Victory Over the Occasional Lemon

Blog author: J.M. “Mike” Patton, autor of “West Point: A Novel,” Book #1 in the “A Full Measure” trilogy.

I heard the words Parkinsons Disease pass my neurologist’s lips and physically felt disappointment to the core of who I thought myself to be. I was disappointed with the diagnosis, but not surprised. My father had Parkinsons. So did my older brother. Genetics can be a cruel master, and I pray my sons will be spared.

After a couple of years, I accepted that my work of teaching mathematics at my alma mater, a military school, was impacted, and I retired. At the obligatory retirement luncheon I was asked what I intended to do with all the free time I was about to have. I had not thought much about it. All I knew was that my poor wife was about to have twice the husband and half the money. So, I said that I was going to do some writing, which seems to be the standard answer for retirees, true or not. And, the silent response appeared to be, “Sure you are.”.

From more impulse than reason, I began writing a fictional trilogy, A Full Measure, with the first book titled West Point. Being a math major, I did not know the difference between a gerund and a rattlesnake, and still don’t. I simply wrote with the view that the work would never be published and enjoyed having a goal and humoring my creative side. Some retirees like going to their shop and making sawdust. I found that sawdust makes me sneeze, and that I like creating a story.

A retired colleague and his wife read the West Point manuscript and threatened to beat me up if I didn’t submit it for publication. Being opposed to combat at my age, unless I am armed and my opponent is not, I made submissions of the book. God guides and blesses. I chose Publish Authority as the publisher, and the match is perfect. One’s publisher should be like family and genuinely care about the project. So, West Point was launched in August 2020, and my retirement project became a reality with two more books to complete.

The Parkinsons? I double and triple tap keys, making the delete key well worn. I tried dictating with Siri, but I can spell a little better than she can. Parkinsons is simply a part of my life. It does not make my life worse, it just makes it what it is. I do not surf the internet to find the symptoms of others: the power of suggestion is negative. And, I will not give up good years for the possibility of good-but-different years with Deep Brain Stimulation surgery: similar to a pacemaker in the brain. My medications work adequately, and life is good.

The point is, a limitation may change one’s life, but it does not end it. God has a plan. Always.

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