The Diagnosis – January 12, 2016
So last Monday I received a call from the neurologist’s office saying they had a cancellation and could see me that afternoon. My wait would be over soon. I arrived at the office on time and sat waiting for what seemed like ages in the sterile exam room for the doctor to arrive. While sitting there I considered whether I should document this and add it to my blog or not. What if the outcome is Parkinson’s Disease? Do I really want everyone to know this about me?
I have spent way too many hours in exam rooms and seldom are they anything remotely cheerful or even humane. This one was no exception, with little to engage me other than informational posters and the feeble attempt at design created by putting three colored linoleum squares heading into the corner of the room. Boy, did I feel cornered.
So I sat and gazed at my feet and the errant left hand that periodically trembled as it has been doing for months now. I sat and waited.
Finally, the doctor arrived and took me through a few questions and movements to evaluate my coordination. At the end he confidently announced that I indeed have Parkinson’s Disease, that I would have many years yet before it would become incapacitating. He prescribed a medication that will boost my dopamine levels, but gradually the drug will become ineffective, leaving me with the full impact of the illness at some point in the future. Parkinson’s is a degenerative nerve disease that is, as yet, incurable and ultimately crippling in outcome.
I had been researching the illness based on my suspicions, yet to have it confirmed with a sense of finality, still left me reeling.
I wandered out of the doctor’s office and headed to Alameda to get my mail. Thankfully, the post office is on the beach and on my way there I noticed a glow on the horizon.
I felt compelled to walk the shore after getting my mail and there I found renewal. For now I can still walk, for now I can enjoy the beauty of the shoreline, the play of light and color on the shore. I can see how a grey, wet day can end with a golden glow of sunset and blue sky.
While walking along the beach, I noticed a seagull dragging a stick in its beak, picking it up and dropping it along the water’s edge. Looking closer I noticed it was a pencil, of all things. I took this as a sign for me to continue to create, to draw or whatever I can for as long as I can. This is a precious life to live in each moment, exam rooms and beaches.
To see a short video of the water on this day go to my videos page and view the Waters of Life video. It is possible to be fed by the world around us. Just open up and drink it in.