Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Hidden Parkinson’s Community

Post 33
Tom owns and operates one of the last great independent hardware stores in eastern Pennsylvania. He is successful despite the fact that there are two Home Depots and a Lowe’s within five miles. The secret to his success is that when you walk into the store, you feel like family.  I have been his customer for 20 years and I am happy to call him a friend.
It was no surprise to Tom when, on impulse, I picked up a keychain pill container and had him add it to my bill. I remarked “I carry a lot of pills these days, Tom.”
“You have Parkinson’s don’t you?” he asked. “I didn’t want to say anything, but you walk just like Uncle Winnie.”
Uncle Winnie, it turns out, has had Parkinson’s for at least ten years. He’s in his seventies, and still runs a lawn mower service. He rides a garden tractor, even if he does lean off the side rather precariously.
When you are familiar with Parkinson’s, you start to see it in others.  I see strangers walking with a slight shuffle and wonder if I’m really looking at a fellow Parky.  I haven’t quite worked out how to ask.
Anyone have any experience to share?

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