Spilled Coffee

Its not uncommon for me to knock over a coffee cup. It happened just the other day as I reached for the TV controller to turn on the morning news. I had set my coffee down near me on the kitchen table. Still shaking the cobwebs out my head, I knocked it with my elbow.  The cup tipped over and the coffee spread across the surface of the table with some dripping on the floor.  I got a washcloth wet from the kitchen faucet and wiped up the spill.  After rinsing the washcloth out in the sink, I refilled my coffee from the brewer and sat it down in the middle of the table, away from wandering elbows.

Its less common for me to drop a cup of coffee.  Coffee mugs with their handles have something to hold on to.  With Parkinsons there are times my grip just fails. I get tremors going hard and the cup flies out of my hand.  When its dropped, or flung, the coffee inside the cup goes into motion.  It travels through the air and lands all over the place. Today I dropped my coffee as I was reaching for the light switch while carrying too many items down the stairs.  The cup hit hard and brown liquid flew everywhere.  I grabbed a towel from the upstairs bathroom and got it wet.  I wiped up coffee on the carpet, the baseboard, the wall, the bathroom tile floor, down the steps, under the waste basket and on the wall behind the secretariat. The coffee cup had hit the floor just perfectly to create this mess,  like a perfect storm.

The first scenario suggests the idea that spilled coffee is not so bad.  Sure, I had to clean it up, but it is somewhat contained. This could be in comparison with an illness such as the flu, or cold or maybe even shingles.  Miserable yet definable and defiantly recoverable.

But dropping the coffee cup on the floor made a huge mess.  It’s like my diagnosis with Parkinson disease, the chronic progressive neurological disease. First, I noticed a few symptoms, but as time passed, I became more familiar with the changes in my body. The dropped cup of Parkinsons had spilled out. Even after a thorough look at my interior and exterior, more symptoms were discovered as years passed.

I saw an article in a newsletter I had moved after the spilled coffee incident. It asked for subjects for clinical trials and research. I saw most of the research in the U.S. is not going towards a cure.  There are many wonderful projects to slow the progression of the disease, to try out another medication for the symptoms, to help with balance in Parkinson patients.  These are good and important studies.  These studies will have something to do with improving my ability to keep my coffee in the cup, I am sure of it!

But where are the studies  looking for the CURE?

Twelve years ago, I had first my visit with a movement disorder specialist. I was told “This is the best time to have Parkinsons.  (WHAT? There is a good time?) “In your lifetime there will be a cure!”

Dear research people, there is longevity in my family.  If nothing else happens to my body, I may live into my 90’s.  That gives you plenty of time.   Parkinsons has been identified as a disease for over 200 years.   Get on the path to the cure it! And those of us suffering from this incurable disease, let’s do our part and get our legislators to introduce and pass bills directed towards funding more research for a cure.

In my spare time, I will conduct my own study of the typical coffee cup and develop a list of strategies to avoid spilling and dropping. That will leave the scientists more time to deal with the most important issue…



Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at www.ultreiablog.org After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 caclupny@gmail.com (541) 720-4256

3 thoughts on “Spilled Coffee

  1. Oh my, love those coffee cups with pics, etc. but when I know (going out to garden) I might spill, I brew it into the carrier mug with lid. In the garden I just sip/tip/no spills. But in the house, …. sip and tip….ha, ha. All in a day……

  2. I’m not hopeful for a cure for my, but for others, younger than I. That means I really appreciate your “in the meantime” closing paragraph. That kinda sums up my own focus–look for ways to live well or at least better w/the disease.

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