Saturday, November 20, 2010

regaining normalcy

It’s been a week now since my night in the hospital and I am finally feeling nearly back to normal. That virus the docs claimed caused my problem has pretty much run its course now. But even though the virus has been banished, that’s only a part of my returning to normal.

Anytime I get the flu or a cold or the current disease du jour, it takes a lot more out of me than you might otherwise expect. Not only do I have to battle the illness, but I have to somehow maintain the everyday level of fitness that keeps me functioning with PD. It is very difficult when you are feeling feverish to stretch tight muscles to stave off the rigidity that is part of Parkinson Disease. I’m quite conscientious about my everyday exercise routine. That daily routine I’m convinced is what keeps me capable of performing normal everyday tasks.

After a couple days of no exercise, I can feel my body slumping into weakness. I begin to move even slower. I begin to feel my legs weaken. I’ve been known to stumble more easily. I find myself slumping forward, my shoulders rounding. And the tremors that are generally controlled with medication become more prevalent and uncontrolled as I lose strength. And because my appetite suffers, I don’t usually get the necessary nutrition that helps me stay strong. Consequently I lose weight and thus the muscle mass I need to fight off the debilitating effects of PD.

So even though the virus that leveled me for most of the week is gone, the aftereffects will take a couple weeks or more to overcome. I lost ten pounds over the past week, weight I can hardly afford to lose. With all my usual exercise my body has little fat, so the weight loss is muscle mass. I’m not a big guy—the most I’ve ever weighed is 166 lbs—and right now I’m reduced to 152. So it will take me awhile to regain those pounds and the muscle that makes them. PD patients are more prone to weight loss to begin with because of the energy we expend through the tremors and involuntary movements that consume much of our energy. Thus it will take extra effort for me to regain the lost weight and strength that is the residual effect of the illness.

Tomorrow I will head downstairs into the gym to start on the recovery routine. And with my returning appetite I should be able to add a few new pounds to my diminished physique.

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