Sunday, August 22, 2010

Build Your Parkinson's Word Power, part 4

OK folks, time to dive once again into the wonderful world of Parkinson's vocabulary. (Previous posts on Parkinson's vocabulary here, here, and here) And isn't it like Parkinson's to sabotage your ability to speak at the same time it hands you a handful of shiny and slippery new words to master? Where to begin? Well, here is a confusing term "Parkinson's Disease Support Group" What's confusing about that? I hear you asking. It's plainly a group that comes together to further the cause of Parkinson's Disease, work to spread it and try to perpetuate it at home and abroad. In short, to support Parkinson's Disease, just like it says.

Well, what's confusing here is that is just the opposite of what these groups do. They actually exist to help those afflicted with Parkinson's to cope with their ailment and many raise money and work in other ways to end this scourge forever. So check out your local support group, and while you are there, see if you can get them to change the name to something more accurate, like Parkinson's Disease Patient Support Group. It will probably help immensely with membership.

Here's a word you don't see everyday, though as a person with Parkinson's Disease you probably experience it all the time: Hyposmia- the reduction of your sense of smell. Hyposmia? Well "Hypo" translates roughly as "not enough of" like in "hypothermia". So "osmia" must mean "smell" or "stench". Hold on while I check that out... and darned if "osmia" isn't Greek for "Smell". As it turns out "Hyposmia" is related to the word "Anosmia" the loss of your entire sense of smell. Again we can break anosmia down to its parts to get the meaning- "A"(which means "without") + "Nosmia" which is obviously (OK, I'm guessing here) Greek for "nose". Which gives us "Without a nose" or to have no sense of smell!

Another fabulous PD term is "cogwheeling". It applies to the lack of smoothness of motion in our joints, almost as though they had cog mechanisms instead of the standard-issue flesh and bone. While we're on the subject of mechanistic metaphors for Parkinson's, allow me to introduce you to a fine coinage my wife came up with: "Pinballing". This is a term she uses to describe my overmedicated, underbalanced locomotion through space, bouncing off this, running into that and generally threatening havoc wherever I lurch. He slams into a table!DING! DING! DING! 500 points! Sets a chair to spinning! (Light strobes) 650 points! bounces off the wall! BUZZ! 250 points per contact! And it looks folks, like... YES! ...Congratulations! an all-time high score! What do you win? Lucky YOU! You win another turn.

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