Ah I know some with Parkinson's too...

When you are strong, you have to be kind

Fotografie Rozenberg
One simple image is more than enough to convey my message: a strong pair of hands holding an infant. Everyone gets that. Strong hands that are ohhhhh so soft and tender. The infant needs the strength and tenderness that those big hands afford.

And before you start wondering whether I’ve been to some sort of alternative training or hippy workshop: no. I’ve never been receptive to that kind of thing. Yoga is already pushing it, especially when the famous rabbit makes is appearance (‘We’re now going to do the Rabbit’).

Strength is different to power

Replace that ‘strength’ with ‘power’. It’s less appealing, I know. But strength and power are virtually the same. The only difference is how you harness your power. I, personally, have a rather powerful pen. I can write razor sharp, merciless, hard, powerful prose. Yet, I can also wield my pen to writedecidedly tender text, which retains a certain punchiness nevertheless. So, I need to use with my pen with caution. Because the reader might just be that proverbial infant.

Metered power

When it comes to boxing, even the sort of boxing that doesn’t involve bodily contact (but rather a glove or punch bag), then the strongest boxer must be the gentlest. The stronger boxer must carefully adjust their boxing to the weaker opponent. I box on a regular basis. When I’m facing a big, strong boxer, I can hit as hard as I like. My efforts produce a mere ‘peep’. Conversely, trained boxers cannot hit me as hard as they’d like. For good reason.

The doctor and the Parkinson’s patient

So far, so good. But now enters the doctor. Who, by definition, is healthier than the patient sat across from them in the consultation room. Doctors also need to be strong. Onlythen can they be clear. A gentle surgeon wouldn’t exactly cut it (pun intended) for instance. Now enters the Parkinson’s patient. Or person with Parkinson’s. Or whatever you prefer to call them. People tend to think that you’re strong, because you’ll do anything and everything to tame your symptoms andfears. I believe that strength means continuing to swim against the tide, because otherwise you’d go under. So, it’s more of a character, rather than a physical, thing.

“We could still do with a few more patients”

Now enters the organisation that needs people with Parkinson’s for a particular event, conference, award ceremony, study or story. The organisation knows that you’restill busy doing the front crawl, they know that you’re no longer as strong as you once were physically. The organisation is also well aware that your life is no longer quite the same as it once was. You’ve perhaps been forced to give up your job or sport, or both. The organisation might assume that you’re happy with the few crumbs that fall from the table. Particularly when it concerns such a hopeless situation as a Parkinson’s.


Stop. That’s not how it works. The organisation, which expects you as a Parkinson’s patient to be satisfied with those crumbs, with a half-hearted travel allowance, that organisation is mistaken. They don’t encourage you to box as hard as you can. They put you in a different weight class altogether. That’s not kind, that’s power. Strengthening your organisation – not me.

Dear organisation, if you happen to be reading this: it is indeed about you and the crumbs you had in mind for me. That’s not going to help anyone, not yourself, not me.


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