Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
According to former First Lady Hillary Clinton, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The same can be said for helping people live well with chronic illness. No medicine on the market can equal the healing power of a network of caring family and friends who are always looking out for us.
My husband, Tony, just naturally assumed the anchor spot on my post-surgical care team, and re-upped for this position following my second total knee replacement, now only10 days off. I say “naturally” because he has been my anchor since we met in college almost 40 years ago. Nothing riles him, which explains his ability to talk me down from my constant state of anxiety. Even when the OxyContin pain medicine had me acting out violent nightmares, Tony was by my side calmly ensuring that I didn’t hurt myself or break anything. When I lost my appetite for even my favorite foods, he brought in everything on my limited menu and cajoled me until my appetite finally returned. His most difficult daily task, however, has been helping me wrestle my compression stockings on to reduce the risk of developing blood clots.
The extraordinary technical skills of the surgeon who performed my minimally invasive knee replacement laid the foundation for a successful outcome, but ultimately depended on my following through with weeks of serious rehab. My staying the course, despite the pain and fatigue, was dependent on my choosing the right physical therapist and having the network of friends and family cheering me on and reminding me that each passing day brings me a step closer to walking pain-free again… a feeling I can hardly remember.
Through good times and bad, happy times and sad, my friends, like my family — both the “temporarily healthy” and those who are chronically ill — and I are there for each other. We don’t wait for an invitation, we just appear bearing casseroles, chocolate, and flowers. One friend obtained a long term loaner wheel chair so I could shop in stores lacking scooters for customer use; and another polished my nails, bare since I had hastily wiped them off for my surgery, only to learn this is no longer necessary and I had wasted a perfectly good manicure.
I am overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I have received from so many people all over the world. Your belief in me gives me the strength to do what I need to do to live well with Parkinson’s disease.