Saturday, September 28, 2013

Easy to be Hard

This week, our Parkinson's Support Group held a potluck.

Our friends, Tom & Jackie graciously picked me up at our house and drove to Bear Creek community - about 15 minutes north of Murrieta.  Beckie couldn't attend because of work.  Bear Creek is a gated community surrounding a golf course with a very nice community center building.  Lorna was hosting the potluck.  Jackie's enchiladas were a big hit, as well as my smoked salmon...both of which disappeared quickly.

It worked out that I didn't sit with Tom &J ackie, but sat with two couples who lived there at Bear Creek:  Roland & his wife and another couple originally from New York City.  Breaking a cardinal rule, I didn't focus enough to remember their names, even though we were all wearing name tags.  I will be more diligent next time.

Without Beckie there to carry the conversation, I felt helpless, because as the discourse continued, it inevitably got  to the point where I couldn't verbalize my thoughts.  And, it was noisy in the room so the louder I tried to speak, the more stressful it became - which in turn caused more anxiety...making it extremely difficult to verbalize my thoughts. It was a vicious cycle and  I found myself shutting down once again into a frustrating, unpleasant and depressing silence.  AWKWARD!!! 

Beckie is such a help to me in those situations when she speaks for both of us.  It gives me time and space to slow down, collect my thoughts and relax.  I get into trouble when trying to say long sentences as opposed to simple phrases.  Mentally multitasking has become a real challenge - they call it Executive Functioning - which I used to be able to do with flying colors.  The more things (thoughts) on my plate, the merrier.  But now - I'm limited to one thing at a time.

I don't know which is worse, physical incapacity or not being able to express myself in conversation.  I think the latter is worse.  It becomes a constant battle to not withdraw and to avoid social situations... much to Beckie's chagrin.  I think the toughest part is knowing that, before PD, I could carry any conversation, anytime, anywhere - with anyone.  And now, half the time, my 5 year old grandson can't even understand me.  THAT is hard.