Tag Archives: Parkinson’s

It’s A Matter Of Perception


I lost a dear friend today from Parkinson’s. He has suffered for a long time from this awful disease and his body was completely worn out. His spirit lives on however through his loving kindness and his outstanding integrity. I have mixed feelings, because on one hand I am glad that his suffering is over, but I am saddened that the love of his life (his wife) will now be without him. She has cared for him by herself until Hospice came in for the end.


I now have a job that requires me to work with a few Parkinson’s patients and the irony is not missed by me. One patient is a holy terror. The first time I went to visit this client I was told all sorts of horror stories by caregivers, and I was quite nervous. This patient is very smart and frustrated beyond belief that they can no longer be understood. This client likes things in a certain routine and order and every time a new caregiver is introduced this patient must try and communicate to train them in the thousand and one things it takes to bring some order into their room.

I decided that since I couldn’t be there to care for my friend in California, I would care for this  client in the same way. Patience, kindness and a sense of humor. That is how my dear friend Mike would have done it, he is my reminder and inspiration when things get dicey. It’s how I can honor him.

I left that first meeting with the difficult client, feeling a connection to this brilliant mind, trapped in a body that will no longer cooperate. I helped the patient make a phone call to grandchildren and was dumbfounded at the “I love you’s” that poured from their voice, and was further mesmerized when they made a grunting grrrrrr sound to mimic a bear hug over the telephone. Some of the caregivers would never believe me, but it was my gift.

My friend that died today, never complained according to his wife.  Everyone that knew him marveled at that. If anyone is entitled to be cranky it would be him; but then again look at Michael J. Fox? He is the poster child for how you want to respond to a life threatening illness. His perceptions are powerful, positive and courageous. I’m afraid I would be kicking and screaming and most likely complaining.

I have been given a treasure. I am invited in to the lives of seniors struggling to keep their dignity in the face of too many physical challenges. One of my favorite clients is a firecracker from Argentina. She taught in the school districts in southern California for thirty years and was an advocate for special needs children that were struggling with disabilities and the added challenge of a language barrier. She is a spiritual powerhouse and we’ve been having wonderful conversations about life. She told me that money is a matter of perception. I thought that was so simple, yet profound.

Covering the considerable costs of health care for the aged is no small matter. All of my clients are able to afford high end care, but they have all worked very hard and know the value of a dollar. Perception is the key to so many things in life. How we choose to look at challenges, financial burdens, loss, will ultimately decide the very quality of our lives, no matter the situation. It’s not easy and I don’t  mean to imply that it is. Think what could happen though if we change our perception? It’s a choice.

A Christmas Carol 1938


Reginald Owen played the role of Mr. Scrooge originally planned for Lionel Barrymore, who dropped out for health reasons. I love this version because it starts out with a happy scene of slide-skating on the ice. Grown-ups behaving like children, love it.

This is far from the original story by Charles Dickens. This typical MGM version was purposely made more light hearted. There is no fiancee to jilt Ebeneezer and no phantoms wailing. The children known as Want and Ignorance were absent as well as the thieves splitting up his belongings at his death. Bob Cratchitt  and his wife are played by Gene and Kathleen Lockhart. He played the judge trying to commit Santa in Miracle on 34th Street and his real life daughter June played the same in this version. June Lockhart is known for her mom roles on Lassie and Lost in Space.

Each film had elements that I liked. Patrick Stewart was fabulous as Captain Picard but made a REALLY lousy Mr. Scrooge. I have not been able to watch his version more than once. I thought it was pretty bad. Just sayin.

I liked the fleshing out of the Cratchitt family, and the whimsical nature of this 1938 version, even if it’s different than the book. That’s what makes watching all of these so fun. Reginald Owen as Ebeneezer is not the best, and it seemed odd that Bob Cratchitt was so generously formed despite his meager salary and grocery budget. He also seems a tad too happy, but I still love this version.

It has been snowing all evening. Pretty unless you have to go out in it. My friend left on her trip today and I’ve begun my adventures babysitting Zippy. He is a 13 year old Bichon who is feeling his age.  She left some surprise gifts behind for my children and me, I was touched and feel rich inside. I sit inside, cozy and warm, while putting up decorations, waiting for my daughter’s arrival. I can’t help ache  for all the families grieving for there little ones tonight and many nights to come.

I have a dear friend heading into the last stage of Parkinson’s. He has refused a feeding tube and is tenderly being cared for by his family and wife at home.  He is an amazing man who shared some really personal experiences with me at a very low point in my life. It was life changing and I will be forever grateful. His legacies will live on. Life is full of the bittersweet. I have learned to experience joy when I find it, but the greatest gift is spreading it around.