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
Dining in a restaurant with me is always an adventure. No sooner do I sit down than my chair begins backing away from the table without my say so. Propelled by my dyskinesia, it picks up speed the more my body shakes, rattles, and rolls. I am engaged in a constant battle to reach out and pull myself back to my table, until it becomes too much for me and I spin off in my out of control chair. It’s like a seated tug of war game, only instead of pulling against opposite ends of a rope, diners pull on opposite ends of their table. Do not try this on tables set with table cloths, as one strong pull can cause everything – from dishes to glasses – to crash to the floor and break into many dangerously sharp and difficult to see pieces.
I worry that one day I will collide with an unsuspecting wait person carrying a tray piled high with food and not expecting a driverless chair (for all intents and purposes) to dart across their path without so much as a rolling stop. Thankfully, I have avoided committing vehicular homicide, though I have come closer to it than I care to admit. In the interest of public safety, it would be best to ban this game from the Parkinson’s community, along with musical chairs, the hokey pokey, and pin the tail on the donkey.
Much like sleep walking, I don’t even realize it is happening until I see the look of shock and awe in my dining companion’s eyes or I come to a halt at a neighboring table. I try to make my visit seem like everyday meeting and greeting, by asking clever questions like, “How’s the chicken tonight?”
In order to steer clear of tug of war contests, I request “handicapped seating,” up against a wall or window, so I can’t wiggle my way out from behind the table without help. My husband, a home-based inventor, has a more creative answer. He plans to design and market Parkinson’s chocks.