Seven years ago, I began doing the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery®. Of course, back then it did not have a name…it was just what I was doing. At the same time, I began keeping a hand-written Parkinson’s Daily Journal. It is time to share my journal with all of you. Here is my September 29, 2009 journal entry, seven years ago today.
“09/29/09. 4:00am woke up. Last night, Sally did GV [Governing Vessel] acupressure right before bed. I slept well and do not think I moved positions the entire night. When I got out of bed, all of the muscles in my back were very tight, probably from acupressure releasing toxins.
Performed Medical Qigong for the Kidneys, elevating and strengthening, and the chui sound Qigong for kidney health. I need a break. I am a little dizzy, my legs hurt, and my kidneys feel like somebody has been punching them — apparently the Qigong is working. Performed Medical Qigong for the Liver (suggested 10 repetitions, I could do 4 only) and Xu sound for calming the liver (could do all suggested 6 repetitions).
During breakfast, I remembered the same thing that I remembered during dinner last night. When I go to eat with a fork or spoon, my arm/hand gets the food on the fork or spoon, lifts it up from the plate or bowl, and STOPS in mid-air, hovering a couple of inches above the food. I then have to think about moving it to my mouth. I have tried concentrating on the fluid motion of picking up the food and going directly to my mouth, but so far, I have not been successful. There’s always lunch today…we will see.”
There are two things I would like to cover from this entry. First, lunch wasn’t any easier…not that day or any time thereafter. This was a problem that plagued me during my time with Parkinson’s. However, I realized at some point that I did not have a problem getting chips or finger-food directly to my mouth. Upon examining this in the mirror, I discovered the problem (and a solution).
When using a utensil, my hand came in from the side of the food, and my shoulder and elbow got involved in the movement. The problem was that my shoulder and elbow froze and locked once the utensil was lifted a bit above the food. When eating finger food, my shoulder and elbow remained close to my body and the movement of my hand moving the food to my mouth was a simple bending of the elbow similar to a “curl” with a dumbbell weight.
After much practice, I arrived at my solution (the one I used when eating at home with my family or by myself). I put my elbow on the table (sorry Miss Manners) directly next to my plate or bowl, positioned where I could lay my arm, from elbow to hand, flat on the table next to the plate (palm of hand facing up). I placed the utensil in my palm where the part that was going to pick up the food came out of the pinky side of my hand. From there, I could approach the food from the back of the plate, get the food on the utensil, and with a simple bend of the elbow like doing a curl, the utensil came straight up to my mouth. My shoulder and elbow did not interfere with this process because they were not being used, except for the bend of the elbow, which did not freeze.
When this elbow-on-the-table was not appropriate, I tried to eat finger food whenever possible because I could easily get it to my mouth. When neither of these was available, I did what I had to do. I was hunched forward anyhow, so once I would get my food hovering above the plate, I would lean forward and bring my mouth to the food. Nobody ever said anything about this…I would imagine it was because I had Parkinson’s and was doing the best I could.
This just made me think of something; “I had Parkinson’s and was doing the best I could.” You need to realize that you have Parkinson’s and, for the moment, you cannot do things the way you used to. That’s okay. It is okay to give yourselves an emotional break because you have Parkinson’s and cannot do things the way you used to. Once you recover, you will be able to do things the way you used to, and I can tell you from experience, with a far greater appreciation than you ever had for the things you can do!
So, from one foodie to all of you foodies out there, do this eating solution or get in front of a mirror and figure one out for yourself. With all of the physical aggravation Parkinson’s brings to your lives, getting your food to your mouth doesn’t have to be one of them. Happy eating!
And second, regarding Medical Qigong for the Liver. When I got to the 4th repetition, I broke out in a sweat, got lightheaded, and had to lie down on the floor. I remember thinking that I was way more toxic than I had imagined, that my reaction showed me I had selected the correct Medical Qigong, and finally, how on Earth was I ever going to get to 10 repetitions. Eventually, I slowly worked my way to 10 repetitions, and so can you!
I believe in all of you just as much as I believed in me.
You are worth it.
All my best,
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