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October 18, 2012

'So how's it going?'

Editors note: A portion of this column was inadvertently omitted in last week’s Crier. It is re-run here in its entirety.

The headline is a question I get a dozen times a day, almost always from friends and neighbors who want a real answer. Bless them for that.

I usually palm the question off with a laugh and, “Still wobbling along!” That’s a shameless plug, I know, for my Parkinson’s book, but my answer’s on target: I am still wobbling along, mostly forward, with unplanned, reeling sidesteps to retain balance.

But I’m not falling down. That’s due to six weeks of great therapy under Mike Quinn at the Bassett Railroad Avenue clinic, followed by steady work with Jim Jordan at the Clark Sports Center. Mike sent me on to Jim with an exercise prescription, and Jim’s holding me to it. I’m at the center three mornings a week, twice downstairs in the exercise room, once for a stint of swimming.

That regimen, plus good medication (more of it since I last reported to you), has kept me literally on my feet and doing things I really enjoy — including writing to all of you.

With that said, there’s no denying that I’m losing ground — or, if you prefer, Parkinson’s is gaining on me. And the most haunting change is that it’s now creeping into my cognition.

More than once, I’ve told you that this stuff feels like sailing toward a fogbank, toward almost sure dementia. Well, the first wisps of fog are now in my head, drifting around ominously. I have moments of real confusion, at least to the point of being unable to lay out ideas in sequence. (I believe that’s called “thinking.”) This means that, more and more, I freeze up at the keyboard and have literally to back off from it to allow for a rebooting. Not of the computer. Of me.

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