Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
How long must some of us live with Parkinson’s disease before we accept, that for better or worse, the changes it brings to our lives are here to stay? Oh, I know, we think we have accepted the ways of our new lives, but when tested, we often discover that we give ourselves more credit than we deserve.
Take the day my husband and I went shopping for a kitchen set. We knew what we wanted in terms of size, fabric and price, but had not considered additional features necessitated by advancing Parkinson’s disease. Do the chairs have a stable base? Swivel and rocking chairs can trigger loss of balance and falls. Is the seat firm enough that I don’t end up in a sink hole that I can’t get out of on my own? How easy is it for me to push the chair away from the table on a tile floor?
Then our saleswoman hit a nerve. She looked at me and my walking sticks and asked if I might want to try sitting in a chair with arms. Have you ever found it helpful to get up from the table by pushing off the arms of a chair, she asked me. Ordinarily, I would have been put off by this invasion of my privacy, but I sensed her genuine compassion and empathy. As we each revealed a little bit more of ourselves to the other, I learned that she had been a massage therapist for 20 years, until fibromyalgia forced her to find another career. So many of us struggle to find ways of coming to terms with loss, both big and small, regardless of the cause. Each person we meet along our life journey has something to teach us, another puzzle piece to complete the picture, All we have to do is take the time to listen. I left the furniture store with much more than a new table and chairs.