To reveal or not to reveal

I wasn’t sure about this post. “Should I publish it or or not?” I asked a couple of dear and very astute friends who often serve as my brain trust when I’m a little uncertain about something I’ve written.

Which of course leads me to ponder: Why the blog? Its initial purpose was my personal amusement and I’m frankly enjoying myself more than I expected to. But as I wrote, I started hearing from people who told me that they not only enjoyed the writing but they also learned something, felt supported, and became part of a community. I don’t know why this was such a surprise to me but it was. A deeply gratifying one.

So if that’s the case – I am here at least in part to help people – why am I hesitating about revealing something very private, knowing that lots of people might benefit from this story, as people tend to do when their own experiences are shared and validated by others in the same about-to-capsize boat.

You might recall my writing about the proclivity for people with Parkinson’s to act out their dreams. Before my diagnosis, I leapt off my bed believing I was Lebron James aiming for the hoop and landing on the floor. In another occurrence I thought I was Olympian Greg Louganis diving into a pool. More recently, I have no idea what I was dreaming about but I awoke on the floor with my ear bruised and a little bit bloody. I must have banged it on the night table as I again flew onto the floor attempting God knows what.

Fast forward to two days ago. I am on Cape Cod in the town of Wellfleet, sharing a beautiful rental home overlooking a salt marsh for the week with some good friends. I don’t remember much about the dream except that I was sitting on a bed upright and had to urinate. In the dream, yellow liquid pooled around me, rising higher and higher like a swollen river post-deluge. I had a vague recollection of the dream but I fell back to sleep quickly.

You can probably guess what’s coming. I’ll just say I acted out the dream and leave it at that. I stripped the bed immediately and collected my sheets along with the mattress pad and sneaked past my chatting friends into the laundry room. I didn’t feel all that concerned about my accident because I knew it had to do with the Parkinson’s and it wasn’t a sign of incontinence or anything else I might dread. So why didn’t I tell my housemates? They’re all good friends of mine. Did I not want to call attention to myself? Did I feel shame despite the knowledge that this wasn’t my fault or a character failing of any kind? And the big question which I ask myself five times a day lately is, should I blog about this or not? And will I go public with other forms of bodily decline as they arise? Is that my calling now? It might not make me feel better but maybe it will help someone else feel less alone with their pain and disabilities.

I discussed my dilemma with a young colleague who advised “Absolutely publish” and went on to inform me about one acquaintance who regularly wet the bed when inebriated and another who often, when drunk (she swears she wasn’t making this up) peed into the refrigerator. She suggested that perhaps there were seasons of life for the absence of bladder control, though I do hope my episode was a one-off and I haven’t entered the Depends season just yet.

I looked up the word dignity in the dictionary; Definition #1): The state of being worthy of honor or respect. Definition #2): A composed or serious manner or style. Having wet the bed, I don’t think my picture will appear in the dictionary to illustrate Definition #2. However, I am no less worthy of respect (Definition #1) for having done so.

So there you have it, folks. I hope those of you who have lost control (and a bit of dignity) of body or mind due to a medical condition feel okay about the times your body betrayed you. It happens to so many of us. Even me.


I love word puzzles. Spelling Bee is my favorite, though it drives me kind of crazy, with the letters swirling around in my brain all day long.

Wordle is another fun one. And for you already-Wordle fans out there, here’s a bit of mockery about Wordle. I found it hilarious.

4 thoughts on “To reveal or not to reveal

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