(Art by Lydia Marano)
My long-time collaborator and friend Michael Reaves has put up a new blog. It concerns Parkinson's Disease, from which he has suffered for a couple decades, the effects, and how it directs his life.
Most people think of Parkinson's the way they do Alzheimer's–that they are illnesses of advanced age, senile dementia, but that's not always the case. Reaves was in his early forties when the first symptoms manifested. (And his brain works as well as it ever did, for what that's worth ...)
More than a few people begin to show the symptoms of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's years before it becomes apparent that's what's going on. My father, in his eighties, started in his early-sixties taking maps with him when he drove because he realized he was getting lost. He was compensating, and didn't tell anybody. We figured out later what all those maps stashed in his car and office were for.
Alzheimer's runs in our family: My father has it, his mother had it, and his grandmother did, as well. I'm working crossword puzzles and standing on my head, staying fit, eating well. Being a musician is supposed to help your brain work better into old age, too, but since nobody is sure what causes it, this might or might not help.
Anyway, if you are interested in how Parkinson's looks from the other side, check out Reaves' blog.