Its not uncommon for me to knock over a coffee cup. It happened just the other day as I reached for the TV controller to turn on the morning news. I had set my coffee down near me on the kitchen table. Still shaking the cobwebs out my head, I knocked it with my elbow. The cup tipped over and the coffee spread across the surface of the table with some dripping on the floor. I got a washcloth wet from the kitchen faucet and wiped up the spill. After rinsing the washcloth out in the sink, I refilled my coffee from the brewer and sat it down in the middle of the table, away from wandering elbows.
Its less common for me to drop a cup of coffee. Coffee mugs with their handles have something to hold on to. With Parkinsons there are times my grip just fails. I get tremors going hard and the cup flies out of my hand. When its dropped, or flung, the coffee inside the cup goes into motion. It travels through the air and lands all over the place. Today I dropped my coffee as I was reaching for the light switch while carrying too many items down the stairs. The cup hit hard and brown liquid flew everywhere. I grabbed a towel from the upstairs bathroom and got it wet. I wiped up coffee on the carpet, the baseboard, the wall, the bathroom tile floor, down the steps, under the waste basket and on the wall behind the secretariat. The coffee cup had hit the floor just perfectly to create this mess, like a perfect storm.
The first scenario suggests the idea that spilled coffee is not so bad. Sure, I had to clean it up, but it is somewhat contained. This could be in comparison with an illness such as the flu, or cold or maybe even shingles. Miserable yet definable and defiantly recoverable.
But dropping the coffee cup on the floor made a huge mess. It’s like my diagnosis with Parkinson disease, the chronic progressive neurological disease. First, I noticed a few symptoms, but as time passed, I became more familiar with the changes in my body. The dropped cup of Parkinsons had spilled out. Even after a thorough look at my interior and exterior, more symptoms were discovered as years passed.
I saw an article in a newsletter I had moved after the spilled coffee incident. It asked for subjects for clinical trials and research. I saw most of the research in the U.S. is not going towards a cure. There are many wonderful projects to slow the progression of the disease, to try out another medication for the symptoms, to help with balance in Parkinson patients. These are good and important studies. These studies will have something to do with improving my ability to keep my coffee in the cup, I am sure of it!
But where are the studies looking for the CURE?
Twelve years ago, I had first my visit with a movement disorder specialist. I was told “This is the best time to have Parkinsons. (WHAT? There is a good time?) “In your lifetime there will be a cure!”
Dear research people, there is longevity in my family. If nothing else happens to my body, I may live into my 90’s. That gives you plenty of time. Parkinsons has been identified as a disease for over 200 years. Get on the path to the cure it! And those of us suffering from this incurable disease, let’s do our part and get our legislators to introduce and pass bills directed towards funding more research for a cure.
In my spare time, I will conduct my own study of the typical coffee cup and develop a list of strategies to avoid spilling and dropping. That will leave the scientists more time to deal with the most important issue…