Excerpts

The following is an excerpt from Anne’s memoir, and includes a delicious recipe from the Chapter Arc d’Salmon.

 

Passion, Risk, Reward: Our Story

Before Parkinson’s disease (PD), Mike and I were the Artist and the Cook; today we are the Artist and the Cook adapting our skills to current conditions and emerging science.

Living with PD is simultaneously gratifying and frustrating, rewarding and challenging.  Through the lens of almost three decades of living with the symptoms of PD, it’s easy to track our learning curve.  From this perspective we recognize what almost destroyed our partnership and what we are currently doing that contributes to our marital happiness and longevity.

To be clear, I don’t deny the difficulties, the dark months and years, as we fearfully fumbled through the first stages of Mike’s PD.  But fear cripples the brain and dwelling on the negatives threatened to destroy all our positive intentions.  So, instead we intuitively developed some coping mechanisms.  Over the years our constants have included: exercise, taking risks, maintaining our individual pursuits, and eating good food every day.

The diagnosis that Mike had suspected and secretly tracked for twelve years was confirmed on an April morning in 1993.  The moment the neurologist at The Mayo Clinic delivered the verdict, Mike asked for a prognosis and I almost covered my ears.

Sample recipe from the Chapter Arc d’Salmon…

Menu V

Fresh Veggie/Salmon Spring Rolls

Spinach Salad Sesame

Watermelon

Here are some ideas of salmon-compatible ingredients to roll inside rice paper wraps. Experiment and discover what other antioxidant ingredients might be successful collaborators.

Ingredients:

8” rice paper wrappers (four rolls per person). *Try to find the tapioca wrappers; they are more sturdy and easier to roll.
Dark Bibb lettuce or spinach leaves one per roll
Grilled or otherwise pre-cooked fresh salmon
Mango or peaches peeled and cut into thin slices
English cucumber thinly sliced
Clover sprouts
1 T lime peel, cut into tiny strips—you must try this!
1 T ginger root peeled and finely chopped
1 avocado thinly sliced
1 cup grated carrots

Arrange all ingredients (except rice paper) on a large platter in separate mounds.

Bring water to a boil for softening the rice paper.  Using a deep heat resistant plate or dish, pour ½-inch boiling water into dish.  Place one rice wrapper at a time into the hot water and swirl paper around till soft—about one minute, or less.

(You may need to reheat water occasionally to keep it hot enough to soften all the wrappers.)

Place softened wrapper on a plate and arrange by first placing lettuce leaf on top of wrapper, then add salmon and vegetables in the center of the wrap.  Fold one side over the filling and tuck in one end of wrapper as you roll rice paper into a tight package.  It gets easier and tidier, the more you roll.

Dipping sauce (for two people)

¼ cup Kikkoman dipping sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic chopped
1 T finely chopped fresh ginger
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp hot chili sesame oil

Combine all ingredients.

Serve wraps with small bowls of dipping sauce.

*       *      *

The next passage is excerpted from a section in the memoir entitled, Reciprocity.

Reciprocity

One compassionate deed properly acknowledged, surely leads to another, Anonymous

Across the Street is a short nonfiction story, written by Bia Lowe.  The author watches from her window over time as her sick elderly neighbor progresses through the final stages of a fatal disease.  “He began to study his feet as he walked,” Lowe wrote, “and I watched his steps grow smaller.  Eventually he had to rely on a cane, and that soon gave way to a walker.”

This story could be told by our young neighbor, Pat, who is a part-time fireman and a stay-at-home dad.  Pat’s kitchen window is situated so that he can see Mike in places where I can’t—making his way out to his studio, stacking firewood by the garage, or mowing the lawn.

Pat didn’t know it, but from my vantage point, I could see him looking into our yard one rainy winter day.  Soon afterwards, Mike came in the house scared, wet and exhausted.  He told me he was having a hell of a time lifting the firewood into the wheelbarrow, but he kept trying and kept dropping the logs.  He was afraid he’d fall on the concrete. Before anything dangerous happened, as if by accident, Pat appeared at Mike’s side.

“Well, as long as I’m here,” Pat offered nonchalantly, “I could help load that?”   He delivered the fully loaded wheelbarrow to our back door, made sure Mike got inside and then Pat disappeared into his yard.

The author of Across the Street asks herself, “And what of me? Is there a vantage point, say, from a neighbor’s window, where my descent can be witnessed?  . . .if my number’s up and something has begun to grow inside me and I can’t stand or walk even an inch without someone at my side, will there be someone who loves me, come to take me out in the world for a ride . .?”