I’m not sure how everyone else reacted to the idea of symptoms and the phrase “progressive degenerative neurological disease” after getting officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but my bet is we all did some variation of the WebMD self-diagnosis. I’d pretty much bet money on the over if the betting line was 90%. The Internet is there, and if we use valid and reliable sites with credentials, we can learn a lot about our situation.
No harm, no foul there.
On one hand, this is learning. I, too, learned when Parkinson’s became a part of my life. On the other hand, there is hypochondria, which is inventing symptoms and diseases where there are none. Here, I created worry and fear over things I didn’t have a solid understanding of. Most times, I’m smart enough to back off before I get too deep down the rabbit hole, but I have gone a little far into the cave on other occasions. Hypochondria happens to a lot of us, too, and it is created out of our own anxieties and fears. Many of us have done this, too. My hand is up; I’m guilty. Nevertheless, we have to know when to say when and choose to live life.
Anyway, recently, I have been having trouble getting my key in the front door at night. Jokes out – “I couldn’t find the hole.” I went about 3 nights in a row, trying to get the key in while standing on a dark porch to no luck whatsoever, and by the third night of frustration, I came to realize that things in my life would be making a major change in the form of the hand-eye coordination that I thought I knew being replaced with where life had left me. I took a deep breath and chose not to let it get me down. I’ve been pretty positive lately, so yeah.
Focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t do.
Inevitably, many people with Parkinson’s have trouble with buttons or other daily tasks. We need to make peace with these future losses, but we can’t let them rule our lives. Now how’s that for a conundrum? For me, it was better to focus on my awesome wife instead of this problem, at least late on a Thursday night.
Nevertheless, all things forgotten about come back, and on the next day, I was coming home from being with my wife, and I hit the door first. Unlike the previous nights, it was light out, and I could see where my key was going and think about getting it just right. Thus, I went full speed ahead and went to open the door.
But the key wouldn’t work this time either. I looked at the lock, and I could see the hole. My key was literally in the hole, but I couldn’t make it go in. Yes, you can cue the jokes again, but it wasn’t going in.
That’s when my wife Heather alerted me to the fact she had put a new key on the keychain since she redid the doorknob on the garage at the same time I realized this was a silver key, not a faded American flag one. She’s handy like that. Apparently, she left the key out on the table for me, and I didn’t hear this note since we only see each other most nights around 830 / 9 pm, which is when I get home from my nighttime education job. By that point, I’m tired, which is a nice way of saying I have a real non-Parkinson’s problem that many husbands have. This is called selective listening.
As a result, since I wasn’t doing, she was doing for me. She was solving a problem that I might someday have to deal with since I’m the guy who makes the lawnmower thing happen. Heather is more about the flowers. She does an excellent job with these.
As for me, I now have to take an extra step to make sure that the key that falls into my hand when I move the keychain into the place my mind’s map knows it to be is the right key. If not, I need to replace it…
And not focus on what it might be because there may be a much simpler explanation out there than the one I think it is.