Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When Explanations are Appropriate

Post 29B
So far, the way I appear in public hasn’t been much of a concern to me.  Most days, I get by without attracting too much attention. After meds I get about two hours of good movement.  I suppose I could better time my trips out to, let’s say, The Home Depot.  I often find myself dragging and bobbing through the aisles, and to be honest, I don’t much care. Such public places are full of characters anyway, shoppers and employees both.  I seem to blend in.
I’ve tried carrying a cane. The cane has its own power, granting me a status of entitlement, as in, “He has a cane and his slightly strange movements should be ignored.” The cane provides an explanation, no words required.
Sometimes, words are helpful. For example, I find traveling stressful and no amount of medication is going to hold back my symptoms. When I sit in a crowded terminal waiting for a plane departure, I am in full Parky mode. My head twists and turns, my right arms curls up to my chest and, if I walk, I shuffle.   A short declarative sentence, i.e. “I have a bit of Parkinson’s and the stress of traveling exacerbates my symptoms” seems to put fellow travelers at ease. (Yes, I have actually said those words more than once.)  Some respond with “I thought that might be the case” or even ask me a question or two.  However, I think that my words relieve the people around me of their duties of concern, granting them the freedom to ignore me.
Isn’t that what we really want anyway?

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