One of my Parkinson’s symptoms is a problem with swimming. I have always considered myself a strong swimmer, as a student, being a lifeguard at the local Lido was my regular summer employment. When I turned, post diagnosis, to the local indoor pool for some exercise I was distressed to find that “something had gone wrong with my swimming”. Gone was that easy confidence in moving through the water and I had to concentrate on what I was doing even to keep afloat and I spent more time swimming on my back. The experience really made me feel sad and reinforced the “losses” that PD brings with it.
When we were planning this holiday, including time in the paradise islands of Hawaii, I was adamant that I wanted to do some snorkeling. My partner was worried, I guess he thought I might get into difficulties and maybe he’d have to help me out. I felt that I wouldn’t be in danger as long as I didn’t panic I could always turn on my back, the salty Pacific Ocean would be nice and buoyant and it would be too good an experience not to try. I won!
On an organised trip we went to the island of Laina where we were able to snorkle off this lovely beach in a marine reserve area. I confess that I had a moment or two of slight concern as they went through the safety briefing, especially the bit about “getting through the danger zone” of the breaking waves with their undertow. However overseen by the very helpful, friendly and competent Trilogy lifeguards I made it to the safer zone and was able to watch the many different types of coloured fish swimming around the coral reef, just like being inside an aquarium. A great experience! Thank you Skipper Kate and her crew.
Even more important was the reminder that even though PD steals some things from you there is still many more things that you can still do. You may need to think it through, make an extra effort and get a bit of help, but don’t give up on something you really want.
I’m only half way through the holiday, I hope there are some other challenges to come.