Sunday, August 1, 2021

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves, Lurching to Safety With Parkinson's-Related Falls


I always knew this day would come. What I didn't know was how I was going to cope with it. "It" being the loss of balance and resulting falls that accompany this dispiriting symptom of PD. I experienced freezing episodes since the early days of my diagnosis, where my feet seemed to stick to the floor, resulting in a mincing, hurried stride that often precedes a fall. The falls are no laughing matter, they seem to happen without warning, and can result in injuries from minor scrapes and bruises to broken bones.

I got a respite from falling when I had Deep Brain Stimulation. The operation added years to my essentially trouble-free ability to walk, run, and do a Buck and Wing. But over the last year or so, I found myself lurching around the house and falling with increasing frequency and severity. What to do?  

 I tried some of the earlier tricks I had found to keep myself moving. These included walking backwards, walking with your feet on two different levels using a curb to provide the difference in foot elevation, and walking pigeon-toed. These efforts, which all worked fine in my esrlier stages of PD met with limited success at best. However, there is one method that frees me up dramatically. That was the Kick and Step (See diagram above to learn how to do it.) 

 The Kick and Step feels like magic. And it acts like magic, too. Suddenly you are moving smoothly across the room, your stride almost completely normal. Since I have been using this anti-freezing method of locomotion, I haven't experienced one disastrous fall. Prior to this, I was falling two or three times a day. This has been a significant morale boost. The beatings have stopped. For now, anyway.