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Parkinson's Unawareness: It's a Big Job

Wednesday May 15, 2019

 

I’m drooling? Sorry, I was unaware. My bladder is set to code red emergency emptying status? No worries, I’m oblivious to that, too. My sense of smell is shot? No problemo, smelling is overrated.

And so is tasting, which depends on smelling to deliver the sensory goods.

Can’t speak intelligibly? As the saying goes "Better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." But at a more fundamental level, not paying it any mind, anyway. Ability to walk impaired to the point where I freeze and fall? Happily, I’m clueless about that.

Worried over inability to write legibly? No, but even if I were, I can always type. Isn’t my typing plagued with typos, ACCIDENTAL ALL CAPS PASSAGES, and hobbled by slowness? Well, yes, but at least it’s legible.

Not that I notice, mind you. How about muscles knotting painfully with dystonia? I’m utterly unaware of any such thing. Dreaming actively in my sleep, only to wake up to find my long-suffering wife physically restraining me from mistakenly punching her? Let’s forget that, shall we?

Obligated to swallow medication every two hours to keep your symptoms at bay? I give it nary a thought. (Which reminds me, it’s pill time!) Worried about my ability to maintain myself at an acceptable level in the future due to disease progression? Not a bit, thank you.

Afraid I will be unable to obtain my medications due to some intervening disaster or bureaucratic snafu? Perish the thought! What about afraid of losing the ability to pay for my meds? (Those pills aren’t cheap!) Can’t say I am. Unable to play the guitar? As it stands, there is an annoying surplus of guitar players in the world. Do everyone a favor, forget that.

Obliged to exercise like a madman in order to keep the devil, Parkinson's, down in the hole? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Concerned about developing hallucinations? A mere figment of my all-to-vivid imagination, naturally not. Fretting over the possibility of ending up in an assisted living group home? Me? Nah! Haunted by the specter of the sheer number of bucks such care costs? No, no, not at all.

Ashamed at the prospect of having to wear adult diapers? Depends. Hah! Just kidding, no. What, me worry? Quivering with fear about the prospect of dementia? Hell no! Downcast at the idea of inhibited ability to travel? No, and bonus, not worried about jet lag, either. Afraid of being mistaken for a drunk, failing the “walk the line test” and having to protest your innocence to a police patrol officer through slurred speech? No. Why do you ask?

Are you troubled about the fact your driving may be so impaired by Parkinson's that, drunk or sober, you are a menace to your fellow motorists, innocent pedestrians, and even yourself? Who, Me? Don’t be ridiculous. How about vision problems brought on by Parkinson’s? I don’t give it a second thought.

That’s an impressive list of things not to be aware of. That’s why we only have one month for  Parkinson’s Disease Awareness. Parkinson's Unawareness is such a big job, it takes the entire remainder of the year. 

Peter Dunlap-ShohlPeter Dunlap-Shohl
NWPF Blogger

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