Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Lesson in PD

The other day I was sitting here in front of the computer uploading new photos to our family website. Rielly-Anne was nursing, so I had to do everything with one hand - the left hand. As I am right-handed, this proved to be a bit challenging. I was not only using the mouse, but I was typing a few things here and there as well. After a couple minutes it dawned on me - this must be how Keith feels when he tries to type, or do anything at all with his left hand!

Every movement I made with my left hand, whether it was clicking the mouse or typing or even taking a sip of coffee, had to be slow, deliberate and directly planned out. I had to think about each action I wanted my hand, arm and fingers to do. I had to make a conscious effort to move them properly and place them where I wanted them to be, and to click or type exactly how I wanted them to. I decided to take it a step further and try to write my name with my left hand. Most of us have done that at some point, at least when we were kids. It is surprising just how difficult that is, especially when you make a point to observe the differences between the two.

After that, I decided to spend the rest of the day using that hand as much as possible. Every time I needed to do something like get a glass of water, use the phone, brush my teeth, I used my left hand. I was amazed at how fast my entire arm, from the shoulder to my fingers, grew tired. And I was exhausted from the effort and the mental concentration it took just to get my arm to cooperate the way I wanted.

I know I will never fully understand what it's like to have PD. Some PWP are affected just on one side of their body, others are affected throughout. There is a huge difference between that and my experiment with just one arm. But it gave me a very small glimpse into what life with PD is like, and because of that, I think I am much more understanding of Keith and what he is up against.

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