Back then, I didn't understand when the staff at the hospital said, "Parkinson's makes everything worse." I didn't understand that his dementia may have been caused by the many different medications he was taking. I didn't understand why he seemed to have lost his sense of humor. Why he no longer made witty, sarcastic quips. Why he no longer laughed like he used to.
I didn't understand why it was painful for him to put his arms behind his back to put on a jacket or raise his arms above his head to take a tee shirt off. I didn't understand why he would just sit and stare off into space when he used to love to play golf or read books or go to shows and plays. I didn't understand why his nose would run or why he'd sometimes drool on himself and not seem to even realize it. I didn't understand how he could fall just by turning around in the kitchen. I DO NOW.
Back then, I didn't understand a lot of things because I didn't know much about Parkinson's. I only knew that people with Parkinson's had shaky hands. That was it. I knew nothing about the rigidity, slowness, cognitive problems, facial masking or balance issues. I was totally clueless.
Heck, I didn't even realize, way back then, that I already had Parkinson's disease myself, for at least 5 years. I remember asking my Father's neurologist, if maybe my problem with my right hand was Parkinson's and his reply, "Don't waste my time, your problem is orthopedic not neurological." He was totally wrong and it makes me wonder, just how much about Parkinson's HE knew?
The point of this story is knowledge is power. As a Parkie or their care-partners, you need to learn about this disease. You need to know that Parkinson's will even make getting over a cold take longer. You need to know that the medications we take can have serious side effects and that other medications can interact with them as well. You need to keep learning and fighting and laughing and forcing yourself to keep moving and interacting with others. If you don't, then Parkinson's will win.
I miss both my parents every day, and I have photos of them on my walls. When I look at their smiling faces, I remember the good times. I will not give up, I will not give in, I will not hide in the dark. If I can still do it after having this damn disease for more than 15 years, you can to.
|YumaBev's Mom and Dad|
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