I Dream In Chocolate

chcolate strawberries

 

A little over a week ago I did a blog on #gratitude and my experience with Parkinson’s over on the #RSSOS blog I also blog on.

I can’t speak to how others experience Parkinson’s, only on my own experience. Right now I have a slight tremor and that’s about it. It’s beginning to seem it may stay like that for quite awhile and I appreciate that, I truly do.

I will say, however, I think you get treated differently as a patient, when you’re older. I say this, because, besides giving birth, my only other experience with being injured and the health care system, happened over 20 years ago.

I was hit driver’s side, head on by a garbage truck coming around the corner who lost control and came onto my lane going about 45 mph. The front of my car, a Cricket if I remember correctly, crunched down like a thin tin can, until it hit something around the wheel, or close to it.

The truck stopped, everything shuddered and it continued forward. The window shattered into a zillion small pieces held together, by what seemed afterwards to be something like the mac-tac we had used to cover our schoolbooks as a child. It then wrapped around my head. The seatbelt shoulder restraint gave way and it felt as if my body was thrown sideways. One hip hit the gear shift and my right arm seemed to turn into spaghetti, allowing me to touch the car door on the other side briefly, while maintaining a death grip on the steering wheel. Thankfully the car, along with me, was thrown free from the garbage truck.

I was extremely lucky since I walked out of it. But I didn’t escape unscathed. I had constant migraines for months afterwards along with neck and back problems that have continued over the years. Still, I was lucky. I survived and was able to start a family and, basically, have a life.

So what does that have to do with Parkinson’s ? We’ll skip over the fact that the areas of my body most affected by Parkinson’s are the same areas injured most during the accident. The big difference is doctors and therapists assumed I would recover and lead a normal life.

The ER doctor referred me to a physiotherapist that worked outside the hospital, so he ‘could push me harder.’ The physiotherapist’s mantra seemed to be, “I’ve worked on football players that have played football with a broken neck. You can do it.” I was worried about driving because I had constant headaches and felt dizzy sometimes. “Keep driving,”” I was told. If you give up you’ll stop trying and it will be harder to recover. Out of respect for my fellow drivers I wouldn’t follow that advice now. I worried about mixing up words and was told it was within normal limits and just act as if I’d never been injured.

It felt as if I was in some weird type of bubble, divorced from real life. Somewhere I heard of cervical fusion operations which seemed like a great idea at the time. Not so fast. No way was anyone going to do that surgery on me until at least two years of constant, unstoppable pain, that stopped me from doing pretty well anything.

Fortunately, within a year I was much better. And at this stage in my life I don’t think anyone would suggest I have a neck operation.

Parkinson’s was different. I think it took two years before the doctor stopped asking if my balance was off, if I felt dizzy. No, maybe sometimes? Did I drool yet and a pack of other questions that made me go, “God no,” and wonder if I could just shoot myself now. Truly, it wasn’t a future I wanted to think about.

So I focused on my chocolate mysteries and a world filled with chocolate. Maybe it was a cop out but I couldn’t see where focusing on my doctor’s vision would help anything at all. I pictured my heroine, Maxine. In her mid-twenties, she’s given up a career in banking to follow her dreams. I visualized a chocolate shop filled with chocolate delights. I saw her catering events

Maxine

in interesting locals and I pictured Heath, her sidekick along with Detective Patrick Shannon, a hot detective who is in and out of her life. I figured if I was going to drool it might as well be over something worthwhile.Detective Shannon

That doesn’t mean I ignored my illness. I read everything I could about it and took some of the medications my doctor suggested. When I questioned him about others he couldn’t give me a good, concrete reason to take them and there were some pretty big downsides. I asked him about yoga and dance but he really didn’t know anything. I did yoga for years for my back, though, so except for a period to heal my rotator cuff shoulder, I kept doing it. Then I added dance exercise classes. Because I enjoy them and I can.

Some of what I’ve learned helped me come up with a medical romantic suspense series which I’m working on now. But even things inspired by actual experiences won’t necessarily be recognizable. That’s what makes fiction interesting. It’s not bound by the rules of normal life.

To share some of Maxines favorite chocolate recipes, click on the booklet.

recipeBook (1)

The latest book in my Death by Chocolate series is Soul Mates. Click on the cover for further information.

Soul Mates Cover


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11 Replies to “I Dream In Chocolate”

  1. Thanks for the inspiring article, Pat. Each of us faces challenges–health, family, professional. Yes, hanging in there is all part of life.

  2. First of all, {{hugs}}, I’m truly amazed by your story and your perseverance over the odds. You are an inspiration! Unless you’ve been in a serious accident I don’t think you can really comprehend the lasting effects. Doctors don’t get that. I’m sorry you didn’t get the support you needed, though maybe their insensitivity benefited you in the end, hard to say.
    Parkinson’s is scary, I hope they can find a cure or at least something to help without the side effects before it progresses too far.
    Any time you want to talk I’m up for a coffee date 🙂

    • Hi Jacquie

      Coffee sounds good but not as a dump session. Parkinson’s is scary but they’re beginning to think I have a form where I can stay like this for a long time. As for the car accident what I meant to point out is that as a young person you’re pushed harder to help you recover. When you’re older you’re encouraged to make a will. Also in fairness, I had a neurologist who was new to Victoria at least, and I think to him 50+ is OLD, OLD, OLD.

  3. Never give up, Pat. We hear of miracles all the time. You’re young and that always helps. And… you’re truly an inspiration to the rest of us who don’t have such challenges to face.
    Your chocolate escapes seem like a fabulous idea to me:-))))
    XO

  4. Pat, my Mom had Parkinson’s. Anything you can do to improve flexibility and balance is good. Yoga definitely! Since you love chocolate so much, you may need to limit your consumption to writing your delightful books. With Parkinson’s meds, chocolate is a NO. But you probably know this already. Thank you for your inspiring post.

  5. Hi Joan

    So far chocolate hasn’t been considered a no no but the meds tend to increase as the disease progresses. Maybe I’ll enjoy some chocolate now before it’s too late. 🙂

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