"I've had this feeling lately. One I haven't had in years. That old feeling like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop."
"Michael, you have Parkinson's disease - the other shoe dropped a long time ago." conversation between Michael J. Fox and his therapist Joyce.
Think / Able
Monday, November 14, 2016
Nearly Lost You - 185 things I am thankful for.... (REVISED)
There are times in life where we forget all of the things that once mattered to us, and this slight of our interests and joys leaves us caught up with all of the oppressive feelings that stem from things that we have to do. When every day is just wake up, shower, go to work, come home, unwind, and sleep with time for meals and bathroom breaks, life feels routine and repetitive, and that's never a good thing, especially when you feel yourself saying, "Wasn't I just doing this same thing yesterday?"
I think about this conundrum that is adulting / getting older and realize how much the combination of work, have to accomplish, and Parkinson's concerns eat into my life, and like the Chipmunks movie that my sister told me was actually enjoyable when she watched it with her kids, I'd like some time back in my life to do the kind of things that I want to do instead of the things that I was stuck doing.
So here we are, and it was July 9th before my wife and I were finally finding time to get out in the yard to open up our Siesta and Fiesta Zones. Mind you, the pond with waterfalls (directly in front of it) still isn't up and running, but at least we got to sit in the backyard for a relaxing night with a roaring fire and some lightning bugs popping on and off in the darkness. While I'm not a marshmallow guy, my wife likes them, so she got that in.
Reflecting on that now, it's easy to say that hings like that make me happy, and I need more relaxing times like that. It also helps to have a fire poker!
This is the same way that I feel when I'm contemplating going out hiking. There is the rusty way that I get when I'm trying to get myself moving (and the object at rest doesn't move), and then there's the conundrum of whether to drive somewhere interesting, which inevitably is at least an hour to Duncannon or Port Clinton to hit the Appalachian Trail for views, or to decide if I'd just rather walk the paved rails to trails close to home (also, the only option if I need to be somewhere at a certain time). Then I can just walk out my front door and put 6 miles in over about 2 hours. However, if I want the really good views, that's a 2-3 hour drive. then I have to think about how I'm going to feel driving home, but since this is calling me sooner than later, I'm already getting myself jazzed to go for another walk in the woods. I guess I'll just need some serious metal / rawk music for the way home!
When I think about those views at the good places, I realize I live in the wrong town since all the scenic vistas in Pennsylvania tend to be north, northeast, or northwest from me.
We do have some beautiful farm fields and country in Amish Paradise, Pennsylvania, but we aren't up in Mountain Amish Land. Now that's some big sweeping views (which is why it's called Big Valley!).
There's a lot of really great places up there. One of them is my favorite view in all of Pennsylvania, which is called the Throne Room. I definitely want to go up there before summer's end. There's something about that mostly untouched vision that makes me truly feel at peace in the world. That's why I announced my Parkinson's on video from there.
Another place that I want to go that it's been a while since I walked out on is Spruce Knob, which is an amazing view on the Mid-State Trail (just past Huntingdon, Pennsylvania). There's a little bird watch rock sitting area that kind of camouflages people who sit up there from the elements. Oh, to be back in the cat bird's seat, if I do remember to remind myself how much I missed it.
There's still a feeling in being able to push up mountains, however slowly, and through the trees to arrive at something spectacular, which makes me feel just as alive as I was before my diagnosis (September 27th 2016 was the 90% certain day, and November 1st was 100% certain, barring different autopsy results) and my wife's ACL tear (which started on the other side of those rocks, which was a serious climb and descent before re-stabilizing the makeshift splint).
Those days were a few years ago (her accident was April 11th 2015 - a day after her birthday), but they're not that far away that I don't remember them. Even now, with all of the time that is "scheduled," there is still ability and opportunities to get out and to do and to be, but I just have to make sure I do that. In the days where it all seems so "today is a repeat of yesterday," it feels like it's a million years ago, and we (I, you, us, our friends, our families, our neighbors, our associates, the kid who works in the drive thru window at McDonald's, and my local weather person) can't let it set in or we lose the part of us that is us.
Because when we let it feel like this, it's like we forget to do the things we like because we're so caught up in the "get through it" that we forget to "enjoy the ride." From what the experts in the Happiness Reader that we use for my writing class say, that's the key to happiness. I'll let you know for sure when I figure it out, but I believe it's true, and you can confirm if it is.
Simply put, it's never a bad day to get between the trees somewhere. Sitting here now, waiting for the first few weeks of August to take advantage of this when I have more unlimited "me" time... that's a lot of what keeps me going. They always say that if you know what you want out of it, you can work to achieve things, and I believe that's true of life in general. And it's for the good things and people that I push forward. Whether it's goofing with my godson Dylan (AKA Big D) or having fun weekend getaways with my wife, it's all good. In a forest or a city, all things are possible with the right mindset.
Choose to live life.
I think about this today because I found out that one of my friends, an older guy who just had surgery, is having problems with the healing process, particularly with regard to sleep and medications. It makes me sad because nobody should have to suffer, and I see how much it's cramping his style and making him serious about the complications (older men don't emote their problems enough, so when they do, you know it's something for realsies).
I often hear people talk about health problems and issues with getting used to medicines (isn't that a lot of what we PD people do as well when we support and inform one another), and I can relate because I do, too, but I want to not do that for a second. Instead I'll say something else:
You're awesome and I appreciate you for both the fact that you're a great person and you're taking the time to read my story
With this, for whatever we don't have going for us, we do have a fair bit of good things that we should be thankful for. To illustrate that, I list what I am thankful for.
A note on this, I give this assignment to adult students to spur writing out ideas. I find that it's a very positive experience, if nothing else, for the fact people who do it comment favorably regarding the exercise and they don't groan about it like the larger 6-10 page essays (a walk in the park - my MED thesis was 61!). I don't have any problems getting it in on time either, so that's something.
So if I were to list all of the things I am thankful for, this would be it. What's your top 100?
chance to overcome the obstacles / disabilities in my life and to be a role
model / activist for others.
faith / philosophy in the universe / God
faith / philosophy in myself
marriage to Heather
warm, safe, comfortable and homey house with Heather
love and all the good things it brings
(being able to)
(being able to)
(being able to)
(being able to)
(being able to)
13. Nature to breathe in and rejoice for life in
nephew / godson Big D
extended family to include Heather’s family
friends like Will and Heidi + Pete + Dale + Alina + Steph+Ken+Rhett+Abel