Archive for August, 2011

August 24, 2011

Sink or Swim

A week ago my youngest brother and I were in a boat on Lake Champlain.

I asked my niece, the driver, to slow down and drop us in the middle of the lake. My brother and I could swim ashore. I love the sink or swim mentality. I’ve never been on an Outward Bound excursion, but sometimes I think my life is an Outward Bound adventure. Before we even took a moment to rethink what we were doing and if we could do it, we dove in. The boat sped away.

I love the urgency and immediacy of putting ¬†myself in a pressure cooker and seeing if I can handle it. This is probably why I’m always running late. I love the adrenaline rush of making the train just as it’s about to pull away. (I know, I know, there are many people in my life for whom this style of operating does not work!)

Back on shore, we couldn’t decide how many miles we swam.

Yesterday I signed up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in my office building. I am excited for the fall to start and the kids to get back in school (Kids, how are those summer reading assignments going? Not so good? Get reading!) so I can go back to daily fitness and healthy eating.

Maybe I will actually implement a healthy daily routine and not have to put myself in pressured situations in order to make it to shore.

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August 6, 2011

Doubles with People with Parkinson’s

My nephew, YC, and I played doubles with my husband, C, and his brother, J, who both have Parkinson’s Disease. In their day, the brothers had killer shots. But on this summer sunny Sunday morning, it wasn’t their shots that failed, it was their legs.

J was my partner. He fell several times. Even though he landed face first on the clay court, he usually returned the volley within our opponent’s white lines.

“I’m fine. I’m fine,” J said as he struggled to stand. “Keep playing.”

“The point’s over. We won,” I said. He and C’s shots were still, many times, unreturnable.

I glanced across the net at YC, who is about to be a college Senior. We smiled at each other, asking with our knit eyebrows, “Should we keep playing? Is this crazy?”

Just last summer when playing one of these tennis games with my husband, he fell and we landed in the ER. He had dislocated his pinkie.

from creative commons. Tennis balls on a clay court.

That day, C had said to me, “Just pull my finger. It’ll be fine. Then we can keep playing.”

“No, I won’t,” I said. I have my limits and apparently relocating a dislocated pinkie is one of them.

So I knew that tennis with a Parkinson’s partner was fraught with possible negative consequences. But this summer morning we played on. My nephew and I continued smiling, almost laughing, sympathizing with one another. We were trying to take our cue from each other. But neither of us wanted to call off the game. We all wanted to keep playing, to stay competitive, to win.

Fortunately, I had to shower before Sunday chapel service. We didn’t play much longer. There were no serious injuries; although there were minor ones, like scraped knees.

While the people with Parkinson’s may believe they’re “fine, fine, keep playing,” those around them may wonder if that is true or wise.

If you ever do play mixed doubles with two brothers who have Parkinson’s Disease, I advice you to smile a lot. Even laugh. Because life is ridiculous. And everyone wants to keep playing for as long as possible.