Micrographia happens in Parkinson’s Disease patients when the muscles in the hand have difficulty maintaining the size and shape of handwriting. Changes in handwriting are only one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Micrographia sneaks up on you when you are a Parkie.
Today I have been cleaning out drawers in my office. I found a journal from 1993 that had some devotionals, prayers lists and notes from a few books I was reading at the time. WOW my handwriting was fluid, beautiful and legible. The changes in my handwriting were shocking when I opened that journal. Today I have micrographia, and my script is now cramped, smaller and more difficult to read.
Micrographia manifests itself in me as jerky, small script. My cursive handwriting skills have deterioriated rapidly with Parkinson’s Disease. When I taught school I taught cursive handwriting to elementary students…a program called DeNealian handwriting. I was an excellent cursive teacher and my students had beautiful handwriting.
For my adult life I’ve been one to use calligraphy. I even used calligraphy to prepare all of those Presidential Academic Fitness certificates for years when I taught school – or was the school librarian. Now, my handwriting has been reduced to cramped, jerky scribbles. I found the scribbles above online on turtlebug’s Flickr site. These scribbles are much more attractive than my little tiny, micrographia.
I guess this makes me sad more than angry. At least I can still type and that has been my saving grace. Paying bills online sure is easier than trying to write legible checks. I remember when my dear friend, Lottie quit writing checks because the bank couldn’t read her signature. This makes my heart hurt just thinking about how I’ve taken my handwriting for granted all these years.
So, Parkinson’s Disease has robbed me of one more piece of myself. My micrographia is real. My hands draw up in cramped positions making it impossible to hold a pen, pencil or paint brush. I could whine about this not being fair, but that really doesn’t do any of us any good, now does it? The only thing that relieves the pains in my hands (mainly my thumbs) and allows me to write normally is to STRETCH my hands out. It’s very painful while doing it….but it eventually loosens up the muscles so I can once again attempt to write, knit, begin beading, cake decorating or even pick up smaller objects.
Parkinson’s Disease sucks.