Deterioration in my handwriting was the very first symptom of Parkinsons for me, although it was about 3 years before gait initiation difficulties sparked off investigations and eventual diagnosis. Oddly, and thankfully, I can still draw - I worked as a graphic designer and now continue to paint & draw for pleasure, when my dwindling energy levels allow. My writing rapidly went from being neat and controlled to untidy, and is now illegible even to me, and my signature is rather different. I use the computer and printer for letters etc, but hate knowing I can't write a personal message in a birthday card. Phone messages & shopping lists are a problem. It is all too fast - however much I tell myself to write slowly and think of one letter at a time, after writing about 3 letters it goes out of control again. I have tried writing in capital letters, but can't sustain their legibility.
How do other people cope with filling in forms, writing envelopes etc? Has anyone found ways of improving their handwriting? And how come I can still draw reasonably well (although fine shading is difficult)? I assume that different brain pathways are being used for the automatic movements (writing) and the considered movements (drawing).
I used too write in big letters (well my idea of big) and now i write in tiny letters some of the letters are flat M's look like sea gulls and 'a' is a squiggle, most of it if i'm forced too write is a waste of time, i can hardly read it myself and i wrote it lol.
I did try and write a list of single words(for my memory i wanted too bring up) for the last appointment with the PD nurse,problems i wanted too tell her about, i was amazed she could read some of it.
I'm not sure of a solution, drawing letters? or is it just easier if someone wants you too write your name and address(about all i encounter unless esa type forms) for them too do it, and i'll sign, recently at a village fete i was asked too sign upto a community project, after i had done so the bloke asked me what does that say??.
I always write my letters on computer also do it for my evenlopes then print off stick them on
Sorry supa you already mentioned this
Thanks to you both for your responses. It is a comfort to know I am not alone with this problem. My posting was prompted by finding some pages I wrote a few years ago - my partner couldn't believe it was my (lovely) handwriting, Seeing it felt like a bereavement, knowing I am very unlikely ever to have that fluency again.
Thank heaven for computers etc, as you say Gus.
Sea Angler - yes, I must do as you suggest and ask others to fill in the form and just sign it. Can help promote Parkinson's awareness along the way! The other day I was in Pets at Home and was asked to fill in a few details to get a loyalty card. The counter assistant hardly looked at what I had written on the form, just put it in the till, but even I couldn't read it so will be absolutely amazed if I actually get one. Hey ho, another learning experience.
And thank heavens for spell checkers - when I'm typing the letters now get transposed all the time!
Yes, Supa, I spend so much time deleting and retyping two-letter combinations some days that it would almost be faster to write by hand! I have not yet reached the point at which I cannot write if I concentrate on making the letters large enough. If I use lined paper, I try to make the letters fill or nearly fill the space between lines. That's larger than I formerly wrote. But ordinarily, as I write my way down the sheet of paper, the handwriting shrinks a bit and has more letters marked over twice because the first try was poorly formed.
Trying to stretch the letters to fill the given space is the only trick I know to keep my writing looking roughly as it used to. But it is a slow, tedious task.
Thanks for reply. Good idea - filling the line spaces with letters changes the automatic into the considered. Have tried it, and it does help. Takes a while, but worth the effort. So obvious when one thinks about it!
My writing varies from day to day. Sometimes it's legible and other days an unreadable scrawl! The computer is my lifeline for writing lists, letters and labels.
I too am now using lined paper. My writing has become a scrawl. It's very depressing. Typing is hard as tremors causes me to press the sensitive keys twice or more. I spend half my time correcting mistakes.
I'm having fun with the bank. They accepted that my signature has changed, but cannot cope with it looking different from day today. Has anyone managed to overcome this?
Has anyone tried one of those vibrating pens? Not sure how they work but it seems you adjust the frequency until you find a vibration level that's right for you and, hey presto, no more micrographia.
As for using computers, I swear by Dragon Naturally Speaking. Just dictate your documents etc.
I'm going to get the Dragon naturally speaking and my partner suggested it. I do a lot of writing and it's sometimes difficult. Hopefully with this I WILL get my book finished!
I find I can write better with a bandage tied round my upper arm......in fact I can do everything better like this! It gives me more control.
That's interesting - how did you discover that?
I will try it!
I used to wear an elbow band when I played badminton, as I'd suffered from tennis elbow previously. I kept it on one day and found I had more control over my right arm and hand, (my PD affected side). When I went for Physio, I mentioned this to the girl and we did an experiment. She put a tube of elasticated bandage on my right arm and timed me putting pegs in and out of holes. Then I took the bandage off and did the same exercise. I was much quicker, with the bandage on, than off!! The Physiotherapist had never come across this before and was quite amazed.
Worth a try anyway.
Huh, I have typed a reply in another programme, but it will not let me paste it in the box!!!
tomorrow . . . tomorrow
How weird this Parkie condition is !
I have tried out using arm bandages for two activities that I now have trouble with - one is drying my hair with hairdryer in one hand and twiddling a round brush in the other. I used to be able to use either hand for these without any problem but now can't twiddle the brush at all in the left, and only rather ineffectively with the right. But, this morning with bandages on both arms I had some increased control! Slight, but better than none!
Then this afternoon I was baking some muffins. Generally nowadays find it difficult to fold the flour in, end up almost beating it. Also make a bit of a mess putting mixture into the paper cases. Hey presto, with bandages, slightly better control with both things.
Is this imagination, or a strange sort of placebo effect?
I will try out another activity tomorrow - brushing my dog! I now find it really hard to do a smooth head to tail movement. I have to tell myself "s l o w l y, s l o w l y" all the time, otherwise it is small flicky jerky moves that don't really do the job and are not very soothing for the dog!
I don't have a tremor, but have lost the fine smooth control. Everything ends up being too fast and all over the place - typing and hand writing included. I am a left handed writer, but fairly ambidextrous otherwise, or I was. In fact, over the last year, if I need to hand write something important, I use my right hand - very slow and tedious, but at least it is just about legible,
I wonder if the bandage idea would improve my tendency to do shuffling walking indoors when tired - when I am next in the pharmacy I will get a larger tubular bandage or knee support and try it on my legs. I find them incredibly itchy to wear next to my skin, even for a few minutes, so have put them on over my clothes. Just hope I remember to whip them off if answering the front doorbell. The bandages that is, not my clothes ,!