He: What’s changed since last week and now? Nothing’s stopping you from going to that business meeting with the Chairman of the Board of Directors at this regional health care organization. He’s your client, isn’t he?
Me: Yes, but I’m probably going to burst into tears, he’ll see what’s wrong and then I won’t be able to continue oooh what I am going to do it’s the end nooooo they say that you can get dementia and everything, and what if I can’t drive a car anymore?
And your husband repeats: What’s changed since last week, when we’d never even heard about this parkinsons business and now, now that we know that you have it?
Come on. Get up and go.
I got up and went
So I did. Meeting with the health care top manager went swimmingly.
The first few client appointments are tough, though. You’re worried that they’ll somehow ‘see it’. So, you work even harder to deliver your best.
Until you start seeing fruit flies
A few weeks later the stress hits once more. Big time. The information leaflet with the meds tells me hallucinations are a potential side effect. Yep, I’ve definitely got those, I’m sure of it. I see fruit flies everywhere. And each time I look carefully, the little buggers have gone. Am I the only one who can see them?
I catch only half of what my client is saying. Fortunately it’s only fruit flies, which I can just about handle. Imagine if it were cows, or worse still, people. I suddenly realise I’ve got to catch one of those nasty fruit flies, to find out if I’m hallucinating or just imagining I am hallucinating. Whichever is worse. But I am lucky! Gotcha – caught one. I’m not hallucinating after all; it’s just fruit fly season. That’s the kind of stuff you tend not to tell your clients.
Parkinsons comes with all sorts of weird symptoms. Symptoms that you can’t even begin to imagine. So you’re always off seeing some therapist or another: the occupational therapist to improve your abominable posture, the physiotherapist to work on your overall condition, strength and breathing, the neurologist for the full low-down including pills, the speech therapist to check if you can still talk and swallow properly. What else? Oh yeah, nurse for those day-to-day things, those more frequent trips to the dentist, because parkinsons doesn’t exactly do wonders for your teeth, and then of course, there’s mindfulness. I’d never been to an OccuNeuroPhysioLogo before in my life – at most best the physio. But now, if I were to add up all of those hours, including the requisite exercise, it would easily come to around 20 a per month.
It’s so nice and flexible, running your own business
Meanwhile, you’re running your own business. You’ve lost track of just how much you’ve have paid in sales, payroll and corporate taxes over the last 20 to 30 years. You could certainly buy a fancy house along with a fancy car to match. And a few fancy round-the-world trips. But what if I’m not able work in x number of years? I can hardly call the income revenue to ask for some of it back.
But you know what, it’s so nice and flexible, running your own business. Yep, except – no assignments means no income. But you have the freedom to organise your own time! True, but so too does your client, and as a supplier, you’re not a consideration. Which is fine – but you have to work your way around it. And, retirement at 67? Man, that’s, almost 20 years down the line – I just hope I can keep working until then. According to my neurologist I shouldn’t get my proverbial knickers in a twist – just keep on typing instead, because writing, he says, is my talent. Doc is right and he’s not even my husband.
I know I’m lucky. That I’m not a neurosurgeon, but a copywriter, for example. That half the world knows I have parkinsons – and parkinsons wasn’t exactly on my wish list. And that, in spite of it all, we’ve just devised yet another successful new strategy for our business. I’m not saying it’s easy, far from it, to get up and go, every single day. But hey, if it were easy then this blog wouldn’t be necessary.