It seems to me that often we say things to each other that sounds like we are asking a particular question, but it turns out we are not? Let me explain. It is like when you go to the supermarket and a bubbly checkout person asks you ‘How are you today?’ The usual response is ‘Good thanks’ or something equally banal. Many has been the time when I’m not having a good day and a little voice inside my head says, ‘Tell them. Say, actually I’m having a pretty shitty day, etc, etc…’ But we smile and respond ‘Good thanks’ and probably walk away thinking we have had far from a good day!
I had coffee today with one of my workmates I have known for several years. I am very open about my diagnosis, so most people know that I have Parkies. She sat down and said, ‘So, how are you?’ Because I know her well, I said, ‘You know, when someone asks me that question – and they know I have Parkinson’s – I don’t know if this is a general question or whether they want to know how the Parkinson’s is!’ She responded with, ‘Well, both!’
Maybe I read too much into people’s tone of voice, body language or something about how they look at me when they ask the question. But, it does seem since my diagnosis that there is often a touch of concern in their voice when the question is posed.
I find myself thinking once again… probably over-thinking….’Do they really want to know, or should I just say fine thanks?’
Do I share when I’m having a shitty day, whether it is Parkies related shittiness or just the general kind? It probably depends who is asking the question. We all need someone though that we can say how we actually feel to. Someone we can tell if things are not going well, but equally someone we can celebrate our successes, even if they are small victories.
I am blessed with a husband who will listen – poor man – when I unload when things are not going well, but who also helps me to see the good things in life too. That certainly saves the person at the supermarket checkout from getting chapter and verse of my thoughts and feelings at the time they innocently ask how I am.
So, how am I? Mostly, I am pretty good. I re-read some of my early Blogs and I can see a significant shift in my thoughts and feelings over the 17 months since diagnosis and starting this Blog. At the beginning, I was overwhelmed and very frightened about my future. I cried quite a bit and felt quite dismal. My early Blogs reflected this at times, as I have always tried to be very honest in what I share. Over time though, I have actively sought to focus on the present and enjoying moments of joy with those I love. I look at older people with walkers and wheelchairs and think ‘that will probably be me one day.’ It probably will, but it will be for many others too, just through natural ageing processes, it doesn’t have to be Parkies. I see people at work with brain injuries and strokes and think I am lucky to have Parkies by comparison. My body works pretty well still and I can walk OK, talk OK and hear OK.
So the answer to how am I? Mostly, I am good. Except when I’m not! But, I’m unlikely to tell anyone which I am unless I know them pretty well! For, I have discovered that in the main the person asking doesn’t actually want to know. The response to their enquiry then? ‘Fine thanks’ and walk away!