Do everything you can, as long as you can

Published 5:45 am Saturday, March 24, 2018

Now that winter is rearing its icy head, I am not one of those people who wax nostalgic about fireplaces and heating their homes with open fireplaces or wood/coal burning stoves or furnaces.

I realize that some you are probably tired of hearing me whine about life with Mr. Parkinson but most of you aren’t stuck with the obnoxious bully 24/7. Sometimes it’s simply impossible to ignore him even though complaining is totally useless.

It’s like being back in grade school when the class bully was also the teacher’s favorite little angel.

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A fight breaks out on the playground. The teacher breaks it up and marches everybody back indoors.

She asks who started the fight and every hand in the room goes up, “Roger did” they sing out in unison!

Teacher says, “Roger, Honey, you know you shouldn’t start fights,” and that’s the end of it.

Then, the very next recess, Roger punches little Johnny in the stomach and Johnny runs inside to tell the teacher.

Instead of running outside and fetching Roger, the teacher tells Johnny that, “nobody likes a tattle-tale” and treats him with 10 licks from her “board of education.”

That’s, more or less, what happens when I tell the neurologist that Mr. P is treating me badly. “Sit down here and take your medicine. Here’s a prescription that’s going to cost you 100 bucks.”

I usually try the new stuff for 30 days and nothing really changes except that my stomach hurts, I get the backdoor trots, I can’t sleep, have nightmares when I do doze off and so I eventually stop taking the new med. At which point I have a gradual return to what passes for normal in life with Mr. Parkinson after I’ve paid my dues for being a tattle-tale.

As I’ve mentioned here before, the universal mantra for Parkinson’s patients is “do everything you can, as long as you can.” If you can’t brush your teeth the way you used to, try holding the brush inside your mouth and shaking your head. Do not be laughing at me. It works.

I should probably be filming some of this stuff for YouTube videos. Watching me cut my fingernails, for example, would go viral overnight. Typing this column with the middle finger and thumb of my right hand would get several thousand hits. The most used button on my keyboard is the caps lock key. I can’t hold down the shift key with my thumb and reach most letter keys with my middle finger at the same time but locking and unlocking the caps in rapid succession is a piece of cake. I don’t have to think about. My thumb simply jumps onto and off the caps lock every time it’s supposed to.

However, I am totally stumped (no pun intended) when it comes to cutting my toe nails. I feel like a failed contortionist every time I try and wind up cussing the clippers. So I let them grow out until they start hanging in my socks. At which point I sweet talk Loretta into trimming them off for me.

If the construction industry could replicate the stuff of which my toenails are made, they would be using it as girders for sky scrapers and long bridges. Railroad companies could use it for tracks that are far lighter and more durable than steel. Plus, there’s no evidence that it ever rusts unless the occasional fungi counts as rust.

My wife’s eyesight is not what it used to be so neither of us really trusts her all that much when it comes to working on my toes with a pair of industrial grade clippers that could also serve as bolt cutters. If the light isn’t near perfect, I could lose a toe.

This is why we were sitting on the sunlit front porch, where she could better see things, last Saturday afternoon with my feet up in her lap, both of us grimacing, while she slaved over my toenails. The chore is no fun for either of us and I’m guessing that people passing by were saying to one another, “Lord ain’t it awful what that poor woman has to put up with.”

Said passers-by have no idea how much torture it is for me to have my toes touched. I suspect that Loretta secretly enjoys it and not because she has a foot fetish.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Ike Adams at or on Facebook or 249 Charlie Brown Road, Paint Lick, KY 40461.