Monday, April 1, 2013

Parkinson's Disease

For my sixtieth birthday I bought myself a 50cc scooter. An old man's bike, designed for frugal shopping, a pleasant lift to the bottom and back up a steep incline, to and from my mountain home.

I was no longer facing mid-life crisis, when a man wants the mechanical equivalence of an erect penis. At 60 you want efficiency and convenience. A Harley is for the other guy.

Yet, despite my cautious calculations for cost-effective cruising, when I tried to master the foot and hand shifting on this less-than-sexy Super Cub, my motor skills just couldn't cope... creating a comedy of near fatal errors. The new bike remains now covered and unused, a sad testimony to unfulfilled aspirations.

I initially blamed myself for the clumsy motor skills. Yet there were other subtle symptoms, scattered across my physical landscape. Aching muscles, incorrectly diagnosed as 'gojugata' (50 year old shoulder), essential tremor in arm and leg, arthritic-like clamping of the hand, and other demasculating signs too embarrassing to mention.

I was accelerating into old age at an alarming speed, while being told by my doctor, all was in my head. And... in fact,  all was eventually diagnosed so... because that is where Parkinson's lives, sending inappropriate signals throughout.  Tricking my system into right-side tremors and cramping muscle weirdness, idiopathic delirium of my dopamine.

PD is problematic perfection, a brutal daily adjustment from what once was 'normal'. A cesspool of negatives, seeking some optimistic alternative. A spiritual quest, initially for some explanation and eventually for acceptance, a soap opera solution in my own worse case scenario. A way to eliminate all peripheral distraction, drawing focus on some pitiful soppy play for sentiment.

But this isn't bad theatre, this is my life. And I want to choose my conclusions. I never liked teary-eyed  demises. Parkinson's Disease was never in my plans and now it is poisoning all my subplots, ruining my timing for a Grand Finale... forcing some creative swan-song all too soon.

The script sucks, in a bad need for rewrite. I have Parkinson's and I just can't get my head around it. Yet I have no choice. Debilitating diseases wait for no one. Face it first, accelerating the denial stage into some pro-active mind set. Learn how to survive, maybe even flourish. Right now it doesn't feel possible. But I still may surprise myself.

I am more than a bad ending.