The Lost Month

What do Seth Rogen and I have in common?

  1. We’re both human.
  2. We’re both Jewish.
  3. We’ve both been high for much of the time. Or in some cases, ALL of the time.  But I’m not saying who.  

Okay, time for a digression.   

Unstaged view of my night table during the “Lost Month”

I entered college in the fall of 1969, a peak period for marijuana use.  Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about when I mention towels under the door of your dorm room to contain the aroma of said substance being (unsanitarily!) passed from mouth to mouth by a bunch of not-quite-adults who were indulging in a controlled substance in order to end the war in Vietnam.  We were more afraid of the RA than the cops.  If those inattentive police were paid a bounty for every stoned college kid they turned in, they’d be, maybe not as wealthy as Jeff Bezos, but surely rich enough to buy a ticket on one of his flights.

I was watching something on TV not long ago that took place in the 60’s but was made recently, and one character referred to the substance in question as “weed.”  No! No! and NOOOOO!!!!  I never heard that term until my kids’ teen years (not from them, but you know, in the media they consumed).  

Mostly we called it grass.  Also pot.  And dope.  And that’s all I remember because, as you may have guessed, I was under the influence for much of that era.  

And that’s a lie.   I was an occasional user.   Enjoyed the feeling. Social lubricant for a very shy young woman.   Provided me a VERY thin veneer of cool.  

 Enter into the marijuana glossary the word pothead (sometimes shortened to “head” as in, ‘He’ a real head.’   One could enhance one’s “head” status upon entering one’s 8:00 a.m. history class sporting a forest green fringed suede jacket and declaring “Man, I got so wrecked last night.”  Stoned and high were your other word choices, but I believe that “wrecked” lofted one’s intoxication to a higher plane.  

End of history lesson. 

I had read that a glass of wine might help minimize Parkinson’s symptoms.  I’m not much of a drinker, but figured I had nothing to lose.  What I lost was a couple of drunk hours of my life.  What I didn’t gain was symptom relief.

But there was some evidence that my old buddy pot might do the trick. I trucked on over to my local pot shop (actually, there are three within walking distance of my home), and ordered some of what a former boyfriend used to call “that good, good stuff.” I proceeded to get high for the first time in maybe forty years. Instead of the joint I’d deployed during the college years, I’d purchased a box of gummies, which, to my surprise/chagrin took about two hours to activate. But once the substance kicked in, my symptoms kicked out! The tremors in my left leg diminished significantly and the attendant pain disappeared. An added benefit: I enjoyed a pleasant, if mild high.

I mentioned my use of the formerly illegal substance to my neurologist and she thought it a fine idea, but felt I might do with some expert guidance from a professional.  She referred me to a physician who specializes in prescribing for medicinal usage and so now I had my very own dealer, I mean PotDoc, as he will hereafter be known.  

I started by taking my gummies at night only, not wishing to be impaired during the day when I was working. When my symptoms retreated but didn’t disappear, PotDoc suggested a small dose in the morning, and a larger one around dinner-time.  And I was a little better!  As much as I’d like to be?  No.  I still got those all-over creepy-crawly sensations otherwise known as tremors and muscle tightening, especially in my left leg.   When I first upped the pot dosage, I would float every night into a TV-watching daze, an overall enjoyable  feeling.  But after a few weeks, the gummies didn’t work so well, and I needed more.  Since PotDoc was a bit stinting with his dosages, I consulted an acquaintance who’d become a marijuana consultant.  We practically bought out the dispensary with tinctures, a pipe, a vape pen, some joints, and gummies.  Lots of gummies.

And they worked!  No more pain.  Also no more brain.  I felt as if my head were encased in a pillow.   The cost of a painless life was one in which I spent most of the day in bed  (I had recently retired) watching mindless TV.  Schitt’s Creek was a favorite and I honestly don’t remember what else.  Reading?  Whatever powers of concentration I’d possessed had exited my brain like OJ fleeing the cops.  Knitting?  Out of the question.  Cooking?  Might as well ask me to walk a tightrope.  I lost much of January and February lying semi-comatose in bed.  Good thing I had recently purchased pretty new sheets.

And then my friend marijuana turned on me.  Now, upon ingesting the substance, in whatever form, it was if I’d injected a hot poker into my body.  After about an hour in agony, the pain subsided and relief returned.  But not as much as when I first starting “using.”

Then one morning, I awoke feeling as if I’d risen from the dead.  Sure, I wasn’t pain free, but the discomfort was considerably less than what I’d come to expect.  I tried an experiment: no marijuana all day.  Of course I experienced uncomfortable waves of Parkinson’s symptoms but they were at least somewhat bearable, and certainly preferable to those burning pokers.  It’s been several months since I “got clean” and I have no desire to “use” ever again.  Though, true confession, my “works” (joints, gummies, etc.) remain within reach in my night table drawer.  Because with this disease, you never know.

Note to former boss: I never talked to donors while high.  

Please don’t assume from my experience that bad things will happen if you try marijuana for symptom relief of Parkinson’s, or any other condition. As I’ve been told dozens of times since my diagnosis “If you’ve met one person with Parkinson’s, you’ve met one person with Parkinson’s.” It’s difficult if not impossible to extrapolate from one person’s experience to another’s.  In any case, I’m not a medical professional. Do talk to yours about any treatments you’re considering.

Marijuana is being rigorously studied for use in many illnesses. It may very well be, well, just what the doctor ordered for you. As for my future use, the jury’s still out.

If you have come to rely on any products or tactics to help you feel better, PD-wise, please do share.

And now for some more TV recommendations to keep you smiling and sane.

A Place to Call Home is an Australian, let’s be honest here, soap opera. Set in the years just after World War Two, it features a fractious family that essentially owns the town, a mysterious nurse who shakes things up, a lovelorn young woman, and, well, you get the drift. It’s totally addictive and, with six seasons, should keep you engrossed for quite a while.

I Love This For You features two SNL alumnae, Molly Shannon as the star of a home shopping channel, and Vanessa Bayer as her young acolyte with a secret. It’s lots of fun!

My thoughts are with all of you who are not feeling as well as you’d like to.  I hope you find some relief soon!

Till next time,


12 thoughts on “The Lost Month

  1. Jill Tobak

    Andi, thank you for taking us on this journey with you! Your courage, humor and honesty are what makes you so inspiring. xox Jill


  2. Barbara Landy

    I am enjoying reading your blog. I love that you can be humorous while going through this difficult journey.


    1. Andi

      I’m glad you found the piece worthwhile, Mike. Thanks for writing. If you’re not yet a subscriber I hope you’ll become one. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

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