It is not catching or hereditary.
No one knows what causes it, but some of the Dopamine cells in the brain begin to die at a faster rate. Everyone slowly loses some Dopamine cells as they grow older. If the cells suddenly begin to die at an accelerated rate, Parkinson’s disease develops. It is slowly progressive and usually occurs as people get older. Medicine can help. I will take newer, stronger kinds over the years. Some will make me sick and have lots of side effects.
Stick with me. I have good days and bad days.
TREMORS. You are expecting me to shake. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Medicine takes care of some of the tremors. If my hands, feet or head are shaky, ignore it. I’ll sit on my hand or put it in my pocket. Treat me as you always have. What’s a little shakiness between friends?
MY FACE. You think you don’t entertain me anymore because I’m not grinning or laughing. If I appear to stare at you or have a wooden expression, that’s the Parkinson’s. I hear you. I have the
same intelligence. It just isn’t as easy to show facial expression. Swallowing is a problem so I may dribble. This bothers me, I try not to.
STIFFNESS. We are ready to go somewhere and as I get up, I can hardly move. Maybe my medication is wearing off. This stiffness or rigidity is a part of Parkinson’s. Let me take my time. Keep talking, I’ll get there eventually. Trying to hurry me will not help. I can’t hurry. I must take my time. If I seem jerky when I start out, that’s normal. It will lessen as I get moving.
EXERCISE. I need to walk and work every day. I will do as much as I can. It may be a slow walk but I will get there. Remind me if I slump or stoop. I don’t always know I am doing this. I try to do as much work as I can but some tasks are now beyond me. Encourage me to keep trying. Better to walk behind the grass mower slowly if I can, than to ride on one.
MY VOICE. As my deeper tones disappear, you will notice my voice is getting higher and wispy. That’s Parkinson’s. It has nothing to do with what I ate or how early I went to bed. I may nap during the day. Let me sleep when I can. I can’t always control when I am tired or feel like sleeping.
EMOTIONS. I must try to avoid stress and confrontation. I know Parkinson’s can make me difficult to live with but I do try my best. However my moods can be good and bad. Pain is a constant
companion and is usually caused by muscles cramping up anywhere in the body so this can make me a bit more than uptight.
PATIENCE. My friend, I am the same person, I’ve just slowed down. It is not easy to talk about Parkinson’s, but I’ll try if you want me to. I need my friends. I want to continue to be part of life.
THANK YOU for reading this.
Also in May 2015 issue:
Faye: Pushing Boundaries Despite MS
Ingrid: My Oceans of Hope Experience
Rod: I did the Upbeat Outward Course
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