The Other Side of the Coin

My wife and I went to Menard’s this morning, to pick up a few things for some work needed around the house.  We got there, and as we walked through the parking lot to the store, I noticed a middle aged guy walking with a limp, sliding his right leg along with him as he walked.  Inside the store I noticed another guy, this one with a facial tic that made his head bob and jerk uncontrollably.

Then I noticed another guy, around thirty years old. There was nothing unusual about him, but our eyes met, only for a moment, and I recognized that he was looking at me like I was looking at the other broken people, and I became aware that my rigidity was showing in my walk.

So I’ve joined the corps, the ranks of the broken brigade, the random and anonymous people I’ve so often times noticed in the past. I never imagined that I’d become one of them.

I’m down. I don’t have many days like this, but when I do, they’re a living Hell. I wallow and mope. I am aware of how much my rigid body aches, and the usual coping mechanisms fall short.

On days like today, I tell myself that this wasn’t part of the deal, the aching, the rigidity, the drooling, the losses of balance, the fatigue. I never asked for any of this. All the things I usually tell myself feel like bald faced lies. On better days, I always remind myself that there are any number of people out there who have it a whole lot worse, who’d give anything to trade places with me. But today that argument falls flat, and I can only see myself like I could have been, like I was supposed to be, if not for this fucking disease. The accumulation of things lost becomes overwhelming.

It’s winter and there isn’t a whole lot to do outside. The ground is covered with several inches of snow that drifts up to a couple of feet in some areas, making just walking around the yard a dicey proposition with my impaired sense of balance.  During the weekdays I am alone with my dogs in the house. Cabin fever is definitely setting in.

My fear on days like today is that it’s not me. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the pathetic loser staring back at me. There’s no spark of resistance, no fight in his eyes. This is what scares me the most – that eventually, days like this will become the norm and not the exception, and I’ll have given up, admitting defeat.

But, in the immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara, “tomorrow is another day.” It may sound corny and naïve, but sometimes, corny and naïve are all you’ve got.

8 thoughts on “The Other Side of the Coin

  1. Dave, I certainly am not qualified to give advice, and speaking platitudes at a time like this only makes things feel worse. But I wanted to respond so that you know people care and are hoping all good hopes for you. No, this is not how it was meant to be for you, but for the hand you have been dealt, you are dealing with it as best you can each day. There will be days like this. But I don’t think you will ever give in to defeat. Each day, fight as best you can. Some days are not fighting days, they are resting days, regrouping days, napping days. Don’t let the mirror fool you. You are still you. Maybe a slower, less steady you, but YOU through and through. Thank you for writing this.

    • Thanks for your heart felt response – everything you say is true. The weird thing is that although part of me is embarrassed for making my pity party public, for some reason I feel better having written this. Thanks for understanding.

      • Hey Dave. Because you’re honest, and because you have a very serious challenge, this does not come across as a pity party. It’s good that you wrote this, and that you posted it. Your audience, those who don’t have Parkinson’s and those who do, learn from your writing of your experiences and frustrations.

  2. I agree with monkheart, 100%. You ARE still you, and you are NOT broken. You are fighting a horrible disease, and there will be days you need to step back and regroup. I am, as always, proud of how you’ve been able to face your problems and communicate them to others.

  3. Dave, when you’re beaten up, you’re supposed to feel down. I’d be honored to be invited to your “pity party.” Your trouble is that you keep getting up and sharing with all of us what it is like to be kicked. You make it easier for us to face our own misfortunes when you share yours. It may not heal you to share with us, but it sure does help us to go on. We don’t have the blows to deal with that you do, including to your ego, but we in some small way share yours. Thank you.

  4. I see this Write as win , Dave.
    You staring at the mirror are not a looser.There are times,and there are hard times.
    It is hard time now.
    You are aware.And it is your life.
    Your spirit is far from rigid.

  5. Dave, Sometime the mental battle is as hard or worse then the physical battle. I think overall you handle it great. Being tough is a state of the mind and you are doing well in that department. Don

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