Thursday, January 2, 2020

Parkinson’s and Inertia


Some days it is hard to get ourselves to “take that first step” literally and figuratively.  Physically, stiffness, freezing and cramping can make it difficult to initiate movement.  The mental side of things can create an even bigger obstacle.  The “dark side” of PD whispers in our ears, telling us that we are not really up to it and don’t have to get off the couch today.  It can wait until tomorrow.  Or the next day.

We returned from Arizona to Colorado in early April.  I had experienced a series of challenges starting last December that made activity difficult.  I had hernia surgery in early December that forced me to be inactive in order to heal properly.  Later that month, Linda and I both came down with the “flu-like symptoms”, including cough and congestion that seemed to plague almost everyone we knew.  It took six weeks and multiple trips to the doctor to get over that.  Unfortunately, I then developed foot problems which I documented in a previous blog article.  It was around the middle of April when we finally found a solution that has helped.  I was finally able to get up and moving (I was more than ready after four months of relative inactivity).  I was able to ramp up my activity and exercise but was still feeling the effects of my “layoff” when we got back to Colorado.

Since we returned, I have gradually become more energized.  I have been doing a lot of work in my two “garden areas”, including my “meditation garden” adjacent to our back patio.  I started slowly, but became motivated to add some new plants that will give it more of the “English garden” look I wanted.  I also made some changes in the front yard garden and spent time fixing the irrigation systems.  It was challenging (and sometimes frustrating) for me to come up with a plan and then go out and buy plants that would work.  I also bought plants for the back patio and a new fountain to “dress it up” for the summer.  The finishing touch was distributing eight bags of mulch.  It was a lot of work, but I feel very good about it and have been spending time listening to the fountain and reading with Linda by our meditation garden.

I attended our local support group meeting last week.  We were talking with our guest speaker, a dance therapy instructor in our area.  As we talked about the ongoing battle to overcome the urge that many of us experience to remain sedentary, the phrase “a body in motion tends to stay in motion” popped into my mind.  Someone remembered that this was part of Newton’s theory, which I googled when I got home.  Sir Isaac Newton proposed his First Law of Motion, the law of inertia, in 1687: “A body at rest tends to remain at rest. A body in motion tends to stay in motion.” Those of us with PD know this first hand.

The four months I spent recovering have given me a new appreciation for being active, though there are still days that I would rather not.  We all have to continue to find the courage and energy to take that first step.  More often than not, we will be glad we did.

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