won the genetic lottery, right? I was destined to be trekking around the world in my eighties and if I thought about aging at all, which I didn’t much, I figured I’d be felled by some cancer at ninety. Whoever runs this show had other plans for me.
If I ever get those cats I’ve been considering, I think I’ll name them “Twitch” and “Tremor.” The twitch is pretty much exactly what you’d expect: an involuntary movement, my leg taking orders from no one but itself with a kick or bend of the ankle. Oddly, it recalls the sensation of my daughter squirming around in my belly. The difference: this hurts. That didn’t.
My Parkinson’s also expresses himself (his pronouns are he/him) every night around 7:00 p.m. with an intense and very unpleasant ache that usually starts around my ankles, and moves up my body, settling in on his final resting place for the night in my hips and my butt. It matters not if I’ve exercised a lot that day or not; I feel as if I’ve climbed Everest every night. I found some relief to counter this annoyance…and you’ll have to wait till my next post to see what it is.
I turned seventy in February, 2021, at which time I’d experienced some symptoms but didn’t yet know what was in store for me. I was expecting to retire around 72, but when I was informed of my condition, and experiencing increasingly disturbing symptoms, I decided to move it up a bit. My last day of work was January 18, 2022.
I was ambivalent about this significant life change. Initially, as I pondered my permanent exit from the workforce, I was convinced I needed a solid plan in place, so that when I awoke that first Monday of my unemployed life, I’d know that I would be at, say, a class on Tuesday, and a volunteer commitment on Thursday.
But with fatigue from medication cramping my style (working at home allowed me to indulge in naps in the afternoon with no one the wiser), I acknowledged that a full lineup of activities might not be the best idea, with the help, nay insistence, of friends who thought I was nuts and strongly encouraged me to go “plan-free.”
Do you remember the famous Twilight Zone episode, in which avid reader Burgess Meredith survives some sort of apocalypse? Alone, he stumbles into the local library, whose books are miraculously intact. He has enough canned food to last a lifetime, surrounded by his precious volumes. The future looks pretty bright…until his glasses fall, shattering their lenses along with his dreams. All those books, and he can’t read a one.
Maybe I should try for a spot as a TV critic. Yeah, I spend a lot of time doing THAT.
I’m the vision-impaired protagonist in that scenario, with the library my retirement, and the shattered glass my shattered retirement hopes. I thought retirement would afford me ample opportunity to do all the things I’d lacked enough time for while employed–more knitting, cooking, writing – favorite hobbies that have waned in recent months due to apathy and fatigue. It’s not that I want to knit. I want to want to knit, but I lack motivation and energy, which is probably related to both the disease and the medication. These conditions may change once my dosage is at optimal levels.
Immune Boosting Ginger Nectar Here’s my cure for the blues and/or illness. I always make this when I have a cold or the flu. It can’t cure Covid, or really anything else, but it may very well help you feel better.
Peel a large hunk of fresh ginger and cut into a couple of big chunks. Put into a pot and pour a couple of cups of water over it, then squeeze in the juice from a lemon. Add some honey and a little bit of cayenne pepper. I sometimes add a few shakes of cinnamon (or a whole stick) for taste and because it’s good for the immune system. Let the whole thing simmer for around 10 minutes. Then get out your favorite mug and allow the potion to soothe your aching bones. At night, I sometimes add a little bourbon, which is very nice.
Do you have a favorite feelgood potion, activity, distraction from your PD? DO SHARE!
Till next time!