Our program has become extremely popular. Each week, more and more people come. The last few weeks, we’ve had between 18 to 22 people in each group — and it’s way, way too big. Which is the reason I’ve decided to change our policy and require preregistration with a limited number of participants. Hopefully,  enough people will register for each group that we’ll be able to open parallel groups. I would hate to turn people away. 

My feelings at taking this step are ambiguous. It means that the program is really doing something (as a matter of fact, after the summer break a couple of guys came over to me and said, “Mrs. Shapiro, you CANNOT take such a break again! We really felt the difference.) But at the same time, I want to reach out to help everyone, but instead, I might have to turn people away. And that’s something I really don’t want to do. 

And then there’s the very important matter of me taking care of me (after all, who else can do that?)  That means that I simply cannot respond personally to all the emails and phone calls that I get. Yes, I will always meet with someone who needs encouragement, but I can no longer tell people (for the hundredth time) that on Mondays the men start at 11, and on Wednesday, at noon, or that today we meet on the second floor (as we’ve been doing for the last three months) but on Mondays we meet on the sixth floor.  I also decided that as much as possible, I do not meet with people or take care of things for people during the hours that I am participating in our program. As I try to tell people, “I, too, have Parkinson. And I need this therapy for myself.” 

Painful decisions. But without these boundaries, I will no longer be able to continue. And that would be really painful.