This week was doctor week. It was supposed to be dentist week, too, but my neurologist appointment ended up starting late when I went to the wrong office and couldn’t find the right office until 45 minutes later so I put off the dentist for a couple more weeks. Besides, I've been tired from long days, today of which was the longest since I was at the wrong doctor's office at 715AM.
Fortunately, I didn't wake up to not get the directions given to me straight for nothing. Here, my doc was kind enough to see me despite me driving all over the office complex area only to find nothing but frustration and stress. A busier, stricter doctor might not have, but Dr. P-V has always been a kind professional, so yeah… I got to see him today and my general practice physician’s assistant the other day.
Currently, with medical standards of health care in limbo with how far Obamacare will be decimated and my life changing to meet my Parkinson's master's demands, it has become necessary to make sure I’m on the up and up, so I went for my annual body tune up physical on Tuesday. The main concerns coming out of it for me are high cholesterol (still high, but not as bad), thyroid issues (need some adjustment, but closer to good), and following up on my 2004 colonoscopy. For those of you young people snickering, this becomes a regular thing 10 years earlier than your first relative who had colon cancer or polyps had one or around the age of 40.
For me, the first time that I got the big metal hoop a joop up my butt was in 2004 for a serious hemorrhoid issue like something out of Alien, which would have made George Brett grimace in pain. I thought it might be pressure relieving for all people involved for me to do the Cartman voice ("Okay!! That does it! Why is it that everything today has involved things either going in or coming out of MY ASS?!"), but in this, I would have been mistaken.
Maybe they get Cartman voice several times a day, every day.
My issues were most likely from lack of fiber in my diet, which can be attributed to not liking a lot of vegetables and eating too much fast food, so it was a wake-up call for me to make some dietary changes in my life. Two of these in particular led to me being way heavier than my younger self. The first was late night food gouging at TGI Fridays. I had stopped doing that weekly visit I made with random friends years before, but I still have the weight around my waist to prove that I once did.
The second of these was my Coca Cola habit, which saw me drink 6-8 cans of nasty syrup a day, every day. When the doc found that out, he was definitely not impressed. I was immediately ordered to stop consuming Coke like the recipe was going to change again, so I gave up caffeine on the spot, drinking the last little bit of iced tea I had left, and then I popped some Tylenol that day and the next, and I never looked back on soda again. I did resume iced tea, especially the raspberry stuff, in 2011 during the early days of my Parkinson’s symptoms (when they weren’t known) to combat the blah time I was otherwise having with my life in disarray.
By the way, I never did have headache problems, if you're wondering.
As a result of the decision to bring this up, I currently am waiting for a referral call back to get my next colonoscopy scheduled. If you're so inclined, I'll post pictures if you'd like to see my innards.
If you’ve never been probed by the aliens at the gastroenterology office (actually, mad props to them for doing a job so necessary and so unpopulat), the preparation is to drink a gallon jug of water mixed with something like Dulcolax, and then hang out in the bathroom until nothing comes out but water. It might sound gross, and well, it is, but colon cancer and polyps suck more, so we do what we do as people growing older.
Remember that young people when you get old.
So yes, life changes as we get older, and we change with it. This is the course of life and learning and experience. We do what we are told, or we suffer the consequences. In this same way of changes (my own Tao te Ching), my Parkinson’s life health adjustments aren’t the end of the world. For instance, while I do miss an occasional Yuengling beer now and again, it’s not a big deal. I rarely drank much prior to the November 1st edict, so it wasn't like the wild USAF days. I miss it now and then, but when I think it doesn’t combine well with medicines, I just go on with life. If I need any more help, I think that I would rather be happy and healthy so I just forget about it because I’d rather be on Azilect and Lexopro.
For those who do the Parkinson’s treatment thing, you may be aware that a person with Parkinson’s tends to have anxiety and neurosis related issues as well as varying levels of sadness that go with the brain’s biology in this time of “dealing with it.” I’ve used Lexopro for over 2 years (since before a formal diagnosis), and I can see the difference on and off it. Not everyone does, but I feel generally good on it. All the same Lexopro and Azilect don’t always mix well (though I have had no issues with it and my doc hasn't seen any in the combo I'm on, before or after my taking it with patients he treated). Some of what Azilect offers is the same mental stability protection, so I got permission to cut back from 10 milligrams to 5, and when spring comes, if all is well, I’ll be off it completely. Time will tell starting tomorrow, and I do plan to watch myself to see how I behave, as I have done. The hermeneutic phenomenologist inside me will assure you of that. Nevertheless, I remain cautiously optimistic.
Other than that, my doctor today talked about the correlation of pesticides and Parkinson’s, which is a really scary thing that makes sense in how the above linked article explains the results and the reasons for the study. This is especially true since the study was peer-reviewed and backed up by evidence that doesn’t include Jenny McCarthy or her ilk’s personal opinion. For this, I am happy that my wife Heather has me switched over to organic food. Ethics may be the privilege of the rich, but in the end, the health choices we make help us not spend our money on doctor’s care or problems later… ideally. Thus, if we need to pay more for better food (in most cases at least twice as much), then so be it.
Currently, my wife has me on probiotics and other supplements like B12, which I am low on according to past lab tests, too. Mind you, this is real B12, not Miguel Tejada B12, so I am on this and Omega 3s, as well as some other things, which come with my doctor’s blessing. I’m not entirely sold on alternative medicines (yes, I've seen that they are unproven in many cases and placebos in others as well as dangerous in some cases), but in this case, I’m listening to the boss. Happy wife, happy life.
A game plan of some sort can't hurt.
However, my visits weren’t all about my medicines and the procedure I need to take. Perhaps most importantly and as we did suspect, my wife and I did find out that my right hand is now tremoring slightly, too. This is something I was feeling more than seeing, so it comes with little fanfare or worry. The left hand and left foot were 3 years apart in their start times, and well, now it’s another 3 to the right hand, so at this rate, the right foot will be going by 2019/2020 time frame. Until that time, there’s nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.
For all the time worrying about when we’re going to be too shaky to drive, walk, work, or do whatever, we could end up getting squashed by Godzilla’s foot when he comes ashore and smashes through the city well before then. Nothing is certain or guaranteed. Even the predictions of ground hogs and cabinet posts of Trump may go different ways than predicted, so it’s best to let life play out as we enjoy it while we can.
Nevertheless, we can prepare and learn happiness. We can train to be better people. This is something I work on often, and I feel that it makes sense to have heroes, role models, and wise words. Here, it doesn’t matter if they come from the Bible or Michael Jordan; the key is to know that we are training to be better people for today and tomorrow, whether the rains come or not.
For this, I was happy to hear about some of the options that are out there for keeping people with Parkinson’s, especially us early onset types, loose and healthy and happy. From tai chi to swimming to meetings, there were so many good choices, which works in my favor since my Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday nights are filled with work.
So now, I walk across another bridge, and I stand in a new land, which is not too different from the old places, but I and those who love me still believe that good things are to come. To be honest, other than the cramped feeling of my left knuckles, I’m mentally happier than I’ve been in ages. I feel like a better person to myself, those I love, those I am friends with, and those I work with and for. Perhaps, this condition has mellowed me out. Perhaps, it’s all about perspective and how valuable my time feels to make sure that I don’t get consumed in dislike of people or to try harder to help people out. In my views of the world, I think about things in terms of legacy and surviving for future generations. Whether as written philosophy or natural parks, we need to offer the best things to the future in the same way we deserved to be handed a decent present from the past. While the current climate of my country is scary, the temperature around the beaches, mountains, and deserts that I’m dreaming about visiting are quite peaceful indeed.
And for that, I will keep doing what I need to do for me so that I can get too hot in the hot tub for a long time to come. In this, I was handed a “life” sentence with my condition. I was told to get busy living or to deal with rusting in place. I don’t intend to stop believing in this, so I’ll keep spreading my joy to all of you.
Have a great one!