got my tight pants on

Originally published December 3, 2014

Today was a dull and dreary early winter day. No sign of the sun. A chill in the air. Nothing in my calendar to coax me out of the house. Were it not for a scheduled afternoon visit of a few friends, it was one of those days I might have well lounged in my pj’s or perhaps my long underwear all day. Heck, if really pressed, I might even have donned some sweatpants.

But, alas, company was coming so I felt the least I could do was dress-up.

I put on a pair of jeans. Blue jeans. A nondescript shirt (unless you consider “olive- coloured” to be a descriptor) and my everyday “brown vest”. This “brown vest” is what holds the enteral pump that dispenses my Parkinson’s medication by slow-release 16 hours a day. For almost three years, I’ve sported the “brown vest” to the grocery store, to my kid’s school, to weddings and funerals. To walk the dog, go out for dinner, rake the leaves, visit the doctor, have coffee with a friend or lunch with my folks. To the pool, on vacation, to church or the bakery – the “brown vest” is my constant companion. Lest you think I might tire of it, or that it might emit a certain tangy odour, rest assured that the drug company has generously provided me with a number of such vestibules – a few in each of the 3 sizes it comes in to correspond with my corresponding weight gain and loss – but all of them cut from the same stylish brown. Or Mahogony Brown as GQ might call it. Or Townsend Harbour Brown of Benjamin Moore fame. It’s brown though – that’s the only option. Brown. Get it? I think you get it 🙂

At any rate, my friends came. I made some cappuccinos (nicely, browned crema). We talked. We laughed. We got caught up. And then, there was a sudden turn in the conversation.

“Wasn’t it a gloomy day. Wasn’t the yard looking gloomy without the colourful leaves of fall. Wasn’t everything in the news gloomy. And speaking of gloomy, what’s with your clothes? We know you have a bitch of a disease RK, but don’t you think you could brighten up a bit?”

Despite my best intentions earlier in the day, here I was being berated for my dreary wardrobe! Now, those of you who know me, know that I have never been a fashionista. Yet it got me to thinking that indeed, what I wear these days is more often then ever before affected by my health. When I am in so much physical discomfort from my PD, I’m looking for at least a shred of comfort in my clothing. Perhaps, there might be an inverse relationship here worth exploring – were I to “brighten up” my wardrobe, would it “brighten up” my health? Not exactly fodder for a PHD dissertation but certainly blog-worthy material. In Part 2 of this blog, look for the fieldnotes from my qualitative research on this compelling question.

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