January 1, 2011

My Parkinson's WeeK -- Happy Old Year!

charter maldriverna

This week, the last week of 2010, marks the end of my first full year with Parkinson's (or, more accurately, with a diagnosis of Parkinson's)  I realize now that I'd had many of the symptoms of Parkinson's for several years but I wasn't diagnosed until September 2009.

I've concluded that this past year may well have been the best of my 81 years.  I'll be doing a blog posting in the next day or two detailing the reasons why my first calendar year of diagnosed PD has also been one of my best.

Last week was again marked by testing different ways of handling the 4-5 a.m. wakefulness.  As I've noted before, until 2 weeks ago, I was getting up 3 or 4 times a night to pee and I could fairly easily resume my sleep after each outing except for the last one at 4 or 5 in the morning. Thanks to the incontinence training program I'm now midway through, I've only been getting up once a night and that's usually between 4 and 5; more often than not, I continue to have trouble getting back to sleep at that hour.

I've also mentioned before that frequently I have difficulty getting back to sleep because on awakening I'm deluged with a flood of ideas for solving problems or undertaking new ventures. This unique experience has occurred only since I started using the over-the-counter supplement 5-HTP to deal with the PD-related depression, insomnia, and incontinence. While I benefit from the idea bombardment, I don't like it if, as a result, I get only 4 or 5 hours sleep.

This past week I've solidified my early a.m. practice of meditation as a way of dealing with this.  My new year started off by my waking at 5 a.m. (even though I hadn't gone to bed until 1 a.m. because I'd been trying to resolve a computer glitch).I  got up and, after using the bathroom, I sat in the straight-backed chair I keep in the bedroom.  This morning I was getting a particularly strong influx of ideas that kept interrupting my meditation.  But I stuck with it; I'd let the ideas register but then I would  pushing them gently off center stage  and resume the meditation. I was surprised when I finished to find that I'd been at it for 1 1/2 hours.  I regard an hour spent meditating as about the equivalent of an hour's sleep, so I don't get anxious about the loss of sleep when I'm up meditating. This morning after the 90 minutes of meditating, I got up, checked my e-mails, and then decided to get back in bed where I  logged in 90 more minutes of sleep.

So the New Year is off to a good start.  We'll see what it brings.

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