This one – The Criminal Intent of Parkinson’s jumped into my email from parkinsonsdisease.net. The writer Dan Glass makes a great point. The premise of Parkinson’s will not kill you but you will die with it – is the perfect example of a distinction without a difference. He uses funnier tongue-in-cheek language than me.
Falls are Scary
Falls can occur anywhere and for any reason to anyone but parkies struggle with balancing; those tiny muscle motions that keep our center of gravity over our feet and heels. Parkies with dementia struggle to remember and use the techniques taught by the physical therapists.
For me as care partner, I am guilty of getting overly upset and excited when I watch Cheryl move around without her walker in our condo. We have a standard looking walking frame for use inside our house. She is using it more but learning is individual and until she wants to do it exclusively or feels wobbly enough, it is not habit and I will have to gently nudge and remind her. Her retort is often, you are always telling me what to do. I guess I am. I fear for her safety. We have a U Step walker for when we leave and go anywhere else. She is used to having it with her but sometimes she will walk around it to get to the garage and into the car. I give her a reminder nudge.
She fell two times this week. I hope this is not a omen. Both in the bedroom doing various activities associated with daily living. The first time our niece Natalie was here cleaning and I was in the bedroom collecting towels for the Wednesday laundry towel load. My perception is that Cheryl was backing away from the dresser after getting something from a drawer. She passed behind me and landed on the floor to my right. As I watched she bent her knees and collapsed on the floor.
I showed Natalie how to help her up by getting a wooden chair to place near her and hold on to stabilize the chair. Cheryl knows how to get up. She maneuvers to get her strong side (right) under her and then pulls on the chair. Sometimes she sits on the chair for a bit to rest.
The second fall happened while she was folding shirts on the bed a couple days later. I had dumped the laundry basket onto the bed and she became interested in folding the laundry. Fortuitously she fell onto the bed sort of face first and did not bend her glasses.
Aspirational pneumonia is something that I worry about with Cheryl but her cough reflex seems strong for now. I listen to her when she coughs. It does not seem deep or struggled. She does seem to be drooling more.
Coming from the care partner point of view raising tension between cared for person and care partner person seems at best counter productive. Sometimes saying, “Let me know if I can help” is more calming and useful than barging in to take over the situation. When I think about events that have occurred along the path of this journey with parkinson I tell myself that over and over. Many times I listen to myself. It is easy to carpe the angst of some situation and slip into know-it-all pedantic care giver mode. (Lately i have been catching myself and stopping mid-lecture.)
And doing the best you can to continue with a life not driven by Parkinson is hard work. There is extra laundry. There is extra equipment. There is extra travel time. There is extra time associated with any social event. There is disrupted sleep associated with any specific morning time event. There is menu confusion. There is mental confusion. There is resistance to help sometimes. Nevertheless, as much as you are able to do it, live life.