Micrographia and more

I always wrote small… but without added concentration and effort, my handwriting had become unintelligible and even smaller.

The weakness in a person’s hands not only impacts handwriting, but proves equally difficult to open bottles, shuffle cards, operate a hand held can opener, etc…

Besides the exercises in the YouTube link for flexibility and strength,

I tried the exercise as described in a post (see below)… and have taken a sampling of my handwriting, before and after.

“crazy hand and arm exercise” Bend your elbows with hands in front of shoulders. Vigorously shoot your hands and arms in front of you as if you are flinging water off your hands, with fingers stretched wide as you can. Do this ten times as fast as you can…then write your name. Try it…before and after. Learned it in PT. I do this plus vigorous arm swinging, alternating sides in order to get my bra on, lol.

I wrote, did ten hand flings… and did the second writing, did an additional 10 flings… and saw additional clarity. 🙂

Quanked

Image may contain: text

You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “Fake it till you make it.” I need to work harder to adopt the attitude. 😦 I REALLY appreciate it when people at church tell me; “Your face has more expression today…it isn’t so deadpan.” and “Your voice seems stronger today.” or “Your looking good.”

Image may contain: coffee cup and drink

The truth is… I can’t tell if there is some improvement or if I am just figuring out how to regulate my supplementation that aids me to keep myself awake and energized.

When one of my wolf pack sisters told me today … “You look way better than you did,when I saw you during the week.” I should have simply said “Thank You.’ But, I crinkled my nose, in disbelief… because the time had lapsed for my supplementation…and my get up and go had got up and left.

The word of the day is QUANKED. Listed in “A Glossary of Words Used in the County of Wiltshire,” by Dartnell and Goddard (1893), it means “overpowered by fatigue.”

The organization is already in place

I am including a link, today, to a very useful resource. There are multiple worksheets available for downloading to assist in tracking: including

  • 11 Wellness and Lifestyle self-assessments
  • 15 Symptom Checklists
  • 8 Medical Information ‘snapshots’

https://www.davisphinneyfoundation.org/resources/worksheets-and-downloads/

There is a LOT of great information on the Davis Phinney Foundation website.

Exercise Element # 3

Taking my post on procastination and baby steps to heart, I decided to try for two minutes, as a starting point, working on a skill I perceive I have lost. Skipping. Holding onto a shoulder high bar, for support, I simply attempted to hop, alternating… one foot at a time. At first, neither foot would leave the floor. But after numerous attempts, I could tell my left foot was lifting slightly from the floor. My right leg drags more when I walk, so it was no surprise that it was even slower to respond, but by the end of my two minutes, I thought I felt a little separation. Goal for today … three minutes. I saw a minut improvement. 🙂

Parkinson’s is unique … as symptoms seem to fluctuate greatly with the level of attentiveness you’re giving to the task at hand. Therefore, your exercise program needs to incorporate activities that make you multitask and challenge your mind and body at the same time. There are a variety of ways to do this. Playing games with a variety of rules, layers, tasks and challenges is a great place to start. Also incorporating exercises that are new to you where you have to concentrate fully on learning the form and execution is wonderful when it comes to strengthening mind-body connection .

What follows is from Sarah from Invigorate:

Element # 3: MENTALLY Challenging 

Multitasking can become a real challenge for the Parkinson’s brain which is why it’s crucial to practice it on a regular basis (well before you need to use it!). 

This can be most easily done by adding some mental challenges on top of exercise you’re already doing. 

Whether it’s walking, swimming, doing your PWR!Moves or LSVT exercises, simply add a few of the challenges below:

Counting backwards by 6s
Naming objects in your environment
Listing items in the category (ie. authors, states, vegetables, NFL teams, etc.)
Toss and catch a small tennis ball or juggling scarves like bees…what other ideas can you think of?
*Key: Aimed to maintain your pace and form– the tendency is to slow down!

Does your current program challenge you? Could it challenge you more? 

Remember: Embrace the change that the challenge brings!
 
 

Exercise Element #2

I attended a Zumba class on Saturday. I took my exercise poles with me.. to ensure I didn’t loose my balance. My attempts to follow the routines verified, my coordination is poor… I can’t skip or even do a little hop, but at least I enjoyed the social interaction.

I perceive I need to set aside more segments of time for daily exercise, one to focus on strength, one to focus on hands, one to focus on coordination, one to focus on posture, etc… if I am going to beat the odds.

[But taking a clue from yesterday’s post.. on procastination & baby steps.. I’ll take my time as I build onto my protocol]

Having a program that is physically challenging means that your muscles get tired, you get out of breath. It’s not comfortable. It’s hard but it doesn’t hurt. There’s a difference! Tell me if this is you…

You’re working out and you stop to think: “This is so hard! Can’t it be over yet???”

Sarah, of Invigorated says, “You’re entitled to a few complaints here and there!” But know this: “If it’s not challenging you, it’s not changing you!”

Element # 2: PHYSICALLY Challenging

“This can be a powerful affirmation if embraced and taken to heart… and is a KEY element to an effective Parkinson’s exercise program.”

“And it requires challenge. After all, why would it need to change if you can already comfortably accomplish the task at hand?”

“Your brain is wired to survive. This means it adapts when you’re trying to do something that you aren’t great at doing. It makes you stronger, faster, more observant of your surroundings. It helps you thrive.”

“This is why a physically challenging program is so important. Most of the time you can tell you’re working hard if your heart rate is up, at you’re slightly out of breath, and you can’t sustain that activity indefinitely.”

 

 

*Please Note: Be sure to check with your healthcare team before boosting the intensity of your exercise program. 

Strategies for eye care

May 2017,         I complained…”Something is wrong with my eyes.”  For the past three yearly exams, when I receive the glasses, everything seems ok.  But then I find I have so much trouble focusing, I find myself unable to read things like name tags , seeing everything in a blurr. Texting was becoming nearly impossible. Auto correct just added to my embarrasing typos.

Then, last year, I finally was referred to an Eye Dr, who determined my difficulty in seeing was caused by Oblique double vision.  They pointed out I have an accompanying tilt to the right…akaPisa Syndrome.  I could no longer use bifocals and transiitioned to using reading glasses with a prism and single vision glasses for longer distances.

This was the diagnosis which led me to discover, in my internet research, the first clue that led us towards the diagnosis… “…indicates oblique double vision & Pisa syndrome is a rare clinical entity usually associated with underlying neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple System Atrophy.”

Today, I returned for my annual eye exam… the prescriptions needed tweaked. [and I found out our insurance only helps with eye wear once every two years. 😦 ]

Because my facial feelings are diminished, I do not blink frequently…and I don’t remember to use eye drops regularly, because I don’t realize they are dry. He gave me a strategie… to have four bottles of lubricant eye drops… placed strategically, where I’ll see them to be reminded to put drops in my eyes a minimum of four times a day.

He also told me I have an eye infection (who knew?) My instructions are to wash my eyes with baby shampoo and then put a salve on my eyes as I go to sleep.

I share the Doctor’s advice, for the benefit of others who also forget to blink.

Blood Pressure

It appears, from my research, a problem often experienced by people with a Parkinson’s diagnosis is fluctuations in blood pressure. Fortunately, it hasn’t become an issue for me, yet… still, for my friends.. I wanted to post what I found…

Again.. from the article on fatigue… from The Invigorated.

Out of sight, out of mind. Such as it is with blood pressure.

If you’re chronically fatigued or exhausted, and not tracking your blood pressure regularly, you could be missing a huge piece of the energy puzzle.

If you feel woozy, exhausted, fatigued, heavy, or lightheaded you may be combating Orthostatic Hypotension (OH).

OH is a sudden drop in blood pressure when you change positions due to blood rushing away from your head into your extremities. It typically occurs while going from laying down to sitting up, or sitting to standing. It can contribute to falls and may happen after meals (called “post-prandial” hypotension) when all the blood is rushing to your digestive system.

If this is you, consider slowly changing position, staying hydrated, and wearing compression stockings to keep blood from pooling in your legs.

When your blood pressure is chronically low, you can have reduced blood flow to your organs and brain – something called Chronic Hypoperfusion.

It’s no surprise that this can make you feel drained.

While hypoperfusion takes a multi-faceted approach, the very best thing you can be doing is staying properly hydrated so your blood pressure stays elevated and within normal limits.

salt.jpg

No matter what your issue is, if you’re not hydrated you’re making everything worse!

If you don’t have your hand up…

Again,,, I found this insightful info on the Invigorated site… . Raise your hand if you’ve ever had this thought:

“I could do all the things I need to do for my Parkinson’s symptoms, if only I had more energy!”

If you don’t have your hand up, it’s probably because you don’t have the energy.

Exhaustion and fatigue are some of the most challenging Parkinson’s symptoms – alongside apathy and lack of motivation – to pinpoint and improve.

)ther areas you can investigate to help you determine what may be draining your energy, sleep, blood pressure, nutrition & social health.

Today I address Movement – her favorite topic!

Lily-Ponds-Pictures-3.jpg

When you’re not actively using your heart, your lungs, and your muscles to move fluid around your body, it sits inside you like water in a stagnant pond.

On the flip side, when you’re moving around – exercising and being active – your body’s fluids are moving around like a river, rushing from one point to another. As you move fluid around, you also push nutrients to your organs, flush out toxins, and help your body heal.  [Remember??… Stay Hydrated]

This brings fresh life and fresh energy to your entire being.

Get up and move first thing in the morning, if you can.

It can be tough to get moving first thing in the morning, so start with a basic stretching routine. As you gently introduce movement, you’ll notice your energy start to perk up.

Start gentle, then slowly increase your intensity for a minimum of 10 minutes.Stretching is wonderful, but exercise works best when you raise the intensity and your heart rate.

Start with 10 minutes. Set a timer. Tell yourself, “I don’t have to enjoy this 10 minutes, but I’m committed to following through.” If you finish 10 minutes and still want to quit, then you can. On the other hand, if you’re feeling good, see if you can add 5 more minutes.

Add on extra time slowly and soon you’ll be able to workout for 30, 45, or even 60 minutes. It takes time to build endurance, and the important part is to do a little more today than you did yesterday.

Give your new program 3 weeks to kick in. Most people require some time to adjust, but as you become more active, you’ll likely notice you have more endurance throughout the day and your feelings of fatigue will start to lift.

Staying Hydrated

I found this great information on the Invigorated site:

Staying Hydrated with Parkinsons: Going Beyond “Drink More Water”

glass of water with orange slices

“You need to drink MORE WATER!”

You’ve heard it a million times.Every health practitioner worth their salt has recited these words hundreds if not thousands of times to their clients. However, there is more to staying properly hydrated than just chugging 8 glasses of water every day and the implications can be life changing.


Imagine the potted plant in your home that sits in the corner.

Similar to a water-starved plant, your cells can become chronically dehydrated .  Re-hydration has to be strategic.

Similar to a water-starved plant, your cells can become chronically dehydratedRe-hydration has to be strategic. If it hasn’t been watered in a while the soil gets dry and crumbly. When you add water at this point the soil isn’t able to absorb a majority of it and it slips through the cracks and out the bottom of the pot. No matter how much water you pour over that poor guy he’s not going to re-hydrate properly!

This is similar to what happens to your cells when you have been chronically dehydrated. Our cells are less able to properly absorb the water we put into our system. This excess of water in our digestive tract leaves us feeling water-logged and making frequent trips to the bathroom.

Similar to the wilted plant, our body can’t perform its daily functions without proper hydration to your cells.

Proper cell hydration is a fundamental issue in wellness. Without it:

  • You can’t get proper nutrients into your cells (here come achy joints and painful muscles)
  • Your mitochondria (which are the energy-producing “powerhouse” of each cell) can’t produce the energy you need to heal and function
  • You can’t make digestive enzymes or hormones (hello constipation, nutritional deficiencies, and anxiety)
  • You can’t repair your DNA (fast track to looking and feeling older than you are!)
  • Your neurons are less efficient at sending electrical signals to each other (brain fog, anyone?)
  • You can’t flush out nasty toxins that contribute to disease and disarray.
  • As you can imagine, regaining the ability to properly hydrate can have a drastic impact on how you move, think, and feel on a day-to-day basis. Implementing the following into your daily hydration routine is an important part of regaining your vitality:

Balance Your Sodium

Adding 1/4 tsp of Celtic or Himalayan sea salt to a quart (32 oz) of water helps assist your kidneys at properly absorbing water from your bloodstream. Specifically using Celtic or Himalayan sea salt offers 60+ trace minerals and electrolytes that assist your cells in absorbing the water molecules and using them to your advantage.

(Afraid of overdosing on sodium? 8 ounces of this cocktail contains 115mg of sodium compared to 8 ounces of Pedialyte that contains 260mg.)

Use a Water Filter

It’s important to remove them from your daily routine whenever you can. Remove toxins and chemicals from your tap water with a filtration system.

Hydrate in the Morning

Start your day with a glass of water as this is the time of day where your body is housing its highest concentration of toxins and is most dehydrated. (Add a squeeze of lemon if you’re feeling fancy and want a digestion boost.)

Pick the Right Water Bottle

Avoid plastic water bottles whenever possible (even if it says it is BPA-free) as chemicals released from these bottles can also contribute to your daily toxin load. Choosing stainless steel or glass bottles are best.

Cheers to your most hydrated self!

Sloth… but not slothful

John & I have shared housing accommodations with a daughter, Emily and her five children for the past couple years as my Parkinson’s symptoms have become more pronounced. The seventeen year old, Megan, has been aware and come to my rescue when I lost my balance in the pool, needed help to carry things, open doors or bottles, etc… She also, kindly, lets me know when I have food on my chin. 🙂

I knew it takes me a long time to eat, but I guess I thought it was just a chewing and swallowing issue, until Megan observed… “Look, grandma is eating like a sloth!” At that point, I realized how slowly I was moving the fork toward my mouth. I had to laugh.

Emily’s children know she likes Sloths so they have gifted her with a ‘sloth shirt’ and stuffed plush sloths. So when she was showing me her collection of Valentine Sloths, naming them off…Here is the daddy, the mommy, the baby… I said “And you have ME” 🙂

Yes, they have me… and I have them.. my family are my tribe… my wolfpack… my Valentines

Slothful mean not easily aroused to activity. .. lazy, suggests a disinclination to work or to take trouble to do anything..  Apathy seems to fit here. A slothful person doesn’t have a claim on a good work ethic.

On Valentines Day, 2019, I have an appointment to have my condition evaluated at the University of Florida Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration Fixel Center. To demonstrate MY good work ethic I have compiled a list of questions I hope to ask.

I’ll try to not drop the ball… and report back on the feedback I receive.