Tag Archives: humor

Lessons from A Fall

Copyright 2012 by Sherri Woodbridge
Copyright 2012 by Sherri Woodbridge

today.

hot.

chances of no rain.

no breeze.

just hot.

but a beautiful day.

 

so i decided to wash down the house.

rid the structure of black widows that seemed to be crawling into every crack.

every crevice.

every hole.

every opening.

everywhere.

 

did i mention i hate underwire bras?

yes.

that’s important to know.

i only have one.

because it’s still decent

too decent to not feel guilty of discarding.

and today, i was wearing just that one.

that’s important to know.

 

i sprayed the sides of the structure.

the windows.

the overhangs.

 

i killed one.

two.

three.

four.

five black widows as big as my pinky.

 

i felt like the exterminator in Aracnophobia

and watched them sizzle against the wood

in the 105 degree sun

while spraying them with poison.

 

it was spine chilling.

but i did it.

 

and then it was time to move hose,

from the back.

to the front.

 

as i stood up

after bending over to unhook the hose

from the faucet,

it happened.

 

i fell.

i took three steps forward –

and i fell.

 

and i was reminded of the little teapot

who was short and stout

who was tipped out and poured out

and i felt just like her –

short and stout,

tipped and toppled over

and poured out all over the cement driveway.

 

and the broom stick i was holding,

instead of bracing me and giving me support,

toppled with me

and jabbed into my left breast

and the only thing one can think of

when confronted in such a situation is

“did anyone see me?”

 

with pride intact,

i slowly stood

surprising myself

with the lack of tears

and carried on

with the task at hand.

 

and as i began to spray again

i rubbed the sore spot,

quite certain

i at least badly bruised,

if not cracked, the rib

in the spot aforementioned.

 

as i rubbed it,

i noticed the wire in my brazier

was badly bent

where the broomstick handle had hit.

 

i changed from my pest control uniform

into my S.W.A.T. team member uniform,

for at that moment i felt like one

who had been shot

and saved by the bullet proof vest –

(in my case the brazier)

i had been wearing.

 

instead of hating that underwire bra

i suddenly was oh so thankful for it –

after all, it saved my life

(at least my breast).

 

so how does this have anything to do with Parkinson’s disease?

 

ladies, it may be safer to wear underwire bras.

at least if your carrying a broom stick

while hunting for black widows.

 

it’s been tested.

and they work.

i have the ‘v’ shaped wire to prove it.

8 Things Caregivers Need

I remember not long ago a man confided in me that his wife had left him. He had Parkinson’s disease. Thirty years of marriage. Now, I’m not saying she left because he had PD, but whatever the reason(s), she left. You could say, just when he needed her most.

It’s not uncommon at all for spouses to decide to leave when the other one gets sick (so much for “in sickness and in health”). I think it could be a matter of ‘having it up to here‘ and then finding out the one you’ve ‘put up with‘ for ever so long now has a condition that will not only made their life more difficult, but the caregiver’s life as well.

Parkinson’s does that to a married couple. To a father-son relationship. To the bonds between mother and daughter. To friends. It comes in and subtlety takes away the ties which once bound these relationships together by a tight knot. What may have been a relationship tied together like loose shoe laces, is now dangling by a thread, if not completely torn apart already.

The PD patient changes. They are physically familiar, but mentally, emotionally – they’re not the same and the caregiver is left struggling with how to deal with their new lot in life – taking care of someone else while taking care of themselves.

If you are a caregiver to anyone, first of all, thank you for your commitment and sacrifice. You might get hit, have to change yet another big girl or boy diaper, clean up another spill, wash another naked body, but we – your charges – appreciate you more than we might be able to say or show..

And now, here are eight little things you can do as a caregiver to, hopefully, make your role a little bit easier….

  • Breathe deeply and when you get one free minute (or two), please do one thing  (or two) that puts a smile on your face. Go out to the garden and breathe in the fragrance of a rose. Put on encouraging music. Read a short devotional. Fix a cup of tea.  And then scream.
  • Don’t focus on the what-ifs. They’ll defeat you most every time. Do focus on now. Things may seem like a tremendous struggle at the moment, but you have to admit that things really could be worse. Today is just one of the harder days, but when the clock strikes twelve, it’s a new day and something wonderful could be ahead that may just make it easier (the patent may turn into a pumpkin!). Don’t lose hope.
  • If you don’t have one already (and most likely what you’re going through is causing you to find one), get a sense of humor. Without one, you’ll often despair. Find something funny in every day. If there really isn’t anything you can find, read or watch something funny. You need to laugh.

  • Get yourself into a support group locally or online. You may not think you need it yet (or ever), but you do. Especially as the road becomes bumpier. And it will get bumpier. Get some support in place now, as it will make things easier to deal with later.
  • You need your friends. Don’t alienate them by thinking “you’ve got this“. Accept their invitation of help. Accept their giving you an hour off, washing the dishes, picking up some groceries, dropping the kids off at practice, cooking your family a meal. Give yourself some slack and let your friends feel needed, because if they are offering to help before you have even asked, they may be able to see your need better than you do.
  • Try to think ahead. Your loved one’s mental faculties may not be so great anymore. A daily schedule may be useful with a reminder for doctor appointments, visitors, special occasions, etc. They have white boards that have permanent monthly calendars that you can easily change for each different month and activities. This reduces stress in many ways  – for everyone.

  • Don’t beat yourself up. There will be good days and bad days. That’s what life is made of, only now your good days and bad days have had a debilitating disease thrown into the mix. You may have more ‘bad’ days now due to your new, unwanted role. And because this is admittedly, an unwanted role, you hate it. You loathe it. You feel like your life has been stolen along with the one you’re caring for. You have thoughts of packing it in. Giving  up. Throwing in the towel. Leaving the patient to fend for him/herself and walking away. You’re tired, weary, spent, worn out. You want it to end and you feel guilty for thinking and feeling the way you do.  And it’s okay. It’s normal. Your caring for the one you’re grieving over while you’re grieving over what you’ve both lost already and could very well lose still. It’s okay to be frustrated, to go outside for a reprieve and scream. It’s okay to let the tears flow. Just remember: the one you love is in this fight with you, not against you. They are just not able to fight as they once did. Try to remember them as who they were 10, 15, 20 years ago when you laughed together and went for walks together and… you know, those things.
  • Try to remember… if your loved one could get out and mow the lawn again, he’d do it in a heartbeat – if he could. If the wife you care for could brush her own teeth and tie her own shoes, you’d both be ecstatic that you weren’t needed for that anymore. Whatever you’re losing, they are losing as well and have been internally dreading these days coming with a vengeance. If they could, they’d take this bitter cup from you faster than you think.  And remember, the cup will be dry one day, so enjoy it now while there is still some juice left – even if at times it may be sour.

We don’t mean to be a pain. Trust me. I know.

This Is Parkinson’s

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my knees are shakin’
it’s not from being nervous
this is parkinson’s

stiff muscles abound
throughout my aching body
this is parkinson’s

lips quiver, teeth click
smile turns into a frown
this is parkinson’s

toes and fingers bend
involuntarily ‘cuz
this is parkinson’s

legs, arms, sides, back and
stomach seize up in great pain
this is parkinson’s

voice falters and fades
i shout and they yell ‘speak up’
this is parkinson’s

i choke on my food
swallowing becomes harder
this is parkinson’s

tripping and falling
walking like a cute penguin
‘cuz of parkinson’s

writing becomes hard
what once was legible is
now parkinson’s scratch

depression and some
forgetfulness issues are
because of it too

the little monster
is to blame
for most all of
that is wrong with me

the good and the bad
and the happy and the sad
a blessing, a curse

badly plugged poop stools
(to make it fit this haiku)…
due to parkinson’s

with one side I am
almost free and with the other
i am bound in chains

to a disease they –
I – we – all call parkinson’s
‘cuz that’s what it is

confusion and a
thing called forgetfulness could
be the… i forget

greater now is the
understanding, compassion,
‘cuz of parkinson’s

confusion, and some
irritability are
blamed on parkinson’s

and why not? if i
must bare this crazy disease
i ask you – why not?

why not blame it for
being snappy and silly
and for all things else

like running into
walls and tripping over chairs
and things of that kind?

why not blame it for
everything in life gone wrong?
seems fair to me, huh?

it took from my life
what wasn’t its to take and…
it just keeps taking

but am i angry?
no – i hold no grudges on
things i cannot see

and though i can see
God in this world around me
i aim no blame at Him

i do not see Him
in this hideous disease
but because of it

i see Him because
of His comfort and His care
and the way He loves

with His strong arms and
His great, matchless mercy and
never ending grace

He is in the all
His faithfulness trustworthy
with hope i endure

it may be ‘cuz of
parkinson’s
that i suffer
or maybe it’s not

but this i do know…
it’s because of God i live
joy unspeakable

GOING FOR THE CHOCOLATE

I am part of an internet support group. The question was posed on the discussion board: “I was wondering if craving sweets is an unusual symptom of Parkinson’s Disease. I am still trying to get acquainted with the ever transforming symptoms of the problem.”

The following replies were posted: “I just got back from the store with a gallon of ice cream, a package of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, a chocolate pie and 3 bottles of Magic Shell… so I would have to say yes to your question.”

That reply was followed by another: “Let’s see- 3 bags of chocolate covered raisins, a big dark chocolate bar, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate covered donuts…”

The honest to goodness truth of the matter is, Parkinson’s disease takes a lot from a person. It takes your independence, for one. It takes the spring in your step for another and leaves you with an awkward shuffle instead. It takes the swing in your arm and leaves it motionless. It takes a happy mood and leaves you snappy and swift to bite back. And it takes your sense of smell and leaves you thankful you can no longer smell certain odors. However, while it can and often does take away your sense of taste, that leaves you with a greater sweet tooth.

Now, one can grumble against such losses and complain to those who will stop to listen, but you’ve gotta admit– this is a priceless gift, however expensive this one, wonderful luxury may turn into.

Who could ever imagine such an extraordinary blessing? We don’t need excuses or reasons stretched far and wide, stuffed with lies in order to engage in such a once formidable past time such as sitting by the pool side and eating decadent See’s Candies milk chocolate covered Bordeux’s, sprinkled with chocolate jimmies, washed down smoothly with an iced-cold Starbuck’s chocolate mocha. We need no excuse! We have Parkinson’s disease. And I say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Take advantage of each and every blessing it affords you. You’ve gotta start somewhere. Go for the chocolate.

Random Health Facts

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I can’t remember where I  saw this compilation of health facts, but I thought they were kinda interesting. And as an added bonus, I’ve included my helpful advice.

  • When you walk uphill, the level of harmful fats in the bloodstream goes down. When you walk downhill, blood sugar levels are reduced. Alter your patterns of exercise depending on your health needs! My suggestion: Walk down the hill you walked up or walk up the hill you walked down!
  • If you take chewable Vitamin C tablets, make sure you brush your teeth afterwards, or at least rinse your mouth out. The tablets make your mouth acidic enough to start dissolving tooth enamel.  My suggestion: Drink lots of orange juice. Then you get the vitamin C while you rinse your mouth. 
  • Licking a wound actually does promote healing. Saliva helps disinfect wounds and kills bacteria. My suggestion: I really don’t promote licking your wounds. At least not in public.
  • Even though the average life expectancy in Japan, France and other countries is longer than the United States, if you reach age 80, statistically you have a greater chance of living longer in the United States. My suggestion: Be thankful if you make it to 80.
  • Do you know why eyes often turn red in a photograph? Blood. Really. The little black dot in the middle of your eye is not black. It’s clear. It only looks black because there’s no light coming from behind it for illumination. However, when a flash goes off, the light enters the eye and reflects off of what it finds. It finds blood vessels, blood is red, and that’s what reflects. My suggestion:  For your next family portrait, if you wish to minimize that ‘red-eye’ effect that can often occur, have everyone wear sunglasses.
  • Alcohol can be a double whammy for hip fractures in older people; not only does excessive drinking increase the risk of falls, but it also decreases bone density. My suggestion: Don’t drink and move.
  • Chocolate may be a more effective cough remedy than cough medicine, according to a study at Imperial College London. My suggestion: Because most people cough at least once during the day, whether due to a tickle in their throat, choking, a virus, etc., be sure to eat chocolate each day, several times a day.
  • Though it has lots of calcium, yogurt contains no vitamin D. Milk is fortified with D, and is the major dietary source of it, but the milk that yogurt is made from isn’t fortified. Vitamin D helps the body utilize calcium and build bone. My suggestion: Drink more milk. Add chocolate syrup so you don’t choke while guzzling it down (refer to prior health fact for clarification). Adding Oreos to the mix will increase the benefits.
  • Both green and black tea have enough flouride to fight tooth decay. Some studies show that tea, if you drink it daily over a lifetime, may also prevent heart disease and cancer. My suggestion: Make sure to start your youngsters early on learning to have their spot of tea in the afternoon. Don’t forget the scones.
  • To choose the best oranges, make sure it feels heavy for its size. That usually means more juice and more flavor. My suggestion: If you’ve decided to heed this navel advice, wear a bib.
  • Ounce for ounce, green peppers have three times more Vitamin C than oranges. My suggestion: Puree the green peppers to make pepper juice. Much like orange juice but green and much thicker, and – it will give you your needed Vitamin C while rinsing your mouth to prevent losing enamel. 
Journeying with you – 

Sherri
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