After 20 years of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and 10 years of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery, you wouldn’t think that I would have anything to complain about. I’m embarrassed to admit that sometimes I prefer complaining to counting my blessings.
However, with Thanksgiving approaching in a couple of weeks, it’s important that I get all of the whining and negativity out of my system. I want to feel grateful byThanksgiving.
My primary complaint is related to my shaky right hand. I incorrectly assumed that my level of functioning achieved through DBS would remain the same throughout my life time. Wrong. I think most of my complaints can be attributed to that sneaky PD who keeps on moving and progressing.
Shaking from a hand tremor affects my overall functioning. The tremor is painful and wears me out. I sleep about 10 hours a day in search of some tremor-less, restful sleep.
It is sometimes difficult to get my shaky fork to pick up food from my plate and correctly maneuver it into my mouth, without dropping the food under or on the table or on my clothes. When well-meaning friends ask if I’ve considered purchasing the $300 weighted fork invented by Google for eaters with a tremor, I respond that I don't want to consider it.
A shaky, slow, stiff hand combined with poor fine motor skills results in my handwriting being the worst it has ever been. It takes me forever to address an envelope and to do any handwriting. And trying to take coins or bills out of my wallet with a shaky paw is nearly impossible. Buttoning my shirts is becoming more problematic, and I am now considering a button-free life.
Also, it’s embarrassing to be seen with a tremor while working, dancing and exercising, speaking in public and going out to eat at a restaurant with a friend.
My new neurologist is encouraging me to consider medication adjustments as options for relief of my tremor. This would include the slow introduction of medications one at a time—adding some meds, deleting some meds, and trying different combinations of meds. I am fearful of becoming "spacey” with the change in meds. I’ll ask my husband, Tom, to monitor any signs of “spacey-ness” or “ditzy-ness” coming from me.
So this is what I need to start before Thanksgiving:
- Adhere to the neurologist’s prescriptions for medication adjustments.
- Analyze my whining behavior and attempt to get it out of my system.
- Count my blessings instead of counting my complaints.
- Compare my PD symptoms with those of others with PD. Most likely I would choose my own combination of PD symptoms that I am somewhat comfortable with vs. another person’s strange mix of symptoms.
- If there is something that I don’t like, attempt to change it.
- If I can’t change it, I need to change the way I think about it.
- Don’t dwell on things that I can’t do anything about.
- Seek comfort in the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
And move along, and don’t get stuck in the whining. And have a whine-free Thanksgiving.