Its been a bit of a long road, as can so often be the case with Parkinson's, but at long last I'm starting to feel that I'm back in the driving seat, in control of my movements, enjoying life, not feeling like I'm having to explain my mumbling stumbling self to strangers, whilst trotting out my standard phrase "I have Parkinson's" and wanting to add on "I am not an alcoholic!". Its getting to the point where I feel tempted to have these words tattoed on my forehead. Joking aside, I'm even happier when close friends say that if they hadn't have known I had Parkinson's they would never have guessed. Wonderful - their words are truly like music to my ears.
For the first time in a very long time I am confident, look well, and am enjoying the summer (OK, well not today when it has rained cats and dogs from dawn til dusk....). I try and get to the gym 3 times a week (more like once or twice at the moment). Its a form of exercise I'm really getting in to, and having started off saying that I was only interested in doing cardio-vascular work, I'm now getting more in to the weights training. My shoulder no longer gives me grief, and I can even manage to hop out of bed in the mornings with a twinkle in my eye, a spring in my step and feeling almost as fresh as a daisy, rather than go through 15 minutes of agony whilst I coax my muscles back in to life. Stress is no longer an issue and I feel strong enough mentally to not having to worry as much about the future.
And why this turn-around? Its not because I have been miraculously cured - for Parkinson's there isn't one - yet. Its because I feel satisfied that the drugs combo that I am on is giving me the best quality of life I can get at this moment in time in terms of the Life/Parkie levodopa balance. I saw my consultant just before we went to Dorset and he is happy - he doesn't need to see me now for a whole year. A whole year - again, music to my ears - I'm a free woman! That is, until last week when my ever constant companion tapped me on the shoulder, whispered "Boo" in my ear and gave me the fright of my life.
We were back at the Dorset coast, same set of friends, different campsite - Durdle Door this time. Tim had a name change and became Tom for the week - same husband, but that's what this particular set of friends call him. We had had a wonderful week and my children looked more like ferral children for having been living in the great out doors. It was Elise's second week of camping with the exception of 24 hours home, as she had been away at a Guides camp in south Wales. We had with us for the week a friend of Elise's from school, she was a wonderful guest and can come camping with us any time. All nine children had got on very well, we had hardly seen them as they only returned from their day's roaming the camp site for food, drink and sleep. We were coming to the end of our stay - with our friends plus their kiddies having packed up and gone home, back to their respective lives, leaving us on our own until the Sunday. Tim had decided to go in to Dorchester for a change of scene as the weather wasn't really conducive for the long trek down to the beach. On the way back in to the camp site, Tim parked so that I could nip in to the camp shop to get a bag of ice, as our nice new three way fridge had given up before we even had a chance to use it in anger. And that was when it happened. One second, I was walking towards the shop, the next I saw the ground coming up at me, almost in a dream like sequence. I heard someone screaming - and then realised that the screaming was coming from me..... And I would like to add at this point that I am not a screamer - except in my sleep that is! I had fallen over on the road outside the shop, in full view of a lot of people, almost as if I had been a pin in a bowling alley. The inbuilt motor reflex of putting my arms out to break my fall had failed, and I had landed smack on to my face. There was blood pouring from my nose and on to my white top..... I was panicking that I had lost my two front teeth, and couldn't see where I was for the tears. In short, I was being a total Drama Queen about the whole thing. It seemed to me ages before Tim got out of the car and bundled me back in - everything was in slow motion. His first reaction was to go back to Dorchester, back to the hospital where I had spent 5 days exactly a year ago, but I managed to persuade him I was OK. We are both well aware of what to look out for with head injuries - we had been there when Antonia was ko'd at her 5th birthday party a couple of years ago.
Instead, I was taken to the ladies loo's so that I could get myself cleaned up and to calm down. I was in a state of complete and utter shock, it was my worst fear come true. I was always falling over as a child, constantly sporting scabby knees but on reaching my teens had grown out of it. It was the first time in all those years that I had fallen over - OK I've had a few stumbles now and then, but nothing like this. At this point I would like to say a huge thank you to the very kind lady who was in the loos with her grandchildren, and who came to my rescue. Elise was rather at a loss what to do with her hysterical mother and was probably somewhat shocked herself, whilst Elise's friend started ministering to my cuts and grazes. Antonia, bless her, was doing her very best to cheer me up by patting and stroking my back. I was terrified I had lost some teeth, but on close inspection they had survived intact! A relief, as I really wasn't relishing the prospect of my dear husband seranading me with "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth...." My nose, on the other hand, didn't seem to be broken but did have a rather nasty graze on it, as did my chin and both knees. My hands, meanwhile, got off lightly - the traitors - along with my brain, what there is left of it. The following day I went back to the scene of the accident and looked for evidence of anything that might have tripped me up, but didn't find anything. To say I am feeling somewhat of a fool is an understatement. And to cap it all my favourite pair of sunglasses were ruined beyond repair!
So, its now a week on. I had originally planned to stay a second week at Durdle Door on my own with Elise and Antonia whilst Tim went back to work, but decided against it. I have lost my confidence a bit since the fall, and having looked at the weather that the Dorset coast has had yesterday, I think we could have possibly lost the tent in to the bargain! Added to that, Elise was keen to get home, she had had enough of camping and wanted to sleep in her own bed for a change. I know precisely where she was coming from. After my rather spectacular fall, I had been struggling to get moving in the mornings. My scars and scabs have healed and almost disappeared apart from one scab on my chin, and a rather nasty infection on my right knee which so far has resisted antibiotics. I went back to the doctors today and am now on a different course of penicillin. I really do hope these ones do the trick, as I know that Tim is concerned about MRSA. (At this point I need to add that on my first trip to the Doctors at the start of the week, I saw a locum who remarked on my rather interesting combination of drugs - he said he would never have realised I had Parkinson's - yay!)
So, having always been rather irritated by Drama Queens, I can now say that this Drama Queen is off back to bed, hopefully for some sleep which has been elusive since we got back home.