Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
My friend Pat had been cooped up in her apartment for three months waiting for her fractured hip, groin, and pelvis to heal following a fall. When I finally sprung her for lunch, the taste of freedom went to our heads, and we felt invincible.
Pat suggested we work off our lunch by strolling a nearby mall. I immediately agreed, noting I needed to quickly run into a department store to find a pair of pants, and have them marked for hemming. When was the last time I was able to do anything “quickly?” Who was I fooling? Surely not Pat, who has had Parkinson’s for even longer than I.
From the beginning, I had my doubts that we would make it to the department store at the other end of the mall. We had taken no more than 20 steps inside when the two of us collided with each other, though fortunately without incident. Both Pat with her fashionable hiking stick, and me with my new Tesla of rollator walkers, somehow managed to remain upright, avoiding what I have come to call a “stupidity” fall, caused by not watching where we are walking. We were so excited to be out and about on our own, that our heads were spinning in all directions, taking everything in. To avoid further collisions, Pat started walking ahead, leading the way with her hiking stick. I felt like I was climbing mountains with the Von Trapp family and the mall was “alive with the sound of music.”
Finding my pants was not difficult. In the Parkinson’s world, making a fashion statement is not nearly as important as being comfortable and being able to complete bathroom business quickly when the urge strikes. To this end, dark colored pull up pants without zippers and buttons are always in style.
Pat was insistent on helping me change my clothes, though she was not supposed to be bending yet. I tried to dissuade her, but people with Parkinson’s are determined to help each other, despite the potential danger. All of a sudden Pat started yelling that she was caught on the dressing room wall. How could this be? The smooth dividing panels did not even have any hardware on them.
In actuality, the purse hanging from Pat’s neck was caught underneath the dividing panel. In our rush to free her before she choked or worse yet, fell, we climbed all over each other and my new rollator.
How about if we call it a day, I suggested, while the saleswoman rang me up. Pat quickly agreed. Recognizing that we had come too close to the edge, we both admitted that “shop till we drop” is not a good mantra for us, as this is the likely result of pushing ourselves beyond our limits.
My healthy friends’ take-away from this story is that had Pat removed her purse, our shopping excursion would have been uneventful. That thought never occurred to us. Parkinson’s has wiped out many of our executive thinking skills.
The bottom line is that we still can enjoy shopping; we just have to be smart about how we go about it.