Can I slow down the aging process to ease my way into becoming elderly? Join me on this journey.

I would have made a big mistake if I had stayed at home

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I would have made a major mistake if I had stayed home from our family vacation because of Parkinson's Disease.  A major mistake.  I told my wife Gladys last week that I would slow them down and throw cold water on their ability to have a good time.  I am slow and can get easily exhausted.  My body is becoming more rigid and I talk in hushed tones.  Going to the beach in New Buffalo on the very southwest corner of the state, according to my thinking, could be a major downer.

Boy, was I wrong!  I had my own posse to help me.  At the beach my precocious nine-year old grandson surprised his parents by going to the beach club if they had a chair that would help his grandpa who has PD make it out on the beach.  And, he followed up with the presumptuous question that there would be no charge for that.  "Right?"  The attendant smiled and pulled out what looked like a nice lawn chair with really fat tires.

My son-in-law pushed me over the boardwalk and through the sand leading to the beach.  And my son offered to push me back.

It was non-stop for four days with my daughter and daughter-in-law helping me walk out to a fire pit last night.  And then there was The Church Brewery where my son and son-in-law got them to open a gate granting access to an outside patio where we drank Pontius Pilate craft beer,  a really tasty IPA.

They wanted to make sure that I was included in the family festivity's.  And then there was my wife who has been my major cheerleader throughout this journey.  I had serious problems turning over in bed.  She patiently helped me.

Do I realize how blessed I am?  My family of two kids, their spouses and our six grandkids and, especially my wife are gift straight from God.  They reflect the love of Jesus, especially with me about to become a newly minted 73-year-old.  


Here’s why we decided to move out of our comfort zone as senior citizens

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We did it.  We made a major move as senior citizens to another part of the state.  It’s the second move in two years.  Why did we do it?  Where did we move?

For my wife and I, we did it for several reasons:

  1. Part of our immediate family lives in Dearborn where we purchased a condo.  Our daughter and husband live here.  We live 10 minutes away by car.  They have four kids which means that we will have lots of contact with a major share of our grandkids.  Two of our grandkids live in St. Louis.
  2. We found that a “senior citizen lethargy was setting in where we were getting in a rut.  Change is becoming harder.  My body seemed to rebel at changing even my breakfast habits like eating oatmeal with banana slices for the past twenty years.  We didn’t want the rut to get too deep.
  3. I have Parkinson’s Disease which means that the challenges will get greater.  We were able to purchase a condo that’s centered around one main floor and that has the capacity to accommodate a ramp if the need arises.
  4. But more than anything else, it was being close to family.  We talked it over with our daughter and husband where we laid the cards on the table.  They reacted honestly as we did.  They were enthusiastic.
  5. Medical resources abound here.  It’s the process of finding new physicians that fit my needs and my wife’s as the need arises.  I have a case manager from BCBSM to help me with that.

How do we feel as we settle in to our new home?  Tired.  My wife got stuck with the hard work because of the Parkinson’s.  My balance is off as is my endurance.

However, we are excited.  We know that God is with us and families as we make the transition.

 


MY PARKINSON'S REPORT: I feel tremors inside of my head

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In the almost four months since i've been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, it has been a wild ride.  My gait has changed dramatically with steps requiring me to concentrate on going "heel-toe" for each step.  Not only that.  I now walk with a walking stick that my grandsons seem to enjoy using too.

Besides that I have trouble getting out of bed and have trouble getting off the toilet.  Going up and down steps has become more of a chore, especially the just below the surface feeling that I could lose my balance.

Most recently have been the tremors with my head.  However, my wife-Gladys has watched me carefully and has seen no movement in my head.  Nevertheless, I feel the movement inside my head.  It feels like constant movement, even though it doesn't show.  

Right at this moment it has slowed down, but it can come back at any time.  What does this all mean?  I have no idea.  The way I understand Parkinsons can present itself a variety of ways.

Is this frustrating me?  It could very easily.  So far I've been able to fend off the serious frustration.  It's like having a double-feature playing inside my head while this is happening.

 


Here’s what I like about Dearborn Christian Fellowship:

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I’ve checked in on Swarm five different times at Dearborn Christian Fellowship in the town that made Henry Ford a household name.  I’m now the Swarm mayor which means absolutely nothing.

What impressed me was to make a seeming difference in the lives of people who go to church there, especially the kids who attend like my four grandkids who are active there.  Because of a seeming partnership between  their parents and the church, they know who Jesus is.  Their lives will revolve around that relationship.

I was touched by other things, like:

  • My son-in-law bringing me a cup of hot coffee as the service was beginning without concern that an elder would admonish him about bringing caffeine into the service.
  • Then there was the banner to the right of the pastor giving the sermon.  It was a reminder that “God Fights Our Battles.”  I presume this includes guys like me fighting Parkinson’s Disease.
  • There was the young family sitting behind us who were extraordinarily friendly.  It seemed sincere.

Did I experience the presence of God there?  You bet.  He was there.  I saw him through other people.


I got really pissed off this morning at my Parkinson's Disease

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I allowed myself to really get pissed off, angry and frustrated with my Parkinson's Disease.  It's my voice.  I can't carry-on a conversation with anybody other than myself and that's not been too stellar lately.

I want to be able to talk and hold a conversation with my wife, my kids and my grandkids.  I want to be able to talk over the phone and hold a decent conversation with anybody without getting frustrated about not being able to form my thoughts into clearly understood words.

This morning sitting on the couch as we read our email, Facebook and news stories, I tried to share what I was reading.  But I had trouble getting my voice to carry to the other end of the couch.  That ticked me off.  I could have cussed, cried and complained.

I hadn't yet done my exercises that I learned in speech therapy for Parkinson patients.  I asked my wife to measure me on her decibel meter on her phone.  

When we sat at the kitchen table to do them, I found that I was still totally frustrated.  I tried to flat hand our oak table.

Using my frustration, aka anger, I belted out some of the strongest and clearest voice yet.  I need to be able to box up that frustration and save it for when I want to talk.  I'll try this out when I talk with my friend Ken over the phone at noon when he and I do a Bible study together about Jesus.

I pray that God will give me the power to not let PD become a prison for me.  With his help, I can beat this.  I need my wife and my family to get this done.

I've just added doing a TED talk to my bucket list.