Thanks so much to those who were able to donate to our walk this past Saturday! It meant a lot to all of us and it was a wonderful event. (For those who were not able to, but would like to it is still possible here: Margie’s 3P Unity Walk page.)
We had over 20 people on our 3P team participate and in all there were many hundreds of people there. Our 3P team collectively raised over $16,000, 100% of which goes to PD research. We even caught the one good window of sunny weather for our walk!
Special thanks to Margie for creating a 3P team and leading us throughout the day.
I was playing this guy in the club in the side room about 4 years ago and it was a close match. After a lengthy rally, I won the point with a fantastic decisive forehand shot that should have sent a sonic boom across the main room and toward the center of Pleasantville, because I’m quite sure the speed on that ping pong ball broke the sound barrier. Hell of a shot. But the thing of it is, there was another explosion. The guy I was playing, who was usually composed and sedate (and happened to be Italian), went berserk. Mamma mia! I’m talking insane fury here. Murderous rage. Lucky thing, I still had good reflexes at the time, because I managed to duck the incoming paddle that he hurled, which was approaching my neck at the speed of light (okay, okay, maybe only Mach II, I don’t want to exaggerate). And then my pisan started to fight. No, not with me – he spared me. His ire was directed at the wall, which he slugged several times with his bare hands and which he bested by producing 3 holes, all of which coincidentally matched his fist size. A little while later, after his blood pressure had abated somewhat, we continued our match. And, eh, he won. (As a matter of fact, I don’t think I got another point. But as a consolation I was still alive.)
Why am I telling you this? Don’t be silly – it’s not just to fill out another week’s blog. And It’s not to magnify my phenomenal shot. (It was fantastic! Just an amazing show of artistry with a paddle. Sorry it’s not on video tape. Too bad – the nation’s loss.) No, sir. I’m writing this to talk about anger. And stress. These are subjects I happen to know a lot about. How come? Because I’m angry a lot and stressed out most of the time. That’s why. I’m an expert, so listen up.
My first nugget of sapience is this: Anger is bad. (Are you writing this down?) Not a good emotion, even if you feel you’ve been wronged somehow, it will redound to your own harm. Remember what Nixon said when he resigned? His famous words were ‘Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.’ For once, Tricky Dick got it right, but let’s express it slightly more neurologically. It’s the cortisol that will destroy you. We produce this stress hormone when you’ve had it up to here (I’m pointing to my neck), and this steroid produced by your adrenal glands for so-called ‘fight or flight’ responses (emergency conditions) can be harmful. It can negatively effect your heart and your immune system. It does other stuff, too. (Healthline lists the following: “Chronic complications: Including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Weight gain: Cortisol increases appetite and signals the body to shift metabolism to store fat. Tiredness: It interferes with daily cycles of other hormones, disrupting sleep patterns and causing fatigue. Impaired brain function: Cortisol interferes with memory, contributing to mental cloudiness or brain fog.”) If not controlled, it can end up killing you or, at the least, minimizing the number of candles you’ll see on your birthday cake. Really!
I gotta quit right here because I’m stressed out. I forgot to shut the oven off and the pizza was burned to a crisp. Anyway, more wisdom of the universe coming your way worthy of Socrates in a week or two. Stay tuned for Part II. LD
I got a friend who eats bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He calls himself a Bacontarian. He has had carotid artery angioplasty (to clean out all the bacon that lines his carotid arteries) plus a few stents. You want that? I don’t think so. You can do something. For one thing, don’t be a couch potato like my pal. In addition to the bacon, he eats Big Macs and chicken wings. Twinkies, too – or Little Debbies when he can’t find the Hostess brand. Oh, and Devil Dogs – he’s a big fan of those, too. Washes em’ down with a brewski while watching the boob tube. (He enlightens himself by watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians.) You want that? I don’t think so. You can do something.
Well, we’re all getting older. And you can’t set the clock back. Not only can’t you run a mile as fast as a sloth (these animals are slower than centipedes), hit a ball over the fence for a home run or jump over the tennis net like you used to, but your joints are so stiff and ache so much that you can’t even get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Bunky, you just aint the same physically. Okay, we know that. But now, what about your brain? What’s goin’ on there? Nothin’! Hey, that may be the problem. Say, who’s the female movie star in Gone With The Wind? Gee, I can see her face. God, what’s her name? And, eh, who sang King Of the Road? I just can’t think of his name right now. And what’s that word when you water down something (adulterate) – it’s on the tip of my tongue, I just can’t get it. Oh, yeah, and I just can’t find my keys. Where the hell are my keys? Honey, did you see my keys? Jeez, somebody must have moved ‘em. Who took my keys?
There is an undeniable loss of mental capacity as we age. Don’t fret, this loss of brainpower – psychiatrists call it Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – is normal (i.e., doesn’t interfere with activities of daily living) and, if it’s minimal or limited, it is not dementia. I repeat: Not Dementia. (Note: MCI is common in Parkinson’s Disease). So, can we do anything about it? Yup, we can. Right now there is no miracle pill to right the ship (in any of the various dementias). But the NIH, as well as other medical researchers, have pointed to such diverse treatment modalities as diet, sleep, exercise, antioxidants, reducing stress – and a host of others, for both MCI and dementia. And now, (drum roll), I will introduce something practical that anyone can utilize to help with at least some of these vexing difficulties. It’s simple and elegant (if I do say so, myself). I call it the Reefing Method.
Reefing is a nautical term. It refers to reducing the area of a sail (‘shortening’ sail) in order to lessen the force of the wind on a boat (and thereby reduce the danger of losing the sail, the mast or the boat). Reefing embodies the concept of urgency. Relating to this, the answer to “When do you reef?” is always introduced as a memorable adage to all sailor newbies. And the answer is: You reef when you first think of it. You do it now! Don’t wait. When you feel scared or begin to sense some fearful expectation – that something foul is about to happen – you act on the spot, because waiting could be dangerous or potentially catastrophic. Pay heed to your instincts and act with alacrity.
And now extrapolating – putting the reefing concept, this Reefing Method, into use as a memory aid. It’s really quite simple, as I said. It comes down to this. When you think of it, do it. Example: I’m almost out of medication and have to call my doctor for a new prescription, but I’m about to eat lunch. Your response should be to call the physician’s office right then and there. Your hunger will cue your lunch afterward. Example II: You’re in bed and you’ve just remembered that you have to call your friend in the morning. Your response should be (if it’s too late to make the call) to write down this ‘must do’ thing right away on a piece of paper and put it in plain sight so that you will do it in the morning. I can tell you from sad personal experience, that if you don’t write it down you won’t remember to do it the next day.
All right then, how does this help me with remembering where my keys are, or remembering the female star of Gone With The Wind or the singer of King of the Road (Vivien Leigh, Roger Miller)? Beats me. Try eating your Wheaties! … Or just ask Google. Lao Du
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.