It’s the little things that are so bothersome

I did not trip and fall. I attacked the floor and I believe I am winning. – 


For those of us with Parkinson’s, there are many unexpected little things that continue to confound us on fairly regular basis. Sometimes we can figure out a way to combat the problem successfully. Or not.

Here are a few things that continually get in the way of life as usual for me and some of my solutions, if I have found any.

One of my biggest problems has been that I do not always pick up my right foot enough when out walking. So the curb that was so easy to navigate before suddenly became a black diamond ski run. My toe catches and I go flying! After the first 8 or 9 times it happened, I started to catch on. I had to be more mindful while I was walking, not looking ahead of me, but looking down.

One other little problem with looking ahead is I did not always see the obstacle beneath me. Twice while traveling, and maybe I can blame the first one on jet-lag, I had a major encounter with the ground. In Hong Kong, where the streets are always under construction, Mr. Twitchy and I decided to take the sidewalk rather than the elevated walkways between buildings. While looking at the amazing skyline ahead of us, I failed to see a cover over the sidewalk and went sprawling. A bruised ego, arm and leg were the result. Another trip, I walked right into a sink hole that was about 4 feet deep. Never saw it coming.

Now that I pay more attention when I am out walking, I have a new problem. While looking down, I bump into people and things because I wasn’t looking up. But at least I am not tripping anymore. Maybe a periscope will help.

Do you lose track of time? I get so involved in something, whether it is a puzzle, tv show, reading a book, playing games, that I totally lose track of time. I used to be ready to leave the house early, but not anymore. Because I lost track of time, I can’t find my purse, my phone or something else important that I forgot to get ready. How many times do you get in the car and realize you forgot something? Then it is back into the house to find it, which makes you even later.

Do you have an itchy scalp? That one was not in the Parkinson’s Play Book, but apparently it is pretty common for Parkie’s. I got some relief from a shampoo that was recommended, but it never lasted very long. Last time I got a haircut, my hairdresser used a plastic scalp massager on my head while washing my hair. I didn’t itch for several days. I went to the drug store and found one that works well for me. My scalp is much happier these days.

I still attempt to play tennis. But like playing the piano, my hands don’t always cooperate. I take a great swing at the ball, and ……….my hand decides to lose its grip on the racket right at the moment of impact. I have thought of strapping the racket to my hand, but I don’t think that will work. Does anyone have a solution for this?

I don’t think Elton John has this problem

Do you play a musical instrument? Can you get both hands to cooperate at the same time? I started taking piano lessons 5 years ago, the first time since I was 13. It had been probably 30 years since I had played for my kids when they were little. My right hand was tight from PD and playing the piano really helped open it up. I enjoyed playing again, especially classical music which I appreciate much more now than when I was 13. So while playing the piano was great for my poor brain, several problems got in the way. My fingers did what they wanted to do – not what I wanted them to do. I could not memorize music at all. And I frequently lose my place when looking up and down between the music and the piano keys. Anyone else have this problem? Have you found a solution for it???

Finally, there is my handwriting. I am grateful for computers and iPads so that I can take notes with a keyboard, or record something to play it back later. As someone who used to do calligraphy professionally, this is the ultimate insult. My handwriting can be good and bad within the same sentence. Of course, when you want to write something that needs to be legible, it is always impossible.

Do you have anything that you would like to share? Little problems that you have found a solution for, or are seeking a solution. Let’s start a conversation. Please respond to this blog or on FaceBook.


4 responses to “It’s the little things that are so bothersome”

  1. “Little” things that drive me crazy – getting a manicure (it’s worse the harder I try to hold my hand still); putting in my earrings; fastening my bra; double-clicking when typing! Of course there are more, but these come to mind quickly. I like reading that playing the piano has helped you – I haven’t had the nerve to try again since the tremors took over, but I’m willing to give it a try now. Thanks for being real here!

    1. Karen, you are so right that getting a manicure is definitely much harder when trying to hold your hand still. I had forgotten about that one. And there are many more that we could come up. thanks for responding!

  2. My friend, 9 times out of 10, I set my house alarm, walk to my car and realize I have forgotten something. A letter, directions to where I need to go, my car coffee mug , some document needed for a meeting, my hat for sunny days, ….it doesn’t matter. Our complicated lives override our ‘not meant for multi-tasking ‘ brains. It’s not your PD. It’s that you’re human!
    Tucson Linda

  3. perilsofpauline14 Avatar

    I’m regularly amazed at how you manage to speak for me, Sharon. I agree with every one of your “little things.” Lately, I have been putting extra effort into being on time. My husband and children are the primary victims of my “losing track of time.” This is not a new problem – I have always lived in the moment – but the problem seems to have gotten worse since my diagnosis. I think Pramipexole is partly to blame, but I am doing better because 1) I admitted it was a problem and 2) I make myself stop what I’m doing and get ready for the next activity. It takes discipline, but it is correctable.

    Another “little thing,” common to people with Parkinson’s, is that my already soft voice has become softer. I go to Tremble Clefs whenever I can, and my husband says I speak louder when I come home from singing. An added plus are the fun, feel good songs we sing, thanks to Sun Joo Lee, our talented music therapist and director. I find myself humming and singing “On a Wonderful Day Like Today,” “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Blackbird,” “Button Up Your Overcoat,” “Getting to Know You,” “Seasons of Love,” “Sing,” “Top of the World,” “What a Wonderful World,” etc. and sometimes pulling my husband in to dance with me!

    Thank you, Sharon, for letting us know we’re not alone in this situation, and with love, support, and good humor, we can make each day count.

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A Note To My Readers

I love to see your comments and get your emails as we share our collective experiences. But based on a couple of private questions from some of you, remember, I am just a lay person and a patient like the rest of you. For medical and similar advice, you need to talk to your own doctor

Twitchy Woman

Twitchy Women partners with the Parkinson’s Wellness Fund to ensure we have the resources to offer peer support for women with Parkinson’s.