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I Wanted To Cry

August 25, 2016



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I wanted to cry.

As I struggled with my shuffle freeze walk across the lobby a man, a stranger, came over to me and asked, “Are you o.k.?”

I replied, politely, “Yes, I’m fine.”  I lied.

He continued, “Are you sure?  I can get a wheelchair.”

I said,”Thank you, but I’ll be fine.  It just takes me awhile.”

As he left he said, “God bless you.”

I wanted to cry.

It had been a discouraging 24 hours at Mayo.   Yesterday I was told I was at stage 3 in Parkinson’s.  I was hoping I was stage 2.  There are only 5 stages.  Stage 5 is bed-bound.  Only stage 4 separates 3 from 5.

I’m now in a balancing act with the Parkinson’s medications.  Their effectiveness will vary from hour to hour depending on what I’m doing, stress, time of day, the weather, whatever, etc.  I now need blood pressure medication to offset the Parkinson’s medication.

Then there was the eye doctor who came in the room announcing I had glaucoma.  She explained it as being a chronic disease of the optic nerve.  I already had a chronic disease.  I didn’t need another.  She explained that damage already done could not be restored.  If left untreated, I would gradually lose peripheral vision until I only had tunnel vision.  Then I would lose that.

“…And then I would be blind.” I finished.

She nodded.

I thought of photography, of design, of life…

Add daily eyedrops to the list of medications now needed to take (and to try to get insurance to pay for).

And new eyeglasses for a ridiculous price (insurance doesn’t cover).  Not one pair, but two.  I need special ones for the computer.

The morning’s Parkinson’s medication did not last the morning.  I had taken again, but it would be another hour before it would kick in.  The simple act of walking was arduous.  My legs were aching after the climb up the ramp – a ramp I would have hardly known was there in earlier years.  Every quarter-inch of rise was like a  mountain too high to climb.  Each step had to be consciously thought through.   I was hurting.

As I now made my way across the lobby, I thought of where I was at in life.  I could feel the tears forming.  I remembered when I was first diagnosed.  I couldn’t remember crying.  I said to myself, “Not here.”

It was then the man came and asked if I was o.k.

As I continued my “walk” across the lobby I thought of the song that a man was playing on the grand piano as I got off the elevator:  “It Is Well With My Soul”.  I was wishing it was well with my legs.  Yet, if I had to choose…

A little ways further and a woman with a young son approached me.  She asked, “Can we get you a wheelchair?  My husband has the same problem.”

I asked, “Parkinson’s?”

She said, “Yes.  And the meds work off and on at unpredictable intervals.”  She told her son to go get a wheelchair.

I said, “No, I’ll be fine.  I’m almost there.”

She gave me a pat and said, “Take care.”

As I got off the elevator a woman came and said, “Let me get the door for you.”

Three strangers.  Three acts of kindness.  I wanted to cry.

I turned on the radio.  Songs of praise.  Oddly, I joined in.  I don’t know why.  It felt right.  It was good.   I can’t explain.

As I turned off the freeway into North Minneapolis, a new song:  Thy Will

I sang it.

“Jesus wept.”

I wanted to cry.







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