My Parkinson’s patients have raved about it. The literature verifies its ability to stabilize and improve Parkinson’s. I’ve participated in 3 classes over the last week. Yesterday’s class wiped me out!
Rock Steady is built around boxing. We train for 75 minutes, 15 of which involves boxing. We are learning about the boxer’s stance, hooks, jabs and undercuts. We box with a dummy, a heavy bag and a speed bag. I actually like hitting the dummy! I’ve never been a violent person but find great pleasure in hitting the CEO of a major insurance company that for years has given me the blues.
We do laps in the gym. We do stretch and balance exercises. We do some endurance training. The group is highly supportive of each other. Yesterday, my legs wouldn’t work. They gave out on the first lap. I almost fell twice. Two of the guys walked me out to the car.
I have avoided going to any group activity involving Parkinson’s and Rock Steady is such a group. Whenever I was around a person with Parkinson’s, I wanted to cry. I saw myself in him/her and knew that one day I would be as bad as that person was. I was foolish. Now I’m the second worse in the group and vying for the honor of being the worst.
I’ve written about denial before. When in my doctor’s outfit, I was Superman. Denial stopped me from recognizing how bad I had gotten. While skeptical of its ability to improve my life, I know that doing what exercise I can tolerate will be good for me even if it doesn’t slow my progression. Being in this group and being able to compare myself with others afflicted with Parkinson’s will, at least, keep me out of denial.
As a physician, husband, parent and friend, my job is and was to help my patients, relatives and friends who are in denial see the light of day. Think of a person who is in denial as a person who has blinders on. Taking those blinders off may be difficult and may even damage your relationship with your loved one; but, in the end, it will be worth it.
Denial is particularly bad in heart disease, lung disease and colon cancer. I had a 48-year-old male who had a complaint of severe indigestion. He had taken all of the over-the-counter meds to no avail. I told him that one of the possible causes for his symptoms was heart disease. He told me he walked 3 miles a day, followed a healthy diet and recently had a normal EKG. I told him that a normal EKG was meaningless. I explained that, even though he exercised and ate appropriately, his family history (father and uncle with coronary artery disease) and symptoms required a more extensive workup. He accused me of driving up the cost of medical care by doing “unnecessary tests.”
He sought a second opinion from a gastroenterologist who scoped him and put him on more meds to no avail. His symptoms remained the same and he had a large MI shortly after starting on his new medications. Remember the statement I posted the other day, “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”
When you’re deep in denial, there is no room for uncertainty and insecurity as you are certain and secure in the belief that you are right. I don’t care how unlikely the diagnosis of heart disease was, the risk of missing the diagnosis of heart disease is too great and the penalty too grave not to do a further assessment.
In other terms, when making a list of possible causes for an illness, if there is anything potentially life threatening on the list, it should go straight to the top of the list even if it is highly unlikely. I would rather waste money than waste a life!
Here’s your joke for today:
A woman puts an ad in the paper looking for a man who wouldn’t run away at the sight of commitment, who wouldn’t hit her, and could fulfill her sex life.
Two weeks go by and nothing. Finally, one day the doorbell rings. She opens the door and sees a no-armed, no-legged man.
She looks at him and asks, “How do you expect to fulfill my wishes?”
He explains, “I have no arms to hit you with and no legs to run away.”
Then she says, “And the sex life?”
He looks at her and says, “I rang the doorbell, didn’t I?”