The other day a friend who also has Parkinson’s disease (PD) put up a post (that I’m fairly certain stemmed from her personal experience of how people react/relate to her in her dealings with ‘our’ disease) on Faebook.
She said having PD changes her personality, her thinking, and her decision-making skills. She said she liked her old personality. How true this statement is for people having to deal with this little monster. Yes indeed, we would love to have our ‘old’ personalities back, for sure.
She said that hEric PD causes anxiety and depression. I can whole-heartedly relate to this statement.
She said that she appreciates the kindness of others when they hear things that should be obvious [and understandable] come out of her mouth. She appreciates their kindness when they see her do things that may seem dumb, say something backwards, or not know how to answer a sincere, “How are you?” Again, I can relate.
For this type of disease – a brain disease – she does ‘one day at a time’. It’s a brain disease. Not like the flu where you can hopefully sleep it away. Not like a cold that you might be able to sneeze or cough it away. It is a disease of the brain which is intolerable often, undeniably unpredictable at times, greatly misunderstood, and sadly – incurable. It is no secret that the public, by and large, is uneducated, misinformed, and unknowledgeable about Parkinson’s disease.
If you asked someone what Parkinson’s disease is, most people would say, “Isn’t that where you shake a lot – like Michael J. Fox?”
Yes. And no.
Some shake (with tremors) and some (although much lower in number) do not shake at all. Some shake (like Michael J. Fox has been seen to do) on a greater scale, some much less. But it doesn’t start or stop there. There are many more symptoms a person with PD deals with. Visible and many more that are invisible.
Along with the things my friend mentions, you can experience some level of forgetfulness and confusion, as eluded to by her comment in regards to needing help with her DVD player. Now, given that DVD players are naturally frustrating (for me, at least), add that confusion to a person with Parkinson’s disease and you have a major melt-down about to occur, especially if that aforementioned person, with the aforementioned forthcoming possible melt-down has missed one or more of their much needed anti-depressant drug. This can only serve to intensify the forgetfulness and confusion.
I know about this – the forgetfulness and the confusion – because I know this: Parkinson’s disease. As my friend said in her post, “I can’t even work my DVD and my son put on labels with arrows to show me how.”
Her son “put[s] on labels with arrows to show [her] how to” work her DVD. I’m afraid labels wouldn’t be enough for me. I need a full-time techie to serve in that area.
But the arrows – I can follow arrows. I’m really good at following arrows and when my friend wrote that her son labels her DVD player not just with’labels’ but arrows, I had an epiphany…
God has a set of arrows for each one of us. He marks our path, whether we would choose that path or not, with His arrows. And the path marked with the arrows of God are arrows that are leading us out of this world. The paths we are on are leading us home. To a better place. The paths are not marked with maps that remind us of navigating a DVD player, but they are marked with arrows that are easy to follow and as long as we follow them and do not turn to the left or to the right, make a U-Turn or plant ourselves in the middle of the road out of defiance, we are going to male it home. The One who is ushering us out of this world with endless mercy and unending grace is the same One who is waiting to usher in into eternity. I don’t know about you, but that encourages me and gives me great hope.
All we have to do…
…is follow His arrows.