Posts

Stopping the Spread of Loneliness

shelter in place, loneliness

Many symptoms are representative of Parkinson’s disease, the more widely known being external tremors and an unusual gait — or “walking funny,” as some might say. There is one other less visible symptom that can be connected to having the disease: loneliness.

Loneliness can be a shortcut to depression. What makes depression more volatile is to mix it with something like COVID-19. That can be a destructive combination, to say the least.

Quarantine, isolation, and social distance strategies have been used to contain COVID-19. For many, isolation is known as loneliness and loneliness for a person with Parkinson’s is an especially tough struggle.

Loneliness causes a feeling of emptiness, of being alone. Lonely people often yearn for human contact. Fulfilling human contact is somewhat hard to come by when met with an elbow bump, a face mask, a slight bow, or another means by which we greet one another or express farewells during this unsettling time.

The person living with Parkinson’s already feels distanced from others. They can feel ostracized and ashamed. They opt to stay inside because of symptoms and side effects like tremors, cognitive struggles, or speech problems. Staying inside can add fuel to the fire of loneliness and create a deeper pit in which they sit, engulfed by and surrounded in darkness. While some people take isolation as an opportunity to slow down, others fear the worst while sitting alone in their homes, dwelling on the negativity. Focusing on the what-ifs can trigger worsening Parkinson’s symptoms.

Instead of succumbing to the what-ifs, fill your mind with positivity. Begin by taking a break from social media, even if only for a day during this crazy time. Eat well, keep up your exercise regiment as much as able, get plenty of sleep, and don’t stop talking with other people, even if it is just a message here and there or a video chat.

What we allow ourselves to become depends on the choices we make. So, get out of the dark and get out into the sunshine for a walk. Turn off the television for an hour and listen to the birds sing. Read an inspiring book and share what you’ve learned with someone over the phone.

Let’s stop the spread of loneliness.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Stopping the Spread of Loneliness appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Sheltering in Place Is Harder Than I Anticipated

shelter in place

Today’s news is yesterday’s news, and I am sick of yesterday’s news. I am more disturbed by the news now than I was five minutes ago. Let me clarify. 

This news — specifically about the coronavirus — didn’t affect me as much before. I have been living in a bubble, and my bubble just burst. I have been living as if the coronavirus won’t ever get me. As if I were invincible. I’ve been living with the mindset that nothing will get past me and wreak havoc on my family, friends, or me. Not even this giant that I can’t see. 

But moving past this virus doesn’t necessarily mean contracting the virus, getting sick, and recovering. I just found out it can mean so much more. It is bigger than anything I anticipated.

We can feed off each others’ fears, eventually making them our own. As people with Parkinson’s, we don’t need more to worry about, thank you very much. Thankfully, I haven’t taken fears others are struggling with and made them my own.

However, getting past this virus may be harder than I anticipated. I didn’t expect to get a phone call from one of my kids who thinks it best to hole up at home with his family as much as possible. They are sheltering in place.

That means no grandson for possibly three weeks or more. I realize my family is not trying to snatch my grandkids away from me. My son is merely sheltering his family. Instead of catering to Grammy’s whims and wishes, he is taking his family under his wing and protecting them until this storm is over. I am proud of him but I am angry at this virus. 

It reminds me somewhat of Parkinson’s. The virus and the disease do as they please, giving no thought to what we may want. 

We have to “shelter in place” in our life with Parkinson’s. We have to take precautions to not overdo it, to keep our immune systems as healthy as possible, to try to keep up with our exercise programs at home, and to stay connected to others as much as we can (via FaceTime, telephone, etc.) until this is over. Because today’s news could very well still be tomorrow’s news.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Sheltering in Place Is Harder Than I Anticipated appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Fighting Giants: Staying Calm During the Coronavirus Panic

fighting fear

I have Parkinson’s disease and I live on a great big orb whose inhabitants have recently taken to biting their nails. They are also purchasing toilet paper, paper towels, water, and soap as if they are going out of style. Eggs are disappearing out of supermarket cold cases. Those suffering from the common cold or allergies will be hard-pressed to find remedies as these have almost completely disappeared as well. 

One thing is driving people to purchase beyond their needs and that is fear, otherwise known as the COVID-19. Though most people hadn’t heard of the coronavirus before this year, it had become an international health concern by January 30. Today, both supermarket shelves and schools are empty. The streets are quiet. People are isolating themselves.

How do we stay calm when facing such a big, invisible giant? How did we stay calm when we first faced Parkinson’s, the other big, invisible, not-so-friendly giant in our lives? Most likely we didn’t. 

Some might have cried. Some might have been seized by fear of the unknown. That’s the problem with diseases that come in various shapes and sizes. You can’t predict their journey. You may have an idea of how it will go but you can’t be certain. Because of the disease’s uncertainties and unknowns, fear can take over and wrap its sharp claws around you, trying to strangle what hope and peace you still cling to. 

When you were told you had Parkinson’s disease, it might have come as a shock. Perhaps it didn’t. Maybe it was a relief to finally know what was waging war within you. Now you can fight against something that isn’t quite so invisible anymore.

You stand in one corner while your opponent stands in the other, baring his sharp teeth and stomping his heavy heels on the mat. It is here you take a stand and decide not to allow this disease to get the best of you. You take the first punch, the second, and the third. You pummel that giant. Exhausted and on your knees, you look at the floor as the tears run down your face and then you feel it. A hard punch to your back followed by a gut punch. Will you ever recover from this — the fight of your life?

You lift your face and then you rise. Now you face your fear. With the last of your strength and unspent anger, you give fear a punch that knocks him off his feet. You know he will never be completely gone, but for now, he is subdued. 

Here comes the next giant: COVID-19. You’ve already faced one giant. You’re not afraid to face another. You adopt a similar strategy to deal with the virus as you do with Parkinson’s disease. You face it head-on and do what you can to stay healthy. You keep exercising. You keep eating well to stay in good health. You keep moving. You isolate. You don’t hide. Hiding is a lonely way to live.

You may get the virus. And yet, it may pass you right on by.

If you find yourself fighting the virus, fight with all you’ve got and don’t give up. You may be isolated but you are never alone.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Fighting Giants: Staying Calm During the Coronavirus Panic appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

This Parkinson’s Patient Kit Can Make Your Hospital Stay Safer

kit

I had surgery a month ago. While it was a minor, 15-minute procedure, I was more anxious about it than I was before a previous seven-hour deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. Whether it’s 15 minutes or seven hours, any surgery or medical procedure can cause worry, fear, and anxiety.

Many things can contribute to a good hospital experience as well as a bad one. The Parkinson’s Foundation notes that, “Additional challenges for people with PD in the hospital arise due to a lack of understanding about the disease amongst hospital staff.”

Additionally, the foundation says, Research shows that when people with PD are admitted to the hospital, they have longer stays and more often need rehabilitation afterwards, compared to people without PD.”

Several factors contribute to extended stays and recovery periods, include medication delays, missed doses, or errors.

Avoiding mishaps in the hospital

Hospitals are not exempt from making mistakes while we are in their care. To promote the best care possible as a person with Parkinson’s, several years ago the foundation began promoting a campaign called “Aware in Care,” which includes a free “Aware in Care” kit for patients. 

The kit contains several cards that provide medical staff with information or alerts about important patient details. For example, the deep brain stimulation information card alerts medical staff that the person has a stimulator, while the Duopa information card is for those using a Duopa pump. The medical alert card provides general medical information for doctors and nurses.

It’s also a good idea to prepare a hospital action plan for your next visit, whether it’s planned or an emergency. This plan includes creating an emergency contact list and managing medications, among other actions. You can read more about preparing a hospital action plan here.

The kit also contains a Parkinson’s disease ID bracelet in case of an emergency where the patient can’t communicate.

While all of these items are important, the medication form is invaluable. Copies of a completed form should be kept in the kit. The form can be downloaded here and completed on a computer before printing it out. Take the time to update the medication form each time a medication or treatment is changed, added, or discontinued.

Patients who have had DBS should bring their handheld monitor to the hospital. Although doctors may shut it off during surgery, it will be needed later.

Be aware that equipment in the operating room can cause a stimulator to shut off. You should avoid a procedure known as ultrasound diathermy, and check with your neurologist before undergoing an MRI.

Another essential piece of information to have in your kit is the name of your movement disorder and your neurologist’s name and contact information.

Also in the kit, nurse fact sheets enable vital information about Parkinson’s to be shared with every member of the hospital care team. For example, it includes a warning that the antipsychotic medication Haldol (haloperidol) should never be given to any patient with Parkinson’s.

Lastly, the kit contains a magnet to display a copy of your medication form with your medication regimen next to your hospital bed. 

All the items come in a small bag, making it easy to grab and go. The bag can easily hold a pen or pencil, a purse package of Kleenex, and other small items.

Most of all, the “Aware in Care” kit will give you peace of mind, leaving you to concentrate on getting well.

You can order your free kit at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or at parkinson.org/AwareinCare.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post This Parkinson’s Patient Kit Can Make Your Hospital Stay Safer appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

My Parkinson’s Journey Is Like a Seed Waiting to Sprout

waiting

Sometimes we say “I’m sorry” and we mean it. Sometimes we say “Thank you” and we mean it. And sometimes, we don’t mean it at all.

Let me explain

When we are overwhelmed with living, stress takes over and we are weary and worn out. It feels as if we have nothing left to give. And when someone does something thoughtful or kind — but not the way we would have done it — we offer thanksgiving with half a heart. We’re thankful, but  

And then perhaps we say or do something that unintentionally hurts someone. We drag out our half-hearted apology and offer an “I’m sorry” with little to no authenticity.

There is nothing genuine in either the thankfulness or the repentance.

After all, if that someone truly had wanted to be helpful, they would have carried out the task in a way that would have pleased you. They would have done it your way.

I have been guilty of this far too many times.

When battling a chronic disease such as Parkinson’s, we learn to accept and be grateful for the help offered by those who love and care for us. If we don’t, those caregivers might stop offering to help.

We all go through times of growth. However, sometimes in our growing, there are times of waiting. Things aren’t happening as quickly as we had hoped.

Like the journey of a seed

A seed is set in the ground. Sometimes it drifts slowly down from the plant whose petals have withered and died. Often the seed is pushed into a tiny hole in the ground by human hands. It is left there in the dark. Alone.

I don’t know about you, but I can easily relate the journey of that seed to my journey with Parkinson’s disease. One minute I was a part of a beautiful flower known as life, and the next I found myself in the darkness, wondering if I would ever see light again.

When I left the doctor’s office, it was pouring rain. I was getting drenched, but I do know a little something about gardening.

I knew I was going to need rainwater, and I knew I would need both darkness and warm light. While I sat in my car crying, I felt a storm enveloping me. As that storm raged, I knew that if I held onto my anchors — my God, family, and friends — I would not drown. I hunkered down for the long haul.

New growth in the waiting

I lived the next few weeks waiting and feeling as if I were in darkness. What would I do now? Was I of any use to anyone or for anything? Should I give up?

Getting past feeling useless seemed like it took forever, but it didn’t. Soon I sensed light and warmth coming through. Those I loved stood around me, encouraging and supporting me. The new growth was emerging inside, and I was getting stronger.

I learned it doesn’t matter which way the dishes get put in the dishwasher. The one who is helping me does. I learned it doesn’t matter how the towels get folded. What matters is that someone cared enough to wash them for me. For that, I give an authentic thank-you.

It is in the waiting that some of our greatest lessons are learned. And it is in the waiting that a beautiful and fragrant flower begins its new journey.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post My Parkinson’s Journey Is Like a Seed Waiting to Sprout appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Some Days, I Have Jello for Brains

jello for brains

I don’t remember having a teddy bear as a child. I do remember a pink monkey and a rabbit that my grandma made for me. There have been times during my journey with Parkinson’s disease that I have wanted a teddy bear — something to hold tight that would bring me comfort.

Most of us with Parkinson’s likely have days when we wonder what the end will look like. Will symptoms increase dramatically, leaving us to appear in need of sedation? Or will this disease leave us motionless as we silently fade away?

Sometimes, I find myself thinking about the end. My end.

I wonder if I will be an amicable or a hostile patient. Will I be critical and bitter? Or will I be pleasant and agreeable?

I know that drastic personality changes are not uncommon for those who are coming to the end of their lives. It is what I fear most, along with acquiring a cognitive malfunction or two.

I think of what I could be like: ornery, critical, embittered, lonely, and so much more. That thought causes me to pray and put my trust in one who is greater than I. To pray that I will be grateful to those who care for me, for the pain to be tolerable, and that I will be encouraging to others rather than discouraging.

I would like to trust what I have believed.

I want to believe that something better awaits me when my heart is no longer beating.

I want to retain my mental capacities, but the precursors to aging tell me to hold onto my favorite books. Soon enough, they will all be new to me!

I have heard that doing word and number puzzles are supposed to be good for brain health, so I do them regularly. But at times, my brain feels as if it is filled with jello instead of healthy cells. Isn’t jello to be expected with Parkinson’s?

When my son and his family moved to Idaho seven years ago, my granddaughter gave me a replica of her favorite stuffed dog. Jackson Jr. sits on my bed, and every once in a while I pick him up and squeeze him tight. He’s not a teddy bear. He’s better.

As I sit and ponder these things, I decide that trusting is greater and more calming than being fearful. And jello for brains is better than no brains at all.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Some Days, I Have Jello for Brains appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

A Tale of a Beating Heart and the Will to Move Forward

heart

With Parkinson’s disease, a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, some days you need a little nudge to keep going. Other days require a huge push.

I recently watched a video that told the story of a pastor who asks his friend, a heart surgeon, if he can observe one of his heart surgeries. According to Randy Philips of the musical group Philips, Craig & Dean, the physician makes the arrangements. The pastor watches as the patient’s chest is cut open, the damaged heart is repaired, and is returned to the chest cavity.

The heart is massaged, and doctors wait for it to begin working. But nothing happens. The heart refuses to beat. So the heart surgeon massages the heart again. 

Still nothing.

After a few more attempts to restart the heart, it still refuses to beat.

Finally, the heart surgeon does something unconventional. He removes his mask, kneels beside his patient, and speaks to her.

“Mrs. Johnson, this is your surgeon. The operation went perfectly. Your heart has been repaired. Now tell your heart to beat again.”

A few seconds and her heart begins beating. It needed a little “nudge.”

Just like the patient on the operating table, our hearts need a little nudge — sometimes a big push — to get going again after we receive a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (or any chronic illness, for that matter).

We want to get better, but our fortitude is failing and we slowly begin to give up. We don’t want to isolate ourselves from others, but we can feel so self-conscious when we are out in public dealing with tremors, dyskinesia, drooling, and choking. 

We want to get up, go out, and exercise, but our legs freeze on us before we even get to the front door. Eventually, we quit trying.

Sometimes life with Parkinson’s can be so hard.

Former “American Idol” contestant Danny Gokey was inspired by the story of the pastor and the heart surgeon to write his hit single, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.” The beginning of the song illustrates how we can feel broken and shattered, as if we will never get back to the life we once knew or the person we used to be. It’s about the person who is traveling on a new and unfamiliar journey.

We may have to tell our heart to beat again, like the doctor told his patient. It may be time to say goodbye to the past, look forward, and move in the new direction we have been given. It may not be the life you once knew or dreamed of, but we’ve been set on a new journey — and it might even be a better one.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post A Tale of a Beating Heart and the Will to Move Forward appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Which Wolf Will Win in Our Struggle with Parkinson’s?

wolf

One of my favorite stories is an old Cherokee tale that goes something like this:

A Cherokee grandfather is talking to his grandson about life. He tells him that there is a struggle going on inside all people — a struggle between two wolves. 

He explains that one wolf is evil, filled with anger, envy, greed, arrogance, resentment, bitterness, and other negative emotions. The other wolf is good and full of love, joy, hope, patience, humility, kindness, compassion, and self-control.

The grandson asks, “Which one wins?”

His wise Cherokee grandfather answers, “The one you feed.”

When we receive a chronic illness diagnosis such as Parkinson’s disease, our first reaction may be to sit there dumbfounded as we let the news that will change our lives sink in. We may or may not refuse to believe it.

We may choose to accept our diagnosis or become understandably angry. However, it’s what we do with that anger that can make us like the big, bad wolf. Some people become filled with a hate toward life. They envy those who are “normal” and don’t have to contend with a chronic illness day in and day out. They wallow in self-pity and resentment at their life. They become bitter and miserable, focusing on the negatives instead of the positives. They allow the anger to slowly nibble away at their lives until all that remains is a discontented and sorrowful person.

However, if we choose to accept it for what it is — a different chapter in our lives, one that we can learn from and grow with — then the ending may be more encouraging. How we choose to look at life determines what we will see — good or bad.

The good wolf inside us fights to defeat the bad, but we choose the winner. Will we choose hope, patience, self-control, and contentment? Will we decide to be positive or negative toward life? Only we can make that decision. Whatever wolf we choose to feed will be the one that grows.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Which Wolf Will Win in Our Struggle with Parkinson’s? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Is Parkinson’s Disease Coming Out of the Shadows?

normal

We all want to feel that we have something we can depend on, something we can call “normal” in this fight against Parkinson’s disease. But Parkinson’s is anything but normal. 

You might have heard that each person with Parkinson’s wears the disease differently. How the disease manifests is unique to each individual. Not only do the symptoms vary according to the individual, the treatments can also differ. A therapy that seems to be working wonders for one person may not make the slightest difference to another. 

Snowflake diseases

Parkinson’s is sometimes referred to as a “snowflake disease” based on the fact that no two snowflakes are alike. The snowflake analogy describes how no two cases of Parkinson’s are the same.

In her column “Disabled to Enabled,” Jessie Ace discusses this, stating that, “MS is sometimes called ‘the snowflake disease’ because each case is unique.”

An autoimmune disease called myasthenia gravis, characterized by a weakening of voluntary muscles, also is referred to as a “snowflake disease.” With so many snowflakes falling under the guise of many different diseases, it is easy to get confused about what disease you have and how it should be treated.

Changing perspective

What used to be an “abnormal” and rare disease seems to be more commonplace. At least it can sometimes appear like that to me. One thing that isn’t common is the young age at which some people first show signs of Parkinson’s. What used to be considered an “old person’s disease” is being seen in younger people, too. 

As life expectancy increases, Parkinson’s may become more common. But what about the younger crowd — those with young-onset Parkinson’s disease? This group, which comprises those diagnosed before age 50, accounts for only 2 to 10 percent of those living with Parkinson’s in the United States. In rarer instances, Parkinson’s-like symptoms can appear in children and teenagers — a form of Parkinson’s called juvenile Parkinsonism.

Research has helped to improve and speed up the diagnostic process for this disease (however slow it may seem), and so it makes the “abnormal” chronic illness known as Parkinson’s disease seem more “normal.” But we need to move faster to raise awareness and help with fundraising efforts for research toward more advanced treatments. Or better yet, a cure for Parkinson’s to take it out of the running entirely.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Is Parkinson’s Disease Coming Out of the Shadows? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Seeing Life Through the Eyes of a Child

child

When my kids were younger and still in school, I volunteered to be a driver for most of their field trips. One of the most memorable outings was when I took my youngest son and his classmates to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I had been there several times but this was my first time with this group. On the trip was a special little boy. He was a new student who had recently arrived from Vietnam. I don’t remember his name so I will call him “Sam.”

When we arrived at our destination that day, Sam got out of the car and waited patiently for the other children. When everyone was ready, we walked the two blocks from the parking garage to the aquarium. After standing in line for a short time, we entered the building. That’s when the real work began.

As soon as Sam was inside, he took off. He didn’t go far — just to the first exhibit. I quickly caught up with him, the other four children in tow. He was watching the fish swimming, his mouth wide open. Then he took off again and repeated the scene at the next exhibit. Sam didn’t speak English well so it was hard to communicate with him. When the teacher saw what was happening, she took the other children in my group and left me with Sam and my son. It was hard to keep up with Sam, but we managed.

Sam had never seen anything like the aquarium. We watched him take in the beauty of the sea life as it unfolded before him at each exhibit. Witnessing his wonder at seeing things for the first time was a precious gift. Sam’s enthusiasm taught my son and me to look at everything differently that day.

It was just another field trip for most, but for Sam it was one to be celebrated with joy. He lived that day as if it were his first. Or did he live it as if it were his last?

How do we live our days? How do we spend those days that are sprinkled with pain and confusion? Do we wish them away or are we grateful to have just one more?

When we live with a chronic illness, it can be hard to see the positive side of things. It can be difficult to see past the pain and get rid of the darkness of despair that casts its shadow over our lives. But if we begin to see things as if we’ve never before experienced their intricacy and uniqueness, it might feel like a day we’ve never lived before and want to live again.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Seeing Life Through the Eyes of a Child appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.