Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rain and Parkinson's Disease

There are hummingbirds hovering,darting and dancing in the rain just outside the kitchen window. Squirrels scurry across the lawn with new found treasure tucked in their cheeks. The whitetail doe and her two fawns hang back under the canopy formed by the big Chestnut tree, avoiding the open spaces for fear that the wet long grass and the dull applause of the summer shower will prevent even their extraordinary hearing from picking up an attacker's advance. Rabbits hop under bushes and shake the raindrops from their fur and flopping ears.  Pastoral.

But despite the peace of it all, I think of the disappointment of would-be campers needing to postpone weekend trips, and, more sadly, tearful brides fretting about outdoor weddings that hastily need to shift into Plan B.  The greyness of the day shrinks expectations and creeps into emotions.

For me, I welcome the rain and the chance to spend the day inside.  A sunless, summer Saturday feels just right.  That may seem strange to many, as summer is short in Vancouver to start with.  But things change when Parkinson's disease moves in.  Fatigue can easily pile up over a stressful work week.  Add a week of nights when tossing and turning disrupted my snoring and a restful weekend is my strong preference.  It feels like I have held my breath since last weekend, and my lungs are about to burst.  Quiet time, just listening to the thousands of drops making up an orchestra of percussion as they strike with different sounds on different surfaces.  Mug of coffee in hand there seems no greater priority than to peer into the tranquillity of my beloved backyard.  I can breathe again.

As much as I love challenges, I cherish time to rest, passively observe and just think.   A sunny summer day tends to pester me into action regardless of my breathless state.  It sarcastically chides me saying, "Surely you are not staying inside on a day like today?  What a waste!".  The rain extends grace to those of us that coasted into Friday evening on fumes.  The rain is a refuge for thinking time. 

Until January of 2006, my batteries were charged quickly and held their charge longer, with a reserve pack that had lots of punch if needed for overtime.  But PD and aging change all that.  I need a long nap or two over the weekend to feel like there is any spark in the battery.  Guilty as I may feel about it, rest has become a necessity.  So I read, watch a mindless movie, write or read blogs or plan my week ahead.  Ironically, staying up late is even restful, as it shakes up my weekday routine.

But with the blessing of a park-like backdrop with nature's drama unfolding in full view of the kitchen windows, life is good again.  I breathe deeply.  I am restored.  Rain, like Parkinson's, gives me pause to rest, listen and think.  Real re-creation happens in these times..


  1. I read this post and so much of it hit home with me. I relate to much of it, but expecially the part about coasting into Friday night on fumes! I have PD, am raising a family, and working. I start to feel it all weighing me down by Wednesday night. By Friday, I am ready for a good nap to recharge my batteries. I have found that for me, sleep is the best medicine. Before PD, I was always a person on the go. It's funny how being diagnosed with a progressive neurological disease sometimes forces you to slow down and enjoy life.

    Thanks for all of your writing on this blog. I read every post and I appreciate your perspective. I never thought I would be dealing with PD, especially at such a young age. Your writing helps me deal with it and reminds me that I am not alone. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  2. I often feel like the Camaro with blue smoke coming out the back. I've enjoyed following your blog as it forces me to stop, reflect and relate. Thank you for your writing.

  3. Just this morning when I heard the wind howling, I told my "retired" husband I wish I could just stay home today and play table games with him. He smiled, and I gathered up my laptop, purse, etc., and headed off to work. Then I ended up working until 7:30, showing a house (a realtor is my trade). But even without PD, at age 62 I find I loose the energy much sooner unless I take my daily dose of supplements and vitamins.

    About the naps, it is proven that sleep deprivation ages our brains faster. So go ahead, take that nap.