Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder of the nervous system, an unwanted gift that keeps on taking: balance, movement, coordination, vocalization, even sense of smell—a friend who has M.S. refers to us as “neuro-degenerates.” As a bonus, P.D. may also affect emotions and cognitive ability, triggering depression and hallucinations. Folks pay good money to hallucinate; I get it for free.
When I box, though, Parkinson’s disease has no purchase on my reptile brain. We all answer the bell in our own time. I arrive at the gym early, taking a seat on one of the benches near the window, where my first challenge awaits: wrapping my hands and wrists to buttress them against injury. Some boxers have mastered the origami of swaddling one’s hands with a yards-long wrap of woven cotton. My incentive was a pang of shame in asking a trainer to assist; too much like someone tying my shoes. I roll the wrap three times around my wrist, then in between fingers, back around the wrist, and several turns over my knuckles.