The other day, my friend Jeanette shared a Facebook post stating that having Parkinson’s disease had changed her personality, thinking, and decision-making skills. Having Parkinson’s disease causes her anxiety and depression. And besides, she said, she liked her old personality.
How true this statement is for people having to deal with this little monster! Yes, indeed, we would love to have our “old” personalities back.
Jeanette said that she appreciates the kindness of others when they hear things come out of her mouth that should be obvious and understandable, but aren’t. She appreciates that others, aware of how Parkinson’s can affect someone, choose to overlook her words. She is grateful for their kindness when they see her do things that may seem “dumb” or hear her say something that sounds backward, or on the days when she may not know how to answer a sincere, “How are you?”
Living with this disease, she takes it one day at a time. It’s a brain disease, not like the flu, which one can hopefully sleep away. It’s not like a cold that one might be able to sneeze or cough away. It is a disease of the brain that often is intolerable, at times unpredictable, greatly misunderstood, and sadly, incurable. It is no secret that the public, by and large, is uneducated, misinformed, and unknowledgeable about Parkinson’s disease.
If you ask someone what Parkinson’s disease is, most people would likely say, “Isn’t that where you shake a lot, like Michael J. Fox?”
Yes and no.
Some people with Parkinson’s shake (tremors) and some do not. Some frequently move uncontrollably (like Michael J. Fox has been seen to do), some much less. But it doesn’t start or stop there. There are many more symptoms a person with the disease has to deal with.
Along with the things my friend mentions, people with Parkinson’s can experience some level of forgetfulness and confusion, as alluded to by her comment on Facebook about needing help with her DVD player. DVD players can be frustrating for anyone. Now add to that a person with Parkinson’s disease and it’s the makings of a major meltdown. This is especially true if the aforementioned person with the aforementioned possible meltdown has missed one or more of their much-needed anti-depressant medications. This only begins to intensify the forgetfulness and confusion, not to mention the forthcoming meltdown.
Jeanette’s son “puts on labels with arrows” to show her how to work her DVD player. I’m afraid labels wouldn’t be enough for me. I would need a full-time techie to work for me, should I lose my current personal techie (my husband).
But the arrows. I can follow arrows. I’m really good at following arrows, and when my friend wrote that her son labels her DVD player, not with just “labels,” but arrows, I had an epiphany: God has a set of arrows for each one of us. He marks our path, whether we would choose that path or not, with arrows. And the path marked with the arrows of God are arrows that are leading us out of this world. The paths we are on are leading us home. To a better place. The paths are not marked with arrows that remind us how to navigate a DVD player, but rather easy-to-follow life arrows.
As long as we follow them and don’t turn to the left or to the right, don’t make a sudden U-turn, or plant ourselves in the middle of the road in defiance, we will get home. And the One who ushers us out of this world with endless mercy and unending grace is the same One who waits to usher us into eternity. I don’t know about you, but that encourages me and gives me great hope. All we have to do is follow His arrows.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.