Sunday, September 12, 2010
Parkinson's Disease and My Blackberry
I am a Blackberry devotee. I admit I have not given the Apple product much of a try, but I cannot imagine getting used to a keyboard that has no tactile or auditory response to confirm my commands. My Parkinson’s disease gives me enough trouble trying to manipulate the tiny thumb-ball and hit the right key on my Blackberry QWERTY board. Just the thought of my PD-stiffened fingers trying to “swish” through pages of data on the iPhone like a gambler dealing cards leaves me sweating. The idea aiming for the right images in the liquid crystal display “aquarium” leaves me clutching the older mechanical technology I am used to. The brainy but fragile Apple wunderkind has an aluminosilicate glass surface that would inevitably fail to survive the numerous fumbles that my Blackberry screen has suffered. I doubt if Mr. Jobs was thinking about selling many of his latest delicate touch screen products to people with Parkinson’s. He was counting on the tech-savvy and healthy young folks to fuel the waves of technological frenzy. Technology does not always serve the disabled.
But my most common irritant is when my laptop and Blackberry do not sync. Theses computers are clever enough to tell me there is a conflict between the reality on one machine versus the other, but not smart enough to tell me which reality is the real one. Sometimes that is the way I feel about PD; it prevents me from syncing with reality. Inside I am young at heart and ready to take on any challenge, pursue any adventure and champion any cause. But when my PD is dominant I find myself looking for the nearest fire escape, a last minute vacation or just an excuse to lie down. Sometimes PD, like my old Blackberry, is out of sync with reality, yet it creates and imposes its own certainty. And I must choose between the two.
Posted by Bob Kuhn at 6:38 AM