Total Pageviews

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shake, shake, shake - Parkinson's Disease Tremors

I remember seeing a group of men with musical instruments at a Bluegrass Festival about 20 years ago.  This one man's hands were shaking terribly, so badly, I was afraid he wouldn't be able to pick up his squeeze-box (a small accordion type instrument) that sat next to his chair.  I was right.  The fellow next to him picked it up and placed the strap around his neck.  The music started and this man carefully and with much difficulty placed his hands on it and began to play.  As soon as he grasped it, the shaking stopped and he played flawlessly.   It was incredible to watch and the group got a standing ovation when they were done, but as soon as he quit playing, the horrid shakes were back and the man next to him, helped him put the instrument away.  
Playing squeeze box

I knew the gentleman had Parkinson's Disease, I'd seen shaking hands before.  I went up to him and praised his playing.  He told me he was only 86 and had been playing since he was a child.  Neither of us mentioned the shaking hands.

This is the most common and easily recognized symptom of Parkinson's.  Tremors.  Almost all of us Parkies have them at some time or the other.  They come in two flavors, resting and action.  I've had both.  The gentleman above had the more common type, resting.
I started out with the action type, my right hand was fine, until I tried to use it, then it would shake uncontrollably, which made it very difficult to write, drink and eat.  I was forever picking up food off the floor and spilling my drink.  I started using my left hand and soon became so proficient that people thought I was a true lefty.  However, I never mastered writing left handed, so I gave up writing.  My Wonderful Husband took over the writing jobs, checks, grocery lists and even Christmas cards. 

My writing before:
You can click on picture to enlarge it, click the X to return

And after:

Quite a difference, right?

However, these tremors are not always a bad thing.  If I could time them to music, I bet I'd be a heck of a tambourine player and if James Bond stops by, I can make him a martini, shaken not stirred.

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parky Day!


  1. I love this one, James Bond, fantastic.

  2. Michael Vest: This story sounds so much like me. Things I have said, the hand writing you showed. Also starting to do things with my left hand. My wife read it and asked if I wrote it.

  3. Bev
    I love this. I thought you're just a in-born singer. But as far as I know you are refined by PD, not defined by it. Godd loves you.

  4. we could also make smoothies ,milkshakes , thickshakes and rock a baby to sleep without trying

  5. I also attack Parkinson's with humor so to a kindred soul I say Hi. You mention your Right hand and arm? Being nosey here, do you have tremor in that arm only? Just wondering? Myself both arms and legs tremor here but been "dancing" so long now ...well never gets used to it but you know what I mean. I also was "young on set" way back when it wasn't too well known of having a young on set. I was diagnosed in 1986 at the age of 33. Just want to say keep up with the humor it really helps (even if it just helps yourself). If you'd like to see (read) some of my humor let me know feel free to email me at put pd in header so I don't delete it. Keep up the good fight take care, best of luck and hang in there!

  6. Great story. My mom had PD, now I have it and we have always approached it with humor... Your James Bond story brought back sweet memories of my dadand my mom shake is Martinme I just stir stuff up a little bit have a great day

  7. We have just been laughing about my Mom being an automatic cocktail shaker lol..............Thanks

  8. My shaking is so bad and so painful at times I could scream, it's not just my left side now it's my whole body

  9. She tells it like it is- I can relate!

  10. Tremors make cereal bags and chips bags easy to open. Gently pulling apart adhesive without ripping. Just takes a while.
    We are also good for cement agitation for sidewalk applications without loud machinery!!!

  11. Yup, no more electric toothbrush or razor needed for me. Scott