‘When you blame others you are avoiding some truth about yourself’Deepak Chopra
I was recently asked how long before diagnosis did I start to notice something was wrong. The short answer is three years. However, that doesn’t make for a blog, so a more comprehensive explanation is that for those three years, I did a fantastic job of burying my head in the sand and deflecting the blame on to anything but me. I became a serial blamer and complainer.
It started with my car……
Not long after I’d bought a new car, it developed a problem. The accelerator pedal didn’t seem to respond accurately to the pressure I put on it whilst reversing. This made reversing a difficult and slow process. I took my car back to the service department and told them about the problem. They could find nothing wrong. For six months, I repeatedly took it back to the service team, they repeatedly looked at it and could, repeatedly, find nothing wrong. When I eventually exchanged my car, imagine my disappointment to find that my new car had exactly the same problem, only it seemed to be getting gradually worse.
It wasn’t just my car. My desktop and laptop computer keyboards malfunctioned at the same time. Keys on both keyboards would randomly throw up double letters or at times not respond to my tap at all. The cursor kept skipping lines mid sentence. I had both keyboards replaced twice but the faults persisted, in fact the fault got worse over time but even I realised that I couldn’t justify requesting a third replacement.
To add insult to injury, the computer mouse began to act erratically too. It no longer did what I wanted it to. It felt like it was operating on a bed of treacle. I cleaned it regularly and replaced it twice with no effect. It’s sluggishness made my hand hurt and even my arm ache. I couldn’t get to the root of the problem, so I replaced my mouse with a trackpad and because my right arm was still aching, I started to use my left hand to control it.
I discovered numerous ‘faulty’ household items, returning them to the retailer and complaining about their ‘poor quality’ on a regular basis. My tin opener wouldn’t work so I took it back to the store. Adept at complaining, I had it replaced without fuss……but it didn’t work any better. Not long after this, I tried to return a new set of knives, none of which would cut through anything but butter but it was the same assistant and she saw me coming and I didn’t stand a chance!
I politely asked the man who had cut a new set of door keys to redo them as none of them worked smoothly and seemed to stick. He slightly less politely refused and so I went elsewhere for a second set but they didn’t work properly either.
I began to wake numerous times every night, uncomfortable and unable to roll over without difficulty. As our mattress was many years old, even I didn’t feel I could complain about it. Instead, in search of that elusive good nights sleep, I bought a new one. The new mattress didn’t do as promised, and my sleep was no better than before, so back it went, as did the subsequent one and the one after that.
My age (46 at this time) got the blame for many things including my changing face which no longer smiled so readily and my slow reaction time. Ageing and years of nursing were blamed for progressive back pain. Ageing, along with too much to do and too little time, were blamed for my increasingly poor memory. Ageing and hormones were blamed for excessive sweating and poor temperature control. Ageing was blamed for stiffness in my arms, cramps in my legs and a slowing of my walking pace. Ageing was blamed for my desire to be home by 10pm on a night out.
I blamed my choice of shoes for repeatedly tripping me up and I blamed my husband’s choice of film for my inability to stay awake after 8pm. The shoes I got rid of but the husband, I kept.
‘Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored’Aldous Huxley
Eventually, my excuses wore thin. I couldn’t blame my new shampoo for being unable to wash my hair with my right hand. I couldn’t blame my new pen for being unable to write legibly. I had to gradually lift my head out of the sand and consider that perhaps the problem wasn’t down to poor quality goods after all. Perhaps it was me that wasn’t working properly. Once that seed of doubt had been sown, it became harder and harder to ignore. There were many, many more examples but at some point I had to stop blaming and stop complaining and face reality.
Within ten days of acknowledging the problem was with me, I had a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. If I thought anyone would listen, I’d ask for a refund or an upgrade to a better model but it appears that I have exhausted all my refund options!
Image Source: ClipArt Library