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.