Moose or Mouse: Seeing is Not Always Believing in Parkinson’s

Guest blogger Cheryl Kingston of Los Angeles, California has lived with Parkinson's for 23 years and uses humor and creative writing to share her personal experiences.

Gnarly antlers swooped toward me. I lie in bed, frozen, paralyzed by a surge of fear and panic. This animal was not one of my local canyon-dwelling coyotes or menacing raccoons. No, this was a wild beast attempting to thrust into my bedroom toward me.

My knee-jerk reaction was to reach under my mattress to retrieve what I realized was a useless earthquake kit. Should I seal off the passage the beast was intending to pursue? Should I listen to my radio hoping to find a streaming emergency broadcast for coping with wild interlopers? Should I put my feet into my getaway Adidas running shoes?

I secured my flashlight. Alone and startled, reels of life's moments stilled me. I reached for the bedside phone and with some sense of regaining control, dialed 911.

The dispatcher asked, "What's the nature of your emergency?"

"I've got a large, eerie moose trying to get into my house," I replied and followed with my address.

"A mouse, you say?" an incredulous voice responded.

"No! It's a moose not a mouse," I insisted despairingly.

Within nanoseconds sirens filled the canyon with a 2 a.m. wake-up call to my unsuspecting neighbors. A vigilant crowd gathered and as this reality drama played itself out, four stunning hulks in fireman uniforms, wearing protective gear, asked if they might enter.

The lead officer told me to describe the event while I gave him a tour of my home. He patiently recreated the harrowing intrusion to reassure me that the danger was gone. I respect that neither he nor the others chided me.

Convinced that the emergency was resolved, the fire chief remarked that they would file the requisite mouse-moose report.

Within moments I felt as if I were emerging from some state of amnesia. The disclosure of my new Parkinson's drug side effects included a warning about hallucinations — experiences I never expected to become part of life with PD. These are altered states of sensory input and can include hearing voices and or sounds, seeing absent or non-existing people. Or moose.

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