Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thank you, may I have another?

I am facing a buyout at work. There is one head on the chopping block in our little subdivision of the newsroom, and three candidates, two old friends and me. I am in a position to force out one of the old friends with less seniority, but frankly I think it might be pyrrhic treachery, as it will mean more work for those of us left, and for me, less cartooning and more writing. If I go, the sad reality is that they will be able to plug in generic cartoons that come cheap from Outside. If I stay I will have to maintain a pace that will be blistering. This is at odds with Parkinson's, to put it mildly. To paraphrase the immortal Scotty (Who, by the way, had PD) I am not sure I can take warp 8 much longer.

Pam has cleverly been recognized as too important to consider parting with, so if I leave, we will retain insurance. We have savings, last time I checked. And there is about half a year of severance pay available for me. Furthermore, My son's college is free to families making under $75,000 a year. I believe that in 5 years, I will be able to begin collecting retirement.

And I have a shoe card at Skinny Raven with several stamps that will get me well on my way to a free pair of running shoes. And my sense of humor.
I have made no decision yet. Cue The Clash, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" I will keep you posted.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our Next meeting...

Step right up, step right up, suspend your disbelief and hitch up your trousers, it's time for ANOTHER MEETING (Wild applause, whistling, shouts of approval.) The plan is to have nurse practitioner Mo Hillstrand as speaker. The time will be 1:00 on Saturday the 20th.

This was arranged by the folks at APDA so I don't now exactly what Mo plans to tell us but I do know that her practice is the one recently joined by the new neurologist here in town, Dr. Ellison.

Which segues neatly into the following HOT NEWS TIP: This selfsame Dr. Ellison will be the guest on "Line One, Your Health Connection, the local public radio health show. The subject will be Parkinson's Disease. It airs On KSKA fm 91.1 this Monday at 2 in the afternoon and again at 7. You can call in with questions during the two o'clock broadcast. Here is a general description of the show:

Host Dr. Thad Woodard and guests discuss a variety of health-related topics during this LIVE call-in show. Line One features local physicians and national subject experts from the fields of nutrition, childcare, pharmacology, surgery, psychology and more. Callers can talk one-on-one with each week’s guests and even participate online. Listen Mondays at 2:00 p.m. for the live broadcast or catch the rebroadcast at 7:00 p.m.

Your faithful servant,


Monday, September 8, 2008

Patience Pending

We people with Parkinson's are mavericks. We not only march to the beat of a different drummer, sometimes we don't march at all. In fact our theme song should be "I Ain't Marching Anymore" by Phil Ochs. Go with the flow? Not us. No flow, no go.

As members of a culture so manic that it has been forced to slice time into nanoseconds too small for any human to even perceive, we are the dissenting minority. While others multi-task all around us, texting their overfilled to-do lists to their partners while crashing their cars, we struggle to single-task, spending the morning buttoning our shirts or not tying our shoes.

This is role none of us are cut out for these days. Patience cannot be ordered over the Web and then delivered the next day in a brightly-colored Express envelope. Instead, we must learn it. And how do we do that?


Fortunately, we have many opportunities for practice. We spend countless minutes waiting for our meds to kick in. Dopamine brings a rush, but you can't rush dopamine.

Crossing a room can take on the quality of a major expedition, complete with danger. You may be in a hurry, but your feet are on their own schedule, and frankly, they're tired of being ordered around. They will get you there in their own sweet time. Push them too much, and you're going down hard, pal. They'll stick to the floor and you'll topple to their level with a thud that frightens everyone in the vicinity, with the exception of the mutinous extremities themselves. They're already safe on the floor. It won't be them that feels the pain. I don't know a single person with Parkinson's who has injured a foot in a fall.

So you learn not to rush your feet. They have the upper hand.

You want to practice patience? Try removing the cap from the bottle that holds the pills that enable you to take the caps off bottles. Hours of fun. The irony alone will amuse you for eons. Which is how long it will take to get to the pills.

The ultimate exercise for developing patience is the marathon wait for the cure. I remember a friend who bitterly observed that he had been assured that a cure was no more than a decade away. That decade has passed, and so has he. But bitterness sours the present for the sake of an uncertain future. So we need something to do instead of waiting. We have to work in the present to advance the progress toward the day when we can get back in the rat race with everyone else.

I'd love to just stop and smell the flowers, but ever the pranking poltergeist, Parkinson's even takes your sense of smell.