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A Parkinsonís disease potpourri
Rich Linde, May 26, 2013

Walking on pillows; dancing on the clouds

I have idiopathic Parkinsonís disease. The first symptoms appeared in 2002 when I noticed my left forefinger and thumb pill-rolling with my hand at rest. I was diagnosed with the disease in January of 2007. My golf game went kaput several years ago and becomes more faded from memory as the days go by.

Called "Shaking Palsy" by James Parkinson in 1817, its cause was  as mysterious as the "Cambrian Explosion" that turned the Darwinian evolutionary tree upside down. 1

Disclaimer: The links and information provided in this article are not meant to endorse any particular product or theory but are included for information purposes only. The information provided within applies to the author only and should not be construed as medical advice for  any other person who has the disease; it is not intended to replace medical advice offered by your own physicians, nor do we warrant as true and accurate the information provided by the sites, blogs and articles we reference and/or link to. The author is not a physician or neurologist and is not qualified to treat the disease or render opinions that may help others with the disease.

The ďcardinalĒ symptoms of Parkinsonís disease (PD) are characterized and best remembered by the acronym TRAP, which stands for tremor, rigidity, akinesia, postural imbalance. These major symptoms occur because of the loss of dopamine producing cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra. The cause of idiopathic Parkinsonís disease is not known.

People donít die from Parkinsonís disease but can die from its effects. For example, as Parkinsonís disease progresses, it becomes more difficult to swallow, the difficulty of which can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which is the most common cause of death in Parkinson's disease. Falling is another hazard with the disease.

People who smoke have a 60% less chance of developing Parkinsonís disease than those who havenít smoked. No one recommends smoking as a preventative.

More men are afflicted with PD than women. It affects people in different ways -- depending on their overall health and age, for example.

Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali, former Attorney General Janet Reno and George Bush-41, among other famous people, have PD. Pope John Paul II (18 May 1920 - 2 April 2005) suffered from PD.

Promising studies for the treatment of PD are underway, for instance, the development of the drug Rytary; a vaccine (PD01) for eliminating the protein alpha-synuclein; and a study concerning nicotine patches. Stem cell research may offer hope for the ultimate cure.

Deep brain stimulation might be a viable option for some people with the disease. For improvements in this therapy, reference the Science Daily.

Also, reference Dr. Marshall Davidson's website. He suffers from the disease, as well.

Take a look at the man suffering from dyskinesia in this video, the blue lens video.

Also, read  about Sister Marie Simon-Pierre and her cure from Parkinson's.

For me, Bradykinesia, which means slowness of movement, is one of the most maddening aspects of the disease.

In November of last year I developed a bladder infection, the untreated time of which affected my overall health adversely. I ended up in a hospital bed (with an air mattress) for a period of one month. Confined to the bed, I was unable to rise from it without a caregiver's help. Intense physical and occupational therapy got me on my feet again. Consequently, during my illness, my website took a hiatus from publication.

However, the weight I lost from my illness (22 pounds) has given my Type 2 Diabetes a kick in the pants (A1C 6.3), as well as making exercising easier.

I alternate between a walker and power wheelchair depending on the distance involved between the handicapped parking spot and the event at hand. I take my wheelchair to the Angels' games because of the long walk into the game. I cannot get out of a chair that doesn't have arms on it, and even then it's a struggle. I have two lift chairs at home. I'm able to walk with a cane at physical therapy, with a safety belt around my waist and the therapist right behind me.

I wish to thank Arte Moreno, the owner the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, for allowing handicapped people and their companions to sit in the Diamond Club for $50.00 each -- yeah, I know all about the lawsuit. Diamond Club seats (non-handicapped) for the Boston game on Jul 7 are selling for $241.00 per ducat. Sitting in the Diamond Club is good therapy for me, win or lose, for Angelsí baseball is the best show in the greater Los Angeles area. Watching baseball is better than any dopamine agonist.

My wife and I show our appreciation by eating in the Diamond Club restaurant before the games.

Laughter is good medicine, so it is said.

People with Parkinsonís disease can joke with each other about the disease in the same manner that African Americans use the ďNĒ word with each other, so Ö

  • Why did the two men with PD refuse to shake hands? Answer: Because their hands were already shaking.

  • Why did the pilot 86 the man with PD off the plane? Answer: Because he was causing too much turbulence.

  • What was the favorite song of the man who had PD? Answer: ďShuffle off to Buffalo

  • Where did the man with the PD-caused shuffle live? Answer: He lived in a gaited community.

  • Why did the Parkinsonian withdraw his candidacy from the election? Answer: He was running his campaign on shaky ground.

  • Why did the Parkinsonian's car stall? Answer: He lost motor control.

  • Why was the Parkinsonian arrested for disorderly conduct at the protest rally? Answer: Because he had a movement disorder.

  • How many Parkinsonians does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Just one (gotcha). People with Parkinson's aren't completely helpless.

I hope that no one with PD is offended by these stupid jokes. We PDíers should be able to take a minute out of the day to chuckle about ourselves before facing our plight head on. Remember your glass is always half full.

Don't be ashamed to tell people you have the disease. Providing they live long enough, everyone will become handicapped or disabled at some time in their lives.

I had an incredible experience that occurred in April of 2005. After several years with the disease, my golf game had deteriorated into weak drives of no more than 140 yards off the tee -- into weak looking draws that people used to laugh at. Every hacker wants to hit a draw, but mine were octogenarian-like. I couldn't break 100 anymore, and women, God bless them, were out-driving me. My golf outings had turned into 98-pound weakling ventures. People were figuratively kicking sand in my face by taking my money. Out of nowhere one Sunday, my old game returned. I was hitting the ball 250 yards off the tee --- long high draws that soared over the trees on the right and came back to the fairways -- and making pars and birdies. My swing felt effortless and smooth again; the ball exploded off the face of my driver. My playing partners said they didn't want to play with me anymore. That sudden epiphany lasted one game, never to return again.

The miracle of stardust is not without purpose.

----

My Parkinsonís disease tips, tricks and defenders are linked in the following article, "How I cope with Parkinson's disease."

My toys are: kindle, ipad, iphone 4s with At Bat application, Dell 27" all-in-one computer with touch screen and Windows 8 installed.

In the photo above (taken in May 2013), Iím wearing my University of Washington 1960 National Championsí shirt. Former school president Mark Emmert, ever the fundraiser, told me I should have paid more for it. I bought it at a silent auction to raise money for the UW band.

1 Meyer, Stephen C, "Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design."

 

Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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