Posted by: PD Warrior | August 8, 2007

Curiouser and curiouser…

Like a tall, bearded, overweight version of Alice, I seem to have stepped through the looking glass.

For the last couple of weeks I have been going to great lengths to keep my stress level down, mainly by pursuing my two favorite hobbies: Piano playing, and woodworking – both of which require a great amount of finger dexterity. Ironic, considering the tremors and weakness caused by my PD.

I have been a piano player for 38 of my 42 years on this planet. I have received several scholarships for my musical abilities, and at one point I even played semi-professionally. I say semi-professionally because even though I was paid for my performances, I was certainly not on any major concert circuits. All of my concerts/recitals were done within a 75 mile radius of where I live. 

I stopped playing the piano almost completely three years ago when it became apparent that PD was robbing my fingers of their dexterity. When it comes to music I am a perfectionist. To play publicly in any fashion was out of the question, and to play privately for myself was much too painful emotionally, so my playing became limited to a few minutes here and there on “good days.”

Lately, however, I seem to have developed a different frame of mind and I have begun to tickle the ivories almost every day. I have learned to live with the imperfections and impromptu notes played by an overzealous and out of control left hand – these notes can’t be ignored, but they can certainly be laughed at. Now, the less than perfect way I play has become almost cathartic and I find that my playing once again is a great way to reduce the tension in my life, thereby decreasing my PD symptoms as a whole.

As for the woodworking…that is a new hobby for me. It too, requires quite a bit of dexterity but I have vowed to master (to the best of my ability) the craft. I have read dozens of books, magazines, and websites on the subject to learn various techniques. I have turned my basement -much to my wife’s chagrin- into a workshop and have actually produced some fairly decent pieces.

After a couple of hours in the shop I have to stop because the physical requirements of all the lifting, sanding, planing and use of various hand tools will have taken its toll on my body. Yet when all is said and done, even though the physical labor has set me to shakin’, I can step back and exmine what I have accomplished and feel a sense of pride.

Curiouser and curiouser… what initially stole my sense of pride and worth is now the very thing that seems to be instilling them back into me.

Eventually the PD will win, and I will no longer be able to do any of these things. But, until then, I refuse to go down without a fight and hopefully I will leave in my wake some family heirlooms – works of art to remind the disease it may have gotten my body, but it will never take my soul.



  1. Unlike you, I never mastered the piano, but a few years ago, I threw caution to the wind and reacquainted myself with the piano. I play for me. I play to calm myself. I can understand the desire for perfection, but like life, the missed notes are natural and fine too. I’m glad you’re still at it.


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