My wife says that she can’t understand me half the time. I wonder what it was like when I, as a psychotherapist, was in the middle of conducting a therapy group with people addicted to substances – such as alcohol or xanax – and I would slur my words? That must have looked bad.
Sometimes it is a slur and sometimes I mumble. Sometimes my speech issue occurs by itself and sometimes in a combination with my staggering and confusion (like when I am tired or in an “off” period).
Therefore, there are many occasions in which an observer could easily confuse me as being intoxicated. I know this is not a unique situation to me, I have read the same experiences on just about every blog from a person with Parkinson’s – and those of you who write blogs have had some funny experiences!
I haven’t had to officially use (or should I say, whip out) my wallet card – the one that boldly proclaims in big letters: “I am not intoxicated – I have Parkinson’s! Please contact my family, or doctor, or somebody who knows what the hell they are doing with me!” card.
Okay, so that is not the exact wordage on the card- but pretty darn close. I can only imagine the expression on the police officer’s face when I slur out “Ahhh, owwfisssser, you hab to buhhhhleeeve me, I’m not druhhhnk! I hab, uh, have a card, see?”, as I slowly and while shaking, reach for my wallet while stumbling around. Sounds like a bad scenario doesn’t it! Well, it hasn’t happened yet thank goodness!
I have had those awkward moments of getting some evil stares from “normal” people (and even some older people who parked next to me in another designated disabled spot) when I have used my disabled parking tag (like I said before, I try to only use it when I really need to – which is becoming more and more often). I have also seen people get very upset when I used a line cutting pass at an amusement park, when on vacation, once (the kind of accommodation that allows you to not have to wait in long lines at an amusement park for rides – and you get to go on quickly).
People get angry because they only see that I look young – and they probably think that there is nothing wrong with me, or that it is just a little “back pain”.
Many may think that that I am just another person out there that is abusing the system. However, I am thankful these accommodations exist – otherwise I would avoid going to certain places with my family and miss out.
I am also lucky that I haven’t fell. Well, haven’t fell that much. Okay, I have had a bad stair incident recently. Not to mention falling on my face when I had that bronchitis virus thing last month, which combined with my Parkinson’s made me very wobbly and woozy. I try to carry my can—-errrr! I mean “walking stick” with me (remember – I am not going to call it a cane!) I do get embarrassed still though when walking with it.
So, I guess if you have Parkinson’s, and it is advanced enough, then carry your wallet card – which you can get free from the National Parkinson Foundation. Be glad that you may act drunk, but not have any hangovers tomorrow! Unfortunately, you don’t get the buzz of alcohol either (at least not in a positive way). Also, if you do have a “walking stick”, and need it, then use it when needed – and especially on stairs! Keep on!