Morning Has Broken:

My phone alarm goes off at 6.45am, every day; it’s time to take my medication.  This week, the sultry, velvet voice of Ella Fitzgerald singing ‘Summertime’, in a duet with the magical Louis Armstrong, has been my favourite way for the start of each new day to be announced.

Photo of Ella Fitzgerald(Photo: Ella Fitzgerald.  Source: dunderbeck1980 on

Like the First Morning:

The delight of hearing the voices of these legendary performers initially fills my mind with joy and I forget.  I forget that I have Parkinson’s.  Just for a sweet moment or two, before I move, I feel like the me I was long ago.  I smile as I hear Ella’s soulful rendition that summertime is a time of easy living.  Well, I’m looking forward to summer, in that case.  Then, I try to move my body.

I remember.

Blackbird Has Spoken, Like the First Bird:

Outside, I can hear the birds singing and chirping their vibrant chatter.  It’s just a ‘normal’ day, right?  What is ‘normal’, though?

I look ‘normal’.  Yet, my muscles are tight and cramping, my hands pained and then begins the almost invisible spasm of arm muscles.  My right leg, right shoulder and into the right side of my neck are all tight as if in great tension at the apprehension of a new day.  Pain.  Sometimes the muscles there are set like concrete.  My right foot is sometimes jolted into a cramp as soon as I move it.  My face becomes the expressionless observation post from which I witness the sun shining into the bedroom; hope being delivered by natures light.

I am quiet. I am used to this now.  I always chuckle to myself, even if I feel overwhelmed by the effort, as I somehow manage to swing myself up and round to a sitting position; working my body into gentle stretching in readiness for reaching for my water and medication.  Pain and difficulty.  My main task is not to drop my glass of water.

Mission accomplished.  I lay down, somewhat ungracefully, trying to ignore the back pain and I manage to return to sleep.

Praise for the Singing:

My alarm goes off againElla is back.  She croons a beautiful song; ‘Fly Me to the Moon’, to remind me to get out of bed, for ‘normal’ people are already up and about.

Praise for the Morning:

A little later, in my version of a ‘normal morning’, while resembling an aged Chimpanzee stumbling rather awkwardly over craggy rocks, I manage to slowly make my way downstairs.  There is no elegance in the morning.  Sometimes I ‘just stop’, en-route!


Seriously! I just stop dead in my tracks!  Still.  Waiting.  Not moving.  I do not choose to stop.  Parkinson’s chooses that.  It’s called ‘freezing’ and is a symptom of Parkinson’s.  It just happens; mostly in doorways or at steps.  This symptom happens a lot.  I just pause, imagining how bizarrely comical this must appear or, sometimes, I am just unable to think.  I just exist.  I cannot make movement happen.  Then, suddenly, my ‘freeze frame’ returns to movement and I continue the painful and slightly ridiculous performance to get myself to the kitchen.

Once there, I aim for a glass of water and, by this time, my next dose of medication.  Tiring.  I let our excited dogs out into the garden and I make my own bathroom pit-stop, as my meds kick-in.  I battle the lingering tiredness as I awaken more fully.  Our dogs head back to their beds until I can give them their breakfast.


With our bathroom downstairs, I immediately draw a hot bath; the main remedy for my cramping muscles and painful lower back.  Bliss.  Sometimes I cannot use the bath.  So, I shower.  Sometimes I cannot shower, so I use the bath.  Sometimes I cannot use the bath or shower, so I wash.  These are the decisions that must be made.  I make them cautiously, for I have learnt several times the pain of falling down in the bathroom.

I will refrain from boring your further with a description of how ridiculous, long and complex the act of getting dressed into my clothes is.

All this effort and difficulty, before I even go about my day.

Praise for Them Springing, Fresh From the World:

Are you aware that Tulips are the international symbol for Parkinson’s Disease Awareness?


Why am I sharing this peek into my morning routine?  Well, April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and April 11th was World Parkinson’s Awareness Day.  I can put my pride aside and describe aspects of living with Parkinson’s, in the hope that raising awareness may help educate society abut life with disability and life with Parkinson’s.  If that helps even one person to have a better experience in the future, by educating others, then I have achieved something meaningful.

(C) Dean Parsons.  April 2018.




4 Responses

  1. Thank you for this insight of what a typical morning might entail for those with Parkinson’s.

    My hands have been shaking for a couple of years now. I figured it was due to carpal tunnel syndrome worsening. Upon visiting my nurse practitioner, she gave me a prescription (Propanalol) and told me that if it helps, then I have Parkinson’s. If I do not notice any change in my hands’ shaking, then I probably don’t have Parkinson’s. Hmmm.

    I was not aware, until reading your article that Parkinson’s causes pain! I have degenerative disc disease and other spinal issues, but I still wonder if some of my pains are Parkinson’s related, especially since my paternal grandmother ended up with Parkinson’s in her very old age.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your experience with us, and sending healing vibrations your way.

    • Hi and thank you for reading and for your kind comment.

      I’m sorry you’ve suffered these symptoms and I do hope you get the answers you need and deserve to be provided with, soon.

      I must say that I have never heard of Propanalol being used as a diagnostic tool. That said, I am not a medical professional and so I could be wrong.

      From everything that I have read and experienced, it would usually be Levodopa that would be the diagnostic medicine, or a MAO-B inhibitor such as Rasagiline. As stated, medicine isn’t my field, however, so please do ask for a Neurologist or Movement Disorder Specialist to advise you.

      Yes, Parkinson’s causes pain and also how we move has a domino effect on other parts of the body, so pain is definitely ‘up there’ as a leading symptom.

      It is interesting that your Grandmother developed Parkinson’s. I certainly would not wish this disease on you but I can say that the sooner you are diagnosed and given the right medication, the sooner you can regain something of yourself and become more active in life once again.

      I wish you well and, again, many thanks for reading. Dean.

      • Thank you so much for your response. I’m noticing my voice starting to shake. I’ll wait until September, when I turn 65 and my Medicare kicks in, then get the medical ball rolling with a specialist.

        Meanwhile, take care of yourself and thank you so much for your informative blog!

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