Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
With my first total knee replacement surgery now only two weeks out, I refuse to give an inch to the pain. Limping and icing my way through each day, I am determined to get in all of our favorite summer activities. That’s how my husband, Tony, and I ended up at a large juried art fair last weekend, even though my left leg and knee were swollen and painful before we even left home.
Reality set in quickly, as I hobbled with my walking stick from the parking lot to the center of the outdoor mall where the artists’ tents were set up. Then I saw it… glistening in the distance, like a watering hole in the desert, was a sign for the mall’s concierge office. If life is even remotely fair, they will have scooters and wheelchairs for loan, I thought to myself. Thankfully, they did.
After a brief discussion, Tony and the concierge convinced me that a crowded art fair is not the place to test drive a scooter; especially not when I have an eager “chariot ”driver at my side. Initially, I balked at the idea of having Tony push me around in a wheelchair, which reminded me of the movie, Driving Miss Daisy, but he won me over with the argument that this way, we would get to enjoy the entire art fair.
Communication, patience, and sensitivity are critical to overcoming the challenges of living with chronic illness. Partners need to talk openly about their feelings and concerns. For me, this meant admitting that after almost 38 years of marriage, I do not want my best friend, partner, and lover, to start feeling like my personal aide. The price is too high to pay.
At the end of he day, after having Tony wheel me through the art fair, I no longer felt like I had surrendered to arthritis. In fact, I decided that on this particular day, we had beaten it – and we did so on our own terms. Attitude, perspective, and the support of family and friends have everything to do with how well we live with chronic illness.