Parkinson's Disease -
Challenges and Encouragement
Friday, December 31, 2010
Two Undeserved Crowning Touches
A “crowning touch” is like a finishing touch, the culmination of something. Sometimes those events cause fear, pain and anguish, as when someone receives the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. And then there are the less critical but nonetheless exasperating times like two nights ago. Let me start with the latter “crowning touch” for 2010.
We were getting ready to leave for a 35th wedding anniversary dinner in honour of some dear friends. At the time, I was in the bathroom obeying the dictate of my dental hygienist who had recently cleaned, polished and fluoride-painted my apparently aging teeth. “Floss more” she had said straining to get the unwaxed line between two teeth. With most of her fingers in my mouth I was in no position to argue. I was following her directions with a real sense of accomplishment when it happened. Tugging to retrieve the spearmint flavoured floss from between a bicuspid and a molar I felt something give way. I fished the fragment from my mouth only to find a piece of gold. Had I been a prospector I might have been elated. As it was, I let out a groan and held up for my wife to see the tarnished tooth-shaped crown as my full explanation of the situation.
I quickly determined that my dentist, and every dentist I could recall the name of, was closed until January 4. I felt desperation take hold of me as I wondered how I was going to eat if I was crownless for a week. But when, after 8 to 10 calls to numbers found in the Yellow Pages, I finally found a dental clinic open my desperation turned to skepticism. Why was this dentist open and available in less than 2 hours, at 6:30 that same night, to recrown my vulnerable tooth?
I found out less than 48 hours after he glued the crown in its rightful place. I was in the middle of a late lunch when I had to rescue my recently re-cemented crown from a bite of bagel just before recovery would have been…well…delayed and somewhat more like prospecting. Another call to the “open late” dentist office got me in by early evening. As I checked in with the receptionist she smiled and advised me that, since the first dentist was not there to fix “my” problem, I would have to pay his dentist partner the $61.70 again. Twenty minutes later I left having been twice crowned, hoping that this time it would hold until January 4 and feeling that frustrated at being double billed.
The second “finishing touch” was found in my email inbox, having been sent to me at precisely 5:29 pm on December 17. It read as follows (author’s permission obtained):
“Subject: Re: Today's diagnosis...
You sir, have the dubious honor of being the first person to whom I have revealed my diagnosis via email... Actually your blog is the first online Parkinson’s associated website I have visited since first learning of my diagnosis... Which was today, at 11:30am PST. Yikes!
I’m in a curious mood right now, bumping back and forth between “Holy Shit!” and “Ok, let’s get on with things and make the best of this.” I’ve not read all the entries yet, but reading your blog has been comforting and entertaining. You are a good writer and I truly appreciate your humor and straightforward approach to discussing this topic.
My dear husband is coming home early from work and bringing eggnog which I plan to use for the making of a stiff, holiday drink. I am going to toast to the “positive” aspects of this diagnosis. In fact, prior to seeing your website, on my drive home from the doc’s, I had thought of doing a blog myself... “the Upside of Parkinson’s” in which I planned to list the two positive benefits I can see so far- #1: sense of smell leading to diminished sense of taste, leading to loss of appetite and, voila! weight loss!, and #2: the need for increasing my exercise regimen to become a more rigorous enterprise, thereby (hopefully) making me a hot, though shaky, mama.
It’s helpful to write you right now because you HAVE what I’m writing about. I’m surrounded by the most wonderful and supportive cast of family and friends, but let’s face it, they don’t have this adventure to go on. And I’m sure it will be an adventure.
So, thank you for being there for me right now... Sharing this adventure in your own way.”
Needless to say, this well-written email filled my encouragement tank for months to come. It made the year's blogging all worthwhile and was a true crowning touch for my year.
Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2006, I was 53. I currently serve as the President of Trinity Western University, of which I am an alumnus. I remain engaged as a lawyer who practices as general counsel to a wide variety of clients, primarily in the Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada.
Married for 40+ years (to the same loving and long-suffering woman), with 3 grown children, and one grandson. Besides my wife and family, my passion is living the adventure called life as a God-given gift, which includes motorcycle riding, scuba-diving, blogging, Scrabble and looking for the treasure hidden in each day.