THE BLOG

Winning the Fight

20/02/2014 13:12 | Updated 21 April 2014

When someone you care about is struck down with ill health, it's natural one wants to help in any way possible. I would like to dedicate this week's article to a dear friend who is battling a serious health issue. Living far away makes it difficult to be of any practical help, and feeling pretty useless, I'm reduced to simply writing as often as I can. So to you my dear friend - know that you're constantly in my thoughts and prayers. With your darling wife steadfastly by your side, devoted family and friends have stepped up to the mark showing their support. Keep up your spirits and determination for we all have faith you'll win the fight.

Some friends stick around for years through thick and thin, and others appear in our lives for just a season. You may not see a friend for a long time, yet when together, you immediately pick up from where you left off, as if no time has passed at all. Sometimes you'll find much in common with someone, immediately identifying with each other, or there can be huge differences, as opposites attract, each bringing something new to the relationship. A good friend is a precious gift to be cherished and valued.

Parkinson's is a non-returnable gift that no one wants, and can't simply be passed onto someone else, making the rounds like the unwanted box of chocolates that never gets opened, or the heavy fruit cake sealed in a tin, given from person to person like some odd adult variation of the children's party game "parse the parcel".

Too old for children's games, my body feels older than my age due to Gaucher disease and Parkinson's, but within me there still lingers the essence of a child. Our inner child is often stifled by protocol and what is considered appropriate adult behaviour. Although my inner child is still very much part of me, days of pillow fights or having fits of giggles are long gone. Yet I remain young at heart, with a sense of humour, I try to see the funny side of things.

Ever driven alone in your car, singing at the top of your voice accompanying a favourite song on the radio? I'm sure most of us have been guilty of this at some time or other. Years ago, on a particularly warm day, windows wound down, singing my heart out, I came to a halt at a red light. As I continued to sing with full gusto, tapping my fingers in rhythm on the steering wheel, I happened to glance to my right, where a man in a car was staring at me with astonishment. Red faced I abruptly stopped singing, but thankfully seconds later the lights turned green, and off we drove. "What the heck" I thought, I'll probably never see him again, and so I resumed singing with Cher. I arrived at the next set of traffic lights, and lo and behold, yes you've guessed it, I pulled up alongside the same car with the man who'd heard me singing (I use the word 'singing' loosely for I usually restrict my performances to the bathroom where no one can hear me, yet the acoustics are great as I sing into my make-believe microphone that strongly resembles a toothbrush!). Come on, own up; we've all been there, done that!

A few years ago, on one of the many occasions I've been hospitalized, having no television in the ward, I was getting a little bored. My husband brought an MP3 player for me, and after a quick lesson, I mastered how to listen to my favourite music with ear plugs so I wouldn't disturb the other patients. One afternoon, as I was laying in bed, eyes closed, enjoying listening to music which made the time pass so much quicker, I was suddenly rudely disturbed by a nurse poking me in the arm. Opening my eyes I looked up at her amused expression. Pulling out the earplugs, she told me they could hear me singing all the way down the corridor at the nurses station, and although she was glad I was feeling so much better, could I please refrain from singing out loud as some of the patients were complaining. I had no idea I'd been singing out loud and did feel sorry for the patients who had been subjected to my singing which leaves much to be desired.

Even if you can't hold a tune, it feels good to sing. It comes as no surprise that scientists have growing evidence claiming not only does singing make you feel good, it has a range of health benefits too. Therefore in fighting Gaucher and Parkinson's I'll continue to sing but maybe restrict my repertoire to the house.
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