OK, Call me Scrooge. I gave up on Christmas gifts (giving and getting) a few years back. Too much stuff. But this Christmas, I realize how many gifts I have received through the year — some of them from unexpected sources.
—Birds — A dear friend of ours gave us a hummingbird feeder as a housewarming present in 2013, and this year, Paul has installed some further bird feeders. So we now have an active backyard full of beautiful birds.
—Insurance — After my little trip and fall adventure in October, I received some spectacular medical bills ($7k for the emergency room and CAT scans??!!) Thank God insurance covered nearly all of the non-dental charges.
—Medical professionals — After (electronically) meeting my new Canadian buddy in Prince Edward Island who in her rural area had to go through long journeys and longer time to find neurologists and a PD diagnosis, I am grateful for my nearby and excellent neurologist. (Check out Natasha’s year-end blog post, my inspiration for this post.) Plus I have ready access to specialized physical therapists, music therapists, PD researchers, etc. And I had nearby dental professionals available on an emergency basis to deal with my shoved-in two front teeth. (Braces are off now, thank you.)
—My vocal coaches — I have a reasonable voice and have loved singing all my life. I get to sing in a chorus for (ahem) singers of “a certain age” (hence the cute name “Silver Sounds”), and this year I had the fun experience of soloing at a jazz night club. Parkinson’s may eventually make my voice softer, but for now, I can still belt ’em out! Thanks to my talented and patient coaches, Dina, Hans, and Paula.
—Walking companions — I’m in a couple different walking groups and I’m glad I have the opportunity to walk with others, and enjoy their company. They also cause me to walk just a tad faster than when I walk alone. (Still need to work on the huffy-puffy.)
—The Great White Whale — This is what we call our truck camper. We took an incredible two-week trip down to the national parks in Utah, along with several trips in our home state of Washington. For 2015…? Maybe another trip to the Canadian Rockies, which we last visited using a tent, with teeth chattering although it was August!
—Jet Fuel — Yes, we did our bit to contribute to global warming: the jets carried us to Costa Rica (February) and Northern Italy (September). Fabulous trips, and we are especially grateful for the excellent guides who pointed out invisible critters and birds in Costa Rica. I am determined to travel while I can! For 2015, we are thinking about pursuing Croatia/Slovenia trip that didn’t quite come together in 2014.
—Big Pharma — I gave someone my card the other day and he looked carefully at the blog name, then asked if I had Parkinson’s. This is not an unusual question — my symptoms are not only very mild, but are made virtually invisible with my daily dose of what I refer to as my “magic pills” — Ropinirole, a dopamine agonist.
—My Date For Life — Last, but most certainly not least, I get to have the love and support of someone who looks exactly like George Clooney.