Friday, May 25, 2012

Bad news? Maybe not...

Went to the neurologist last week, and he says it's time to start thinking and talking about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery.  The side effects of the medications are increasing, and the good effects are decreasing.  I kind of knew that I would eventually face this, but it takes some thought.  I'm also not sure how much it's going to cost me, and whether we can afford it or not.

I've been warned that I am at the top of the list of about-to-be-layed-off employees in my department.  Not enough work for all of us, and I make too much money.  I have put in 28+ years at the company, worked so many extra hours, sacrificed my time, etc., etc..  Surprisingly, though, I don't feel resentful.  I understand how these things work.  They don't have enough to pay all of us, and it would be in the best interest of the department to keep the younger people and let those of us near retirement go.  Also, when you work as a government contractor, you have this thing called total cost accounting, which means that you have to account for each and every hour that you work.  If you have no contract to work on, you have no job.  We just don't have enough contracts right now.

A year ago, this news would have felt like the end of the world to me.  Now, though, I'm kind of thinking that I'm getting near the point where I can't really work anyway.  I have too many uncomfortable "off" times, too much difficulty concentrating and too many times when I can't physically do what I need to do.  Just standing in the laboratory for hours wears me out; I can't hold the oscilloscope or multimeter or logic analyzer probes on the electronics without accidentally shorting things out.  I have to ask for help all the time.

Maybe all of this is the Universe's way of telling me to move on to the next stage.  Maybe there's something else out there that I'm supposed to be doing.  Who knows?  It could be a very good thing.  I sure would have liked to celebrate my 30th service anniversary, though.  Oh well, maybe they'll let me go to the dinner dance anyway :-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Parkie Poem

Somebody tell me it will all be okay,
Tell me tomorrow won't be like today.
Tell me this illness was just a big hoax;
A not-very-funny impractical joke.

If these things are not true,
And you can't tell me why,
Don't worry about it;
Goddamnit, just lie!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

So there I was, at 4:15 in the "morning", unable to sleep as usual, trudging grumpily downstairs while cursing Parkinson's Disease and everything associated with it.  I glanced at the computer, and there on they keyboard was a card with "Mom" written in fancy script on the envelope.  I opened it, and found a card with a picture of a little boy on the beach; a child who looked so much like my own when he was 6 or 7, I swear it could be him.  Inside was a note from my now 25 year old son, and it starts out "you are an inspiration to me; nothing gets you down, absolutely nothing".  I won't reprint the whole thing, but suffice to say, the tears were rolling down my cheeks by the time I finished reading it.  Funny how something as small as a card can change your whole attitude in less than a minute.  Of all the blessings in my life, the best one is being a Mom.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Parkinson's Meltdown

It's happened.  What I've been dreading has come to pass.  On Friday, things at work became suddenly stressful at just the wrong moment, when I was wearing off.  As people started demanding more and more of me and became more and more impatient with my inability to explain the situation clearly, the Parkinson's symptoms became worse and worse, which of course made me less and less coherent.  I was shaking uncontrollably, unable to move quickly, almost unable to stand or talk.  The guy in charge kept saying things like "that's not a good enough answer", and "that's not acceptable", and I couldn't explain the technical issue I was addressing or the trouble I was having putting words together.  There were at least 3 or 4 people firing questions and comments at me simultaneously.  It was too much.  I started tearing up; I couldn't stop it.

Suddenly, everyone could see my symptoms in all their glory, and became apologetic and embarrassed, offering help and suggestions.  I know that everyone meant well, but I don't know which was worse; their obvious downward reassessment of my abilities or their pity.

I can't hide now or pretend that there is nothing wrong.  I am now forever "disabled" in the eyes of my colleagues.

I've been crying all weekend, but that has to stop.  I just have to figure out how to pick up the pieces and put the puzzle together a different way.  I have to go on as long as I can and find a new path and a new direction when this one gives out.  When you're walking in the woods, sometimes the path you're on ends and you have to backtrack and find a new way.

That's what I have to do, and that's what I'm going to do.

About Me

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I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.