Going Green with Parkinson’s Disease

I was in the process of reorganizing my life. You might ask what I’d want to do that for. I should just live for the here. For the now. After all, I do have PD and by the time I actually do get organized, I may have wasted precious time that could have been spent doing something more creative. Like eating chocolate or jumping in puddles with my grandson.

For me, I’m finding that the more organized I become, the better quality of life I am experiencing.

In my endeavors, I have tried to make a resolution to ‘go green’ in my cleaning as much as possible.

I was raised on bleach, Ajax, and ammonia for cleaning around the house. Each year I have gotten a tad bit more aggressive with my cleaning solutions, believing they will ward of infectious and dangerous diseases, illnesses, and cooties. And their potency as the fumes suck up the remainder of my brain cells seems to get stronger as well.

The other day I was washing the shower. I had my trusty supplies. A sponge, my precious bottle of bleach, Pine Sol, and an almost empty bottle of Ajax. I was armed and ready. Now, my neurologist has repeatedly assured me, upon my multiple inquiries, that I did not get Parkinson’s from cleaning the bathroom in this way. I don’t think he knows just what I actually use…

So, I sprayed the shower walls with a bleach and water mixture and then began scrubbing them. Every crevice, every crack, every corner. Clean, clean, clean. My eyes began to water. Then they began to sting. Then they burned and I was practically crying as they were weeping profusely.

Then it hit me.

I can’t smell this stuff.

If you have Parkinson’s disease, you know first hand or are aware that your sense of smell can be affected. Well, here I was cleaning the shower with some majorly high potent cleaning solutions and practically dying and not knowing it.

Needless to say, it actually terrified me. In a good way.

That night I Googled “bleach versus vinegar” and you know what (maybe you do, but I drag my feet when it comes to new things in the cleaning department), bleach is highly over-rated and vinegar is highly under-rated. There is, naturally, a debate between the two being the better cleaner, but the following is what I learned.

After reading up on vinegar, I decided to try a popular solution for cleaning showers that has been circulating as nothing less than a magnificent, miraculous substitute. You use one cup of boiling vinegar and add one cup of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, mixed together in a spray bottle. Spray it on the surface to be cleaned (tiled surfaces, shower doors, etc.). This is where the directions differ. Some say leave it for a half hour and then rinse. Some say to rinse right away. I ran a sponge over the interior of the shower after covering the walls and and then rinsed right away. My shower has never been so squeaky clean and I could breath through the entire process without sticking my nose up to the window screen and gasping for air every thirty seconds and watching brain cells float away as I exhaled.

What’s this got to do with PD? As a person with Parkinson’s disease, you need all the brain power you’ve got. Switch to green cleaning. Also, it’s so much easier on the body and for those who have mobility issues, it’s pure genius to just be able to use a spray bottle and rinse.

What Good Is A Man in Your Bed if He Can’t Remember Anything?

They say laughter is the best medicine. Here are some caregiving stories that I have tweeted a tad (names and such) and are guaranteed to give you some much needed ‘medicine’…

Mary’s mom lived in an assisted care facility where everyone left their doors open 24/7. One man with Alzheimer’s was restless and walked the halls endlessly.

On one visit, Mary’s mother mentioned that the man had tried to crawl into bed with her one night.

Mary asked her mother, “What did you do?!”

She told Mary that he was in the wrong room and he left. Then she added, “What good is a man in your bed if he can’t remember anything?”

*****

Lisa’s mom was about in mid stages of Alzheimer’s, and Lisa could still take her mom for rides in her car.

On one such ride, they were doing work on the road, and a guy was holding a stop sign that he would turn to ‘SLOW’, allowing cars to pass.

When Lisa and her mom were approaching the man with the sign, he had turned the sign to ‘STOP.’  In disgust, her mother stated, “That’s ridiculous!!!

Lisa asked, “Why Mama?”

Her mother replied, “Back in my day, they cemented those signs in the ground! They didn’t have to stand there all day and hold them!”

***

One day, after Susan’s grandmother asked where Grandpa was for the umpteenth time, Susan’s dad teased her grandmother with, “He ran off with a pretty, young blonde.”

The grandmother’s instant response was, “Well, I hope he remembers what they’re for!”

***

Anne once cared for a man who had “sundowners” and he roamed through the house at night in the nude. Anne awoke one night to find him roaming around the house in the nude, except that he was wearing a kitchen apron, complete with a pretty bow he had tied in the back.

She told him he looked cute and when Anne asked him why he put it on, he said, “Because I was cold.”

A Slithering Snake, A Two Year Old, and His Grammy

Today I filled in my little pond. You would think I would have learned my lesson years ago, but no. Not me. And I filled in this pond for the very same reason I filled in my pond 25 years ago when I lived in California. Snakes.

I hate snakes. They slither and they are slimy and sneaky and I don’t care for them one bit. But about a week ago, I forgot about my dislike for snakes. I forgot they get thirsty as they slither along on the rocky pathways of your backyard. And, I forgot they like little bite-size fish.

So, my two year old grandson and his mom and I went to the pet store to buy some little orange goldfish to put in our newly made pond. Because I would do anything that makes my two year old grandson smile. We put them in the water as soon as we got home as the plastic bag they were in was just about to lose its contents from ‘somebody’s’ finger having put three holes in the bag in an attempt to capture and really ‘hold’ the fish.

They all seemed fine in their new home. Until the next morning. There were only 7 out of 8 left. I wrote it off to two-year-old induced traumatic circumstances. By the end of the first week, there was one left and on that day – today – is when I saw it. The snake. All three plus feet of it slithering from the pond toward the back gate and way too close to my two year old grandson who was trying to figure out how to turn on the sprinkler. I ran and grabbed my grandson as I screamed for my husband to get outside ASAP, no – NOW! As he rounded the corner, I saw he was barefoot and I screeched at him to not come down the stairs. I didn’t care what the neighbors were thinking right about now. My husband was probably wondering how I could all of a sudden be so loud given I have PD. It’s the speech therapy, dear. And the slithering snake.

As soon as I saw my grandson was safe, I went for my shovel. The sharpest one I had. I asked my husband what kind of snake he thought it was, pointing out it had no rattlers but it sure resembled a rattler. I’ve heard that baby rattlers didn’t always have their baby rattles yet, but I was pretty certain it wasn’t a baby considering it was over four feet long.

I ran around the raspberries to get on the other side of the direction he was slithering toward and stopped him as he watched for my next move. I raised the shovel to which he raised his head and stuck his tongue out. Well, no one sticks their tongue out at me and survives. Except my two year old grandson.

I raised the shovel and before that five foot snake could think about what to do, I brought the blade down in back of his head. He kept moving. I was sure I got him but it didn’t seem so, so I worked at it. And I worked at it and I worked at it some more until, despite his wiggling, I was certain he had met his demise via my dull bladed shovel. I met my fear in the form of a six foot snake and walked away victorious, my grandson safe.

As I sat thinking about this event, a light went on in my little dopamine deprived brain. Could it be that God loves us like a Grammy loves her two year old grandson? That He will do anything and risk life and limb to rid backyards of sly, sneaky enemies, such as seven feet snakes, just because He loves us that much? Silly, I know. But the part that really hit me was when I was attempting to rid the backyard of potential danger against my grandson and the more it wriggled and hissed, the more determined I was to make sure that eight foot python would not return. And that is exactly what God does. He will not stop until we all realize only He is God. Only He can rid the world of the sneaky, lying, slithering serpents that would love to devour us. But it’s our choice whether to believe He will, and then let Him handle the battle.

I don’t know about you but I have fought enough seven foot snakes to last my lifetime. But, I’d do it again if it meant keeping my grandson safe.

In a heart beat.