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Friday, September 30, 2011

Will Parkinson's disease Kill Me

The short answer is NO, you will die WITH Parkinson's disease not OF Parkinson's disease, or so I am told. I'm not going to worry about it since I might get run over by a truck next week, or go to the dentist.

My Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease when he was 82 and he also had some dementia, but it was a trip to the dentist or eating lunch that probably killed him. He was doing great; we went to the dentist and to the podiatrist and then out for lunch. He was climbing in and out of the car better than I could. I didn't know it at the time, but I already had Parkinson's symptoms for several years and in some ways, I was in worse condition than he was. 

Nachos for lunch

Less than 24 hours later, he was in the hospital with a high temperature, a virus of some kind. The virus knocked the heck out of him and the folks at the hospital didn't help any. They wanted him to stay in bed, but he kept forgetting and he would get out of bed to use the bathroom, so they secured him and he fought back.   They asked me to bring his wheel chair, I said he doesn't have one, yesterday he was walking better than me, but they didn't believe me.

The day before we had eaten a nice lunch at casual restaurant and Dad had no problems chewing his food, but the folks at the hospital insisted on a swallow test, which he failed and then they would only feed him baby food, and he fought back.   

They wouldn't let me take him home, they insisted on re-hab, until he could walk again; another disaster. My Wonderful Husband and I rented a place a mile from the re-hab place and I went there four and five times a day to take care of him. He refused the baby food, so I would take him for a ride in the wheelchair and we would go two blocks away to a fast food place where he would happily eat two cheese burgers, fries and a milkshake, never choking once. I would tell them to give him real food, but they could not. Doctors orders.

The combination of the virus and the forced immobility took its toll and his dementia got worse and he refused to eat. He thought he was back in the service or in school and I would try to correct him.  One day he said to me "I'm happy, why are you sad?" That changed my perspective and I accepted HIS reality and we both had a great time after that! He even introduced me as his wife or his son George sometimes and I would say "Daaaddddd" and he would laugh! So my Dad died of complications of a virus, the Parkinson's was the least of his problems.

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 Parkie Day!


  1. May your father rest in peace...
    This will be an excellent example to prove my hypothesis. Thank you very much!!

  2. Sorry... But I don't have a lot of faith in the medical profession. Sounds like your Dad was an awesome person and that you have great memories of him. Stephen

  3. Wow Bev. Thank you for sharing his story. He was lucky to have you by his side! Barbara

  4. Sorry about your Dad. Sounds like he was a great guy. My answer to the question would be "Not directly" though.
    Stephen W

  5. That's what happened to me when I was in the hospital recently. My legs were completely frozen after being given morphine and being up all night. The staff kept saying does she live alone? Freaking out my daughters, who are now looking for residences for me. I'm getting my strength back and have had no problems.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story, sorry for your loss. My Dad, also died with Parkinson's, but at the young age of 63. I also must agree with the other commenters, I have little faith in the medical profession, as my Dad was continually midstreated and mis diagnosed... When we brought him home he actually improved until he passed from complications due to pneumonia...

  7. Think this might be the way my husband might go as he has started to choke now and again on his food had to call ambulance last time as I just couldn't get it to shift and just as the paramedics came in the door he coughed it up this is so scary but seems to be very little can be done as he wont let me cut up his food and wont let me puree it either