Posts tagged ‘caregiving’

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.

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June 10, 2011

Healthy Eating

Went to Dr. Etta Frankel yesterday for a check up — bored her with my recent medical sagas of basal cell carcinoma and plantar fisciitis.

Dr. Frankel is normally even-tempered, but she was mad. “I see you tan and freckled. That is not good.” When we sat down in her office, she wrote out some internet sites to buy SPF clothing and handed me the prescription.

She asked about my husband’s health. “It’s difficult,” I said. “Living with someone with Parkinson’s.”

When I pointed out the slight uptick in my weight, she looked back at her records. “Yes, you were 133 in 2003.”

A bit more than a pound a year. Again, “Not good.” So she handed me a diet sheet mimeographed from the early 1970s. On it, there’s a long list of what not to eat and drink, like pasta and wine.

So when I came home, after the doctor’s appointment, then work, to surly children and a difficult spouse, I poured myself a big glass of wine and made pasta for dinner. It was Chris’s idea.

I’m not at all a food blogger. But this was good.

Start water to boil for pasta.

  1. Sauté white onions, sliced thin, in olive oil
  2. Add cherry tomatoes cut in thirds
  3. Add black olives
  4. Slice fresh basil into little ribbons. Set that aside with a bunch of little mozzarella balls.
  5. Cook the spaghetti
  6. Then add the set-aside mozzarella and basil and any old thing you find — pine nuts, broccoli, chunks of salami — into the olive oil mixture

Toss it together. Great summer dinner. On the side sliced strawberries and grapes. Chris spread sourdough bread with an olive tapenade.

We sat down to eat, all civilized, C. asked, “How was your day, Mom?”

“Good, I went to the doctor and got a good report.” I’ll start the healthy eating tomorrow.

When I mentioned that I might blog about our yummy dinner, Chris said, “Michael Tucker blogs about his meals.”

Name drop alert: Yes, he does. Chris’s friend, Michael, is an awesome actor and writer. Chris is featured in one of Tucker’s blog posts where Chris  is fondly referred to as one of the Fat Boys. The Fat Boys better go see Dr. Frankel for some dietary suggestions. Here’s Tucker’s blog. (Incidentally he’s married to the fabulous actress Jill Eikenberry, who brought a lot of media attention and awareness to breast cancer when no one else was talking about it. We refer to Tucker and Eikenberry as the Tuckenberries.)

http://notesfromaculinarywasteland.com/2011/04/12/fat-boys-ravage-queens-the-borough-i%e2%80%99m-talking-about/

May 18, 2011

Walking to Work

The rain is getting to me. I am going to walk the 45 blocks to work today.

Due to some burst pipe at my office building, my noontime yoga and Pilates classes have been cancelled for the last two weeks. I have discovered just how much I need those classes to combat my stress.

Just yesterday, I was walking the girls to school and heading for the subway. After a particularly stressful morning of finishing science projects before 8 am, I was thinking Wouldn’t it be great if I smoked? I could just blow smoke and watch the cars drive by?

And as I thought that, who should I see walking towards me, but my yoga teacher, Shane? Seeing her was a sign to make the healthy choices in handling life’s stresses.

We chatted a few minutes about when our classes will resume. Shane hoped by tomorrow. It’s always funny to bump into someone out of context. And as I’ve said before, my exercise teachers are the most gorgeous and nicest people you will ever meet.

I don’t know why I have been more worried lately — my husband’s Parkinson’s disease, his extended family’s financial situations, paying for the kids’ camps and tuition bills — I don’t know, just worried. 

And so here we stand, mid-week through a forecast of rain and gloom every day. If it’s only drizzling, I can walk and think today.

I must remember my 7 Rules. http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/about/ And the things that always make me happy:  travel, parties, museums, art, hanging out with friends, working out, and getting a good night’s sleep. And so I will commit to these things. I’ll start with a walk in the rain.