In advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease, the facial muscles stop working properly. This is why Anthony’s face sometimes resembles a mask in its expressionlessness. As facial expressions are one of the main ways in which we humans both show and ‘read’ emotions, a blank face can make things very difficult.
For Anthony, smiling isn’t simple. Out of all of the PD symptoms, I find this one of the hardest to deal with because I miss him smiling at me. An expressionless face looks decidedly unfriendly and miserable and (selfishly, I guess) I want him to not only smile, but to laugh the way he used to – loud and long and with his face all crinkled up.
Extreme antics – like Ming monkeying around – can produce an Anthony smile and sometimes, if I exaggerate an anecdote or laugh at my own joke, I will get an Anthony smile. But mostly, no – no smile.
Yesterday I had the wheelchair taxi bring Ants to his nephew’s place not far from our farm. It was there that I discovered a small mirthy miracle in the form of a beautiful baby, Anthony’s great-niece.
Thank you, beautiful baby girl, for making Anthony smile!