I am aware that in recent times my blog posts have not been the most positive. With everything that happens in life, work/life balance etc just getting through a week can be stressful. There have been high points and not so high points – no real lows, so that’s a bonus – and so, yes, it’s been a bit of a mixture this week.
I work in a role where I interact with clients who sometimes have conditions not dissimilar to Parkinson’s. I see people in various stages and various levels of support and acceptance. I manage for the most part to remain somewhat removed – not dispassionate – to protect myself from over identifying. However, this week one of my clients and his carer touched me unexpectedly when they gave me the privilege of knowing some of their future plans. Without going into details, they indicated that they are facing their own mortality and making plans for after they die. I felt privileged to be part of that conversation and had a conversation with another colleague involved in their care about what they had shared with me. I started to tell her that she would probably have cried if she had been part of the conversation and – unusually for me – I started to cry myself. She knows of my diagnosis and knew why it touched me. She supported me and encouraged me to ‘take a moment’ and collect myself. It reminded me of why I continue in the stressful job I do, because of the support that I receive and – I hope – the difference I make.
The other part of my week is my new Friday commitment to a Parkinson’s exercise class. I meet every week now with other Parkies people at the class and we are at similar stages of the condition. The exercises are challenging without being so hard that they are disheartening. I have never been a group fitness person, but seeing the other participants giving their best to get the best out of each session is inspiring. It makes me want to try as hard as I can to achieve my best too. In the breaks between exercises – while we catch our breath – we have brief discussions about symptoms, medications and other Parkies issues of note. I am finding that it is a group that I get a lot from and that I look forward to. It is good to feel that I am not alone. That if I find the exercises challenging, there are others in the same boat. That medication management is an ongoing issue and that feeling acceptance by this group makes me feel I have a group of companions to share my journey. We all agree that everyone’s journey is different, but one common thing we share is that in those Friday moments we empathise and identify with each other. My fellow ‘groupies’ positive attitudes help me feel more positive and it’s a great way to end my week.