My best friend has always been really into cryptic crosswords. I never really got them, until one summer my friend and I were on holiday together and there was a lot of waiting while we were travelling. I was very excited when I got my first answer! Finally something had clicked once I’d got my head around the rules. They’re completely different to the ordinary crossword clues.
Learning to live with Parkinson’s meant getting my head around a new set of rules, which became easier in time.
My friend sometimes still has to explain some of the rules of cryptic crossword clues to me. Similarly there are lots of practical rules about living with Parkinson’s that you can learn from others. Things I never would have known or even thought about before. For example I had to tell the DVLA about my diagnosis, likewise my car insurance company and travel insurance. *If like me, you pay for your prescriptions, once you’re prescribed two or more items of medication regularly, it becomes cheaper to buy a prescription pre-payment certificate. *If you have Parkinson’s you’re entitled to a free flu jab each winter.
But there are other rules which I’ve set myself, because I discovered over time that following them makes my life easier and my symptoms better.
For example: I pace myself, I ask for help when I need it, I look after myself. I’ve tried to find my own ways to reduce stress and increase peace in my life.
Having Parkinson’s may have changed the rules of my life but it doesn’t mean that Parkinson’s will win. Although I don’t really see life as a game – with a series of battles to be won or lost – if it were, I’m learning that by playing by my own new rules, I can ‘win’ and live the best life that I can. And that includes enjoying all the small things in life – such as doing a cryptic crossword with my best friend. When I say doing, I mean she answers most of the clues. I enjoy trying and I still get excited when I get an answer. And I do have one rule for her – she has to cross out the clues that are already answered.
My best friend – to whom this blog is dedicated – wrote a very special cryptic crossword for me for my birthday last year. I’ll leave you with one of the clues…
See next week’s blog for the answer.