Letter accompanying this piece:
Parkinson's Disease: Study in contrasts
With Parkinson's Disease, tremors can occur when opposing muscle groups are locked in opposition - paired extension and flexion muscles fire simultaneously without the usual dopamine regulation to trigger one to work and the other to yield. The result is the distinctive Parkinson's quiver; opposites don't always attract.
This piece is part of a set of three works commissioned by Parkinson Canada, that look at paired opposites. Each piece focuses on challenges or symptoms in the Parkinson experience
Rough and SmoothRough are the movements, with spasms and bracesSmooth as the skin on expressionless facesRough is the treatment by those who don't know.Smooth is the swaying, and involuntary flowRough is the sleep as new stresses takeoverSmooth are the sheets that help to roll overOrder and DisorderOrder required to track all medicationDisorder of focus, memory, attentionOrders of magnitude used to chart muscle stiffnessDisorder on file, questioning mental fitnessHard and SoftSoft are skills lost to inactivityHard are the muscles that are gripped by rigiditySoft are the voices, both in volume and timingHard are the choices to be made while decliningSoft are the finances suddenly in perilHard are the buttons that dot my apparelSoft are the hands that give care when neededHard's the resolve that won't be defeated
These descriptions intend to conjure images of the realities faced by many people with Parkinson's Disease, particularly those who have become disconnected. But as a Board Member with Parkinson's Canada, you sought to connect the disconnected, educate the confused, and enrich the lives of those who just needed a place to go for answers or companionship. In doing so, you are part of an organization that helped to shape a new reality for countless Canadians. For your part, a community owes you gratitude.