What adaptation?

What is adaptation anyway?

Without using the word, 2 of our last posts were about adapting to Parkinson’s. Welcome to Holland is about trying to see Parkinson’s as just another destination, an adaptation of perception and perhaps attitude. Parkinson and protein is  about adapting to our medication and it’s relation to protein. In turn this requires an adaptation of not only meals themselves but also of those around us, including spouses, partners, children, friends,  coworkers, etc.

When I tried to find a smooth definition of adapting I came across this one: Adaptation is the action or process of adapting or being adapted. Hope you like this; I don’t. I would call this a circular definition. Perhaps it might be easier to find a synonym! Some that come to mind are alteration, modification, change and adjustment.  Personally I prefer adapt over adjust, it just seems more active and more alive. In my mind, the more control I have, the better it is, keeping in mind that us Parkies are continually changing and adapting our “doing” and our “being”. Of course everyone else is busy adapting as well, it’s not limited to people with Parkinson’s or even people with disabilities. If I write as if Parkinson’s is the only group to experience certain things,  just forgive me be, if I do it periodically please let me know because that’s exactly what I don’t want to do. Of course a lot of adaptation happens “automatically” by our brain and body. For example when  I’m in an off period, my feet change the way I walk. I have a pronounced “shuffle” and it feels like I’m dragging my leg.  I can only override that, perhaps by making larger steps, to a point. On the other hand we can choose some adaptations that will make our lives better, easier, more satisfying or healthier.

Plan for next few weeks.

Over the next few weeks I hope to think a bit about “things” that help us adapt, how our own body adapts, social adaptation, work related adaptation. and perhaps some other ones as well.


I have been a fan of the human ability to adapt for a long time. There is a lot of extra capacity in our very bodies, and especially our brain. I believe this is sometimes called redundancy. For example, the dopamine producing brain cells that are 70% gone before symptoms are noticed. We must have had millions or billions of these cells;  extra,extra. Same with blood and oxygen, we can lose a certain amount of blood and still function; we can have less oxygen and still carry on our daily lives. Of course there is a limit, after which we better get some help.  Hopefully researchers can use this kind of information in their work to cure or prevent Parkinson’s disease and the many other diseases and conditions that plague us. I just know there is much capacity in our bodies and various bodily systems. We can bring this to bear on carrying on a normal or near-normal life even if we are unable to do certain things. All I’m trying to say is don’t give up, keep going, there is a lot of gas left in the tank. We have been given hidden treasures. This is not to say it’s always easy.

The flycatchers

This afternoon I was going to put up some flycatchers by our back door. One thumbnail sticks them to the wooden ceiling. I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. Today I got the step stool out (2 steps, big horizontal platform-safe as can be), stood on it with the flycatcher in my hand. I couldn’t get it put into place. Between my eyes and poor eye-hand coordination it just didn’t want to work. Tried a different one. No luck. Frustrating. Eventually I figured it was not so important, instead of adapting the task I guess I adapted the way I perceived it. Just to close with an adaptation of an old joke: how many counsellors (disclosure: that includes me) does it take to put up a fly catcher? Just 1 as long as the flycatcher wants to be put up. Today it did not want to. Tomorrow is another day, I’m sure someone will come around to put up those flycatchers. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Casey





About The Author

Casey Huisman

My name is Casey Huisman a.k.a. Cees Huisman. I live in Ontario, Canada. Married to Jan. Large family with several children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Siblings and mother are in the Netherlands. Retired from St. Clair College since 2016. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006. Participate in The Gathering Place Community Church. Supporter of Community Living’s goals of inclusion and empowerment. Usually easy to get along with.