As a child I was a member of the Girl Guides, and I guess there's still a little of that girl guide left in me. It's in my nature to always be prepared, thinking ahead, and not putting off tomorrow what I can do today. Living with Gaucher disease and Parkinson's, I would do well to listen to my own good advice that I readily give others, for I've done some pretty stupid things in the past, on occasion leaving my husband questioning my sanity.
When we first married, there was a small loft where we were living at the time, and I had been asking for a storage box to be put away for a quite a while. As many women will understand and attest, what comes high on a woman's priority list is often at the very bottom of her husband's. My husband was working late, and seeing our sturdy metal stepladder next to the loft door, the temptation was just too much to resist. I carefully climbed the few steps whilst clutching the small box painfully under one arm. I made it to the trap door which liberally showered me with dust as it flapped open. I cautiously slid the box just inside and closing the loft door, slowly took one step at a time until I safely reached the floor. A great feeling of accomplishment swept over me and relief that I had not fallen. My husband arrived home, and the very first thing he said in a frustrated voice upon seeing my face was "You've been in the loft!" Looking at him mystified, wondering how he could possibly figure out what I'd been up to, before he'd barely made it through the front door, I asked how he knew. He reached forward and brushed off the white dust and cobwebs on my hair I was wearing like a crown, that had given me away!
I never seem to get away with anything, but please pay heed and do as I say and not as I do! If you have any illness or disability, don't go climbing ladders, standing on stools or chairs to reach something high. I was lucky I didn't have a mishap from my reckless irresponsible behaviour.
Some years later, early one morning, my husband and I lay in bed waiting for the alarm clock to go off. It was barely 06:00, when I suddenly felt the bed jolting violently. I thought it was my husband who was responsible for the disturbance, and he in turn, knew it had to be me with Parkinson's, who was shaking the bed so vigorously. We both turned to look at one another with accusatory annoyance on each of our faces, but immediately realised neither of us were responsible for the tremors. Usually I get to blame Parkinson's for almost anything and everything. It's like having a convenient reliable scapegoat living in the house. "Who did that?" can often be heard, and with innocence written all over my face in a nonchalant convincing well rehearsed voice I reply "Oh it wasn't me, it was Parkinson's!"
As we looked around the room, we noticed pictures on the walls were swaying back and forth, and suddenly we could hear things crashing and breaking in the other room. Now you can blame Parkinson's for an awful lot of things, but this was definitely down to mother nature; it was unmistakably an earthquake. We quickly got out of bed, grabbed our daughter, who at the time was a young child, and the three of us stood huddled under the most robust doorframe in the apartment. The architecture of the slim building with 8 stories was not a structure designed with earthquakes in mind. Living on the top floor, the rocking felt highly exaggerated and as if the swaying of the apartment would never cease.
Once everything had stopped moving, we left the safety of the doorframe and went to examine the damage. Plaster had fallen from the ceiling and a few items had fallen over and broken. Other than that, we were lucky the damage was so little. Others in our area weren't so lucky.
There are certain places one remembers living in, either due to happy events or something out of the ordinary. This particular apartment will be long remembered for the earthquake, a flood during one winter, and a fire that started by old faulty wiring in the electric cupboard on the floor below us. It was with little sadness or regret that we left that apartment and moved to a different area. So who's shaking the bed now you may well ask? Since diagnosed with Parkinson's, I would have to own up and unequivocally say, "it's me"!
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