I was diagnosed in autumn 2010 aged 60 with pronounced tremor being the main symptom. Tried most drug treatments with always the feeling that Parkinsons was accelerating and winning. Chance remark about DBS from Parkinsons nurse had me looking into it last year, calling the nurses at Frenchay to see if I was at all likely to be a candidate for DBS. Was looking to hear primarily if age might prevent me being the one in 10 that are suitable. I asked my consultant neurologist to refer me, and was first seen at Frenchay in November 2013.
Research showed me that tremor was the symptom most likely to be helped, But I would need to be without depression, or other ailments.
Then the treatment and assessment started to accelerate, despite being told that I should expect to join the 8 month long waiting list. I'm not sure if things were pushed on faster by the nearing move of the neurosurgery unit to new premises at Southmead later this Spring. The next contact was in mid January inviting me in as an inpatient over 2 or 3 days to further the assessment in early February. This appointment was at the mercy of the bed manager who I had to call on the morning of admission, and after a few phone calls was arranged to be as an outpatient the following morning. So I had an intensive day long session when all of my movements, dexterity, and levels of cognition were tested, which convinced me that I was wise not to try to tread the boards as an actor - the whole thing was videoed, both before any medication (which I stopped the previous day) and after. Results were conveyed to the consultant neurologist, who told me that I was a good candidate for DBS.
I'm not sure if I had ever been a suitable case for anything in my life before, and now I was a suitable case for brain surgery. Would I wish that on anyone!
Suddenly, out of the blue, in mid February I was called to see if could come in the following day, for surgery the day after!
It seemed too good an opportunity to miss, with the only reason not to attend was the lack of mental preparation - which I realised was a blessing as it shortened the worry time.
So after an uncomfortable night was under general anaesthetic for the scans by 9am, It seemed I had 2 scans as I coughed during the first one, so was 'out of it' for about 6 hours. I think another sort of scan also took place, and the results were cross-referenced so the electrodes were precisely placed when the next part of the surgery took place, two days later.
That was Thursday gone. I went home then returned on Saturday morning., very comfortable with my treatment and response to the general anaesthetic, in no pain at all.
Presuming everything went well with the placing of electrodes joined to the battery just below my collar bone. I briefly met the surgeon before I went under, who casually mentioned which leg I was having removed (briefly I was stunned in shock until I realised it was a joke).
Slight discomfort with lots of bruising over and around my eyes, in technicolour times two, ready for the continual monitoring around the clock until I was allowed home on Monday night.