This is my first visit to the forum and I’m hoping somebody can help me!
My husband has shown symptoms of Parkinson’s for about a year now but I have only just persuaded him to visit his GP. We are currently waiting for an appointment for a scan - have been told it could be a 6 month wait. His hand is shaking more and more and he finds it increasingly difficult to eat meals.He is not on any medication yet.
I Googled an article yesterday about wrist weights helping stabilise the hands to make eating easier. Has anyone tried this or can anyone give me advice?
We are going on holiday next week and he feels so embarrassed about eating in public.
HI and welcome to the forum, @mckenzie. We have a friendly and supportive group here and I’m sure they will be along soon to comment on your first post.
It must have been hard for you during the year your husband didn’t want to visit a doctor. Now he has made the effort, you are going through a frustrating wait time. I can’t imagine how stressful the whole experience has been. Could you let the GP know what he’s experiencing at the moment and if there is anything they can do to help bridge the gap until he can be seen?
Shaking is, of course, one of the main symptoms of Parkinson’s and many people have difficulty with simple tasks like eating. You might find some useful information on how to make this easier here at the link: https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/equipment-eating-and-drinking. Doing a search for 'Shaking; on this forum will also bring up a lot of past discussions that could shed some light on this.
I am crossing my fingers for you that your wait won’t be as long as you fear. However, while you are waiting and before you go on that well-deserved holiday, why don’t you give our helpline a call on 0808 800 0303? Our advisers will be able to talk to you about this and give you some ideas.
Best of luck
Forum Moderation Team
Did you know you can get weighted cutlery, which might be more acceptable to your husband than wearing wrist weights and which he could probably use quite unobtrusively on holiday. This is an example of one that looks ‘normal’
Eating in public can be a big issue for people with Parkinson’s to overcome and a lot depends on where you are eating and with whom. He may feel more comfortable with his back to the room or a discreet table in a corner. It can be worth having a quiet word with the person in charge of the dining room who may be able to arrange something to suit. It is also worth your husband choosing what to eat carefully, some foods are easier to eat than others. Probably stating the obvious here but if he can try and relax that will probably help, the more anxious he gets the worse his tremor is likely to be… If his tremor is mostly in one hand he could try eating as americans do, cut the food then put the knife down and eat one handed using the hand with less tremor. You might ask the waiter to get the food cut up in the kitchen then your husband only has to pick up his fork or spoon and I don’t expect any other diners would even notice.
It you do decide on wrist weights don’t get anything to heavy as it can be very tiring - it is in essence an arm lifting exercise repeated many times during a meal. It may be worth going to a sports shop and trying a few different ones and if you have a local disability shop why not pop in and see what they have in the cutlery line.
Finally I hope you and your husband are able to enjoy your holiday and not spend time worrying about meal times or anything else where his tremor might show. The fact is if people notice they probably won’t say anything and does it matter what they think. If they do say something why not have a simple reply you can use something as simple as thank you for your concern but we are looking into it or similar will do. You don’t have to explain unless you choose to.
Hi Janice P.,
It was so wonderful to read your reply just now asI have to admit I am feeling very scared and alone atm
Since I left the first message, it was made abundantly clear that we wouldn’t get an appointment on the NHS for at least 9 months so took the big step of seeing a private consultant & pay fees from savings. He has been diagnosed with PD and been given Sinemet. Last 24 hours I guess we’ve both been in shock but he is now petrified of losing his driving licence as apparently we must tell DVLA. He now blames me for making him go to the doctor, but I realise he is depressed (he already has bipolar disorder)and realise that PD patients also can suffer from further depression
If you have any info about what the DVLA are likely to do , it would really help me.
I feel so grateful that this forum exists and to know that someone out there is listening is like a miracle. My 26 year old son took his life 3 years ago and we are still grieving so much so to now have this diagnosis on top is making life a real battle so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
What a simply awful time you and your husband have had over the past few years. I have written a reply to your post about wrist weights which I hope will be helpful. However I write today about your husband’s driving licence. You are quite correct, Parkinson’s is a notifiable condition and the DVLA have to be informed. Most usually as long as your consultant considers your husband is still fit to drive, the DVLA will issue a medical licence which is valid for three years . This can be renewed indefinitely as long as his consultant continues to consider him fit to drive. On occasion the DVLA may issue a licence for a different period but three years is most common. Again occasionally they may require a formal driving assessment be completed before making a final decision.
Please note a three year licence carries the same responsibilities as any other licence, ie he or she should only drive if they feel physically and mentally well The person with Parkinson’s may not be able to see this so family and friends may need to step in and open the issue with him or her. Ultimately though it would be your husband’s responsibility as it will be his name on the licence. Also, saying he only drives short distances in areas he knows well does not absolve him of the responsibility of deciding he is fit to drive on any given day.
My best wishes to you