My fight with Parkinsons Disease ( a familiar story )
I was first diagnosed with PD in June 2015. Although the symptoms had been there for some years before then. My movement was very slow and methodical and I had a tremor in my hands. It was like living life in the slow lane. I went to my GP who did a few basic tests, then referred me to a Specialist at South Tees Hospital who confirmed I had PD.
This may sound strange but after I had overcome the initial shock of what the Specialist had told me and wiped the tears from my eyes, I had a moment of relief, not only, that now I knew what was wrong with me but that I hadn’t had a stroke which was my initial fear.
I am now 72 and it’s a constant daily battle, not just for me but also my wife, who helps me cope. I know she gets as frustrated as I do and I’m sad and so very sorry, she has to contend with these added problems at this time in her life. In February we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary, 50 great years together. I would be lost without her.
PD affects so many functions and parts of the body, in addition, it affects different people in different ways, for my part, the following applies :-
- Slowness of movement
- Hands shake
- Stiff and aching joints
- Problems with balance, especially in confined spaces
- I shuffle rather than walk taking longer strides
- Posture has developed into a stoop
- Handwriting is now illegible
- Speech has deteriorated both in volume and clarity, I tend to mumble
- Quality of sleep is poor, even when I am very tired
- Facial expression has changed, I now look dour with a scowl and default to an open-mouthed gormless look, (not pretty!)
- Constant fatigue
I also have arthritis and it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two, at times it seems every joint in my body aches. I have already had one knee replacement and now waiting to have the other knee done.
These are the main changes I have found that affect me although some of these have been helped with medication, my hands don’t shake anymore unless I have been using tools for a long period.
I am due a review any time now and the medication I am currently taking is :-
a) Co Beneldopa
I have limited the above to PD medication, like many of us nowadays we take pills for all sorts of ailments, mine come from the pharmacy in a big carrier bag. I will need a sack soon !!
Thankfully none of these symptoms seem to affect my driving, I have however had to inform the DVLA who have issued me with a three year driving licence which is due for review shortly. It is worrying because without my car it will be devastating to my lifestyle. We have a holiday home (its a static caravan really) but it gets us away and we visit most weeks during 10 months of the year
My main hobby is fly fishing, however, this is now a struggle for me and therefore limited
to times when my son can come with me. It is really fantastic when your son shares your passion for fishing. We have had some great trips together over the years, one trip in particular stands out was when he caught his first Salmon on the fly, we were fishing the River Esk on the Scotland /England border near Longtown, Carlisle, great memories!
He now casts a fly better and much further than I can.
In my working life I started off as an Apprentice Plumber and after I had served my time, moved into the office, graduating through Estimating and Surveying into Management. I joined a large National Company in 1969 and spent the next 23 years in various Management roles ending up as Divisional Managing Director. During this time we had moved house, first to Hampshire and then to Somerset before returning back to the North East.
My wife and I later started our own Company and built it up to £2 million pound turnover before a head-on car crash made me take stock of life. We sold the Company and retired in 2002/3.
I think you have probably had enough of me by now so I will stop there.
Wishing all fellow suffers well in their own fights.