After retiring this summer, I finally had/made time to take a greater look at my health. Being obese, according to my BMI, having prominent varicose veins and noticing a fall in walking speed and balance I made an appointment with my GP.
I commuted a distance of 100 miles each way every day either by car or latterly by coach. The teaching and the travelling, with the early morning start of 4 am meant that I was starting to feel my age, 65, and was looking forward to some rest.
I could not see my regular GP so I saw another one for the first time. He greeted me and then told me he was handing me over to a final year medical student. He then left the room. The student went through my recent blood test results, all of which was fine and I told him about my varicose veins and the slowing of my walking speed. He examined my legs, took my blood pressure etc and then the senior GP re-entered the room. I told him that I was concerned about my slowing of my gait speed and my varicose veins and that my balance had also dropped.
He said that nothing could be done about my legs and then asked me to close my eyes, spread my arms and count back from 30. He then told me to stretch out my arm and relax it while he held it and then asked me to walk 10 yards, turn round and return. " You have Parkinson’s disease," he said as you are slightly hunched over and do not swing your arms much. “There are plenty of good drugs these days”.
I was shocked, as I had only come in for losing weight and varicose vein advice. He said he would make an appointment to confirm his diagnosis and this would be for some time in the New Year.
So since Friday I have hardly slept and have not been able to talk to anyone about this. I live alone and have a daughter living 200 miles away and a son working in South Korea. Being 66 next summer, I put my symptoms of slowing down due to the natural ageing process, the wear and tear of my commutes and needing to lose some weight. I have a friend who had heavy leg syndrome like me but after varicose vein removal, he feels like he has a new pair of legs.
I suggested that my leg tiredness could be due to my prominent varicose veins/obesity/ageing but he said that that was nonsense.
So until I see the specialist I feel I will be constantly stressed and unable to sleep. My main concern is that I have been potentially diagnosed through a new GP that has seen me for 3-4 minutes and he did not even consider my weight or my legs as possible problems (they did not even weigh me!).