Falling is a reality for many Parkinson’s sufferers. Balance and gait become impacted in many ways. We will never become accustomed to the spills of a 6 foot 4 man who was once so physically strong. Don’s falls are simply scary for him, as well as us. Sometimes we see the warning signs, but lately, more often than not, we just hear the thunderous crash followed by silence and then feet running from all directions to see what we will find.
It’s those unexpected findings that has our 6-year-old feeling uneasy.
Hadley knew at the age of 3 how to dial 911 and what our address is. Not because these were preschool bench marks but because the likelihood of her needing to use this information was high. How many other families can say they have emergent plans for “what if dad falls”? Most families barely have plans in place in the event of a fire.
Often when I leave the house and Hadley is alone with her dad, a definite uncertainty starts to boil to the surface. It’s as if I can see her heartbeat starting to race and that little brave soul kicking into gear. She wants to be courageous but the unknown is scary. So she begins asking very specific questions.
What time are you coming home?
– what she’s really asking is: How long do I have to be fearless for?
Will you be able to answer your phone?
– what she’s really asking is: Will you be there if I need help?
Can you call me and tell me when you are headed back?
– what she’s really asking is: Can you tell me when I can stop worrying?
Do I call 911 if I can’t get you?
– what she’s really asking is: Is it ok if I can’t do it all by myself?
Leaving Hadley feeling comfortable and confident is getting harder and harder to do. Her internal sense is one I have to listen intently to. I don’t want to deprive her however, of that ever important one on one time with her dad. Oh how I wish that while I was gone her only fret was about what Barbie is wearing and making a huge play dough mess together.
We are getting really good at communicating with each other, another great advantage of modern technology. Below is a video Hadley texted me, after Don fell while I was out. Hours earlier we were all enjoying a neighborhood fair, attempting to have a normal Saturday. I had just run to do the mom thing – grocery shopping. I was only going to be gone for a quick moment. You can see the remnants of face paint on her sweet innocent cheeks in the video below.
watch here http://youtu.be/MtYwyZJ5UIo
Her response was calm and positive but that fear of “what if” will not leave her.
A fall can happen any moment for us. Parkinson’s isn’t thinking not now, not today or wait until mom gets home. Falling is rapidly loosing control. I believe for families of Parkinson’s sufferers, we all feel that lack of control whether we hit the ground physically or emotionally.