Shoes of Understanding

Watch for them….yes
Watch for the tremors ‘n shakes, your confirmation I’m for real.
Yet, they’re on stage right, resting at bay, just out of sight 
You’d think my meds were working
Maybe so, but I’m in that 30%… my tremors aren’t the main attraction.
“Looking great”, so quick to say
it’s a familiar greeting we hear each day
“You MUST be feeling better”
Oh yeah, you’re right, I am feeling better,
not sure why it’s a ‘must’
Waste removal finally arrived after 3 days and I had an amazing 5-hour sleep
Hell, I’m just trying to cope here.
New stresses overwhelm a mind, once impermeable
a simple, ‘once upon a time’ task, 
a ‘walk in the park’, now at a cliff’s edge in the dark
my mind reacts, I had no clue, 
Are you sure you’re stressed? “cuz you look so good, dude.”
I’m offering you to give this a try
and set aside your predictable, easy fit, comfort zone 
Step in my shoes, and ‘live’ a day like I
These shoes, let’s call them ‘Understanding’.
They may not fit, just like that
hey that’s ok, it’s just for a day…you’ll adapt 
…Now what was it we’re planning? 
Today, you’re the me, you’ve known as me,
looking rested and just fine 
and like that, never saw it coming, 
straight at you, down the line.
In comes the PD tide, you feel the subtle change?
The restricted movement, your body’s range, 
your mind, a dense fog, a trust, an instinct called on,
the next step in ‘what to do?’
Your ‘go-to guy’, well, it’s gone, you’re on your own, it’s up to you…
Your day-to-day, an altered path 
it’s early and so few know it 
It’s a Tug of War, denial and acceptance 
canvas the cerebral neighbourhood for indecisive followers 
Employed and hope they will 
treat you the same, 
once your symptoms start to show it.
Now slow to move,  
seems you’ve lost your groove 
your plans, well they’re held at bay…
“Ya, it’s me again, I’m really sorry dear friend 
 I’ve no choice but to cancel.
This unwelcome trait
of ‘my’ PD 
has surfaced now today.”
Oh, how are those Shoes of Understanding?
Sort what’s next and stay the course
it may mean multitasking 
A challenging stress 
your mind’s a mess
Overwhelmed by what we’re asking. 
Distracted by what is ‘your day’
your brain’s fuel, a pitstop, an agonist, a diverse crew
A timed alarm, a prescribed relief 
you’ve pills to take, on schedule
Will this next dose, subdue a host
of symptoms,  
your everyday mind bedlam. 
Your PD attempts to create a weakened you
there’s no rush, it’s got a lifetime…yours.
Seeking a mind of lesser confidence – a confidence separated from its mooring 
Molded from the dust of your body and mind’s isolation   
‘Uncertainty’, is in season, the fertile soil, tilled, sewn, and harvested;
bullies in, for a foothold, front and centre.
Seems it’s found its nook, 
its progressive pace, 
a relentless self-agenda.
Now this is life and in its’ throes
there’s a chance you’ll inspire victories, you’d never know
Not all in one day be these thoughts that I’ve shared
For PDs’ buffet of unpredictability, 
seeks ‘understanding’
as you’ve shown you cared.
There, within your mind’s reach, grab hold of an immeasurable lifeline
Yes, a welcome sight, a reassuring voice, a caring word, all tied with a bow of kindness  
This is, as one said, the true source of my willingness to ‘be’ 
… for this is your Community, your saving grace.
These shoes may trigger empathy
for the altered life we face. 
Not all is lost, though time’s a cost 
Live to enjoy it, it’s still a life at any pace, 
Thank you for trying on
my ‘shoes of understanding’
and living a day with PD. 
Tomorrow you’ll wake as you 
and I’ll be back as me.


Used by permission of the author.

Shane McPhee

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s (PD) in October 2011, Shane, since then,  has found a growing interest in writing stories or poems ...more