We went to our first Parkinson's Support Group tonight. I had inquired about a group at the neurology clinic, had a number to call but it hasn't been a high priority. In Sunday's paper there was a blurb telling about this month's meeting and the topic to be presented--sleep disorders in Parkinson's patients. That rang a bell and got us to the meeting! I'll have to say that it was interesting being in a room full of patients and caregivers trying to determine which ones were which by just looking. From comments made and questions asked it was clear how common sleep problems are. I believe one of the values of support groups can be seeing for yourself that you are not alone in whatever the situation or problem is. The conversation followed a natural path toward medications that are prone to cause drowsiness, particularly one that can make you fall asleep quite suddenly even when you are driving. It's a medication Tom has been on for a while and one of the reasons I had questions about his driving abilities. There were several comments made about giving up one's keys being equated with giving up independence and an interesting comment about having to weigh what you are giving up against what you might be taking from another if you continue to drive and have an accident. I remember how difficult the adjustment was in our family. Tough love is not just for raising children!
Last night we went to another church softball game. Last week I stayed in the car and had a pretty good view of the field, but last night I couldn't get very close so I sat in the bleachers. It's hard for me to not see Tom playing in the game, so I sort of hide in the car. He wants so badly to play, but knows he had to give that up along with driving. Tom's ball playing now takes place in our backyard with Drew, our four year old grandchild who is playing T-ball. I don't know which of them has the most fun--both look forward to it.
Tonight I was reminded yet again that a situation can always be worse. Parkinson's robs a person of so much, but it never can take away who that person is. Life is not about what we do, but who we are, who we are as the people God has created us to be. Tom can't drive and he can't play softball, but his faith is stronger than ever, his spirits are high and his sense of humor doesn't skip a beat. He has the same heart, the same soul, the same firm beliefs in God, the same love for his friends and family. Parkinson's will never diminish who he is!