Parkinson’s Disease and Me
By Garland Davis
It was nine years ago that I diagnosed myself with Parkinson’s Disease.
I stopped for a beer at a neighbor’s house while walking my dog on a Friday evening. My right hand was shaking. I showed it to him and said, “Look at this.”
He asked, “Have you ever been checked for Parkinson’s?” He had seen it before; his dad had had the disease.
Of course, I hadn’t been checked. I had heard of the disease but my knowledge of it was limited to knowing that Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali, and (probably) Hitler had the condition. I spent that entire Friday night and well into Saturday on the computer researching PD. I read scientific papers that I barely understood. As I read, I more and more recognized symptoms that had plagued me for two or three years.
I was a runner normally running three to five miles a day and it bothered me that my right arm no longer swung naturally and that my right foot pronated to the right along with a sensation of running in water. These difficulties had put an end to running a couple of years earlier. I had taken to walking instead. My dog and I logged as much as six miles per day. I saw him slow as he grew older. One day while watching him walk with my wife, I realized he had slowed to compensate for me and my slower gait.
I walk with a different dog now. I walk a mile each day. Well, most days. Some days it is difficult and other days difficult is too mild a term to describe our daily trek. The day will come when I will no longer be able to walk the mile, but I will hold that day off as long as I can and when the day comes that I can only make it to the end of the drive, know that I will be taking that walk.
But to get back to my story, I made an appointment with my doctor. I told him I had Parkinson’s Disease and the reasons I believed so. He referred me to a Neurologist who confirmed my diagnosis, prescribed some pills, and told me what to expect as the disease progressed.
Sounds depressing, right? Well, it is. Soul-sucking depressing! One can look at it as a death sentence not knowing the time you will have to wait on death row.
I decided, “That’s not me.” I decided, “I will not give in to depression.” I decided, “Although I am sixty-five years old, instead of retiring, I will continue to work.” And I did for two years, but I was a professional driver and failed to pass the bi-annual physical exam. I was forced to surrender my license.
I envisioned long idle days with nothing to do. Well, as I said, that just wasn’t me. I always had it in mind to try writing and had done well in university courses through undergraduate school and later in graduate school. But those had been business subjects. I had in mind to write poetry and fiction. So, at sixty-seven, I enrolled in literature and creative writing courses at an online university.
A little over three years ago, at seventy-one, I started an online blog where I tell true and fictional stories of growing up in rural North Carolina, tales from my thirty-year career in the Navy, I write historical articles about Naval events, and feature articles by my shipmates. There are currently over nine hundred blog entries. I have had a poem and a couple of stories published in an online magazine that features articles and stories written by veterans.
Every year I travel alone from Hawaii to Missouri to attend a reunion of sailors who served in the Far East. I have done this since 2013 and am looking forward to the 2019 gathering.
What I’m saying here folks is you have it in you to relegate this Disease to a secondary position in your life. Do more than you think you can! Don’t agonize over Parkinson’s Disease or dwell upon it. That is the road to depression and batshit crazy.
5 thoughts on “Parkinson’s Disease and Me”
I once worked for the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, California. I made a Vow to myself that if I was ever diagnosed with PD, I will go out on a fishing trip and never come back. I stand by that Vow today.
Reblogged this on theleansubmariner and commented:
Reposting this from a blog written by another Navy guy. Hits close to home
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Thanks for posting this story my friend. I have been dealing with PD (Mom’s) for a few years now. So many people around her wanted to live in denial. I saw it and knew. I talk to her every night and tell her the same thing. It does not define who you are. Happy New Year.
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Twenty years and some ago, I developed strange symptoms which come said was multiple sclerosis. I saw various neurologists all of whom said they weren’t sure what I had and advised against taking multiple sclerosis drugs. I didn’t. I just soldiered on as best I could and didn’t give in. About a decade or so ago, a neurologist decided that I suffered from idiopathic transverse myelitis. The characteristics of multiple sclerosis never appeared in my brain. So life goes on. The right side of my body does not work as well as I would like, but I get along. Never give in.
it was after my second P.T called my doctor about the weakness in my legs and arms, by this time I have developed a gait in my walk and I fell more frequently. Only then did my doctor send me to a specialist and it was found that I had Parkinson’s, and that I have had it for awhile. I think because I was a woman that my signs and symptoms weren’t taken seriously and therefor left untreated for so long,I was taking pramipexole dihydrochloride three times daily, I Was on carbidopa levodopa but only lasted 90 minutes then wore off.I found that none of the current medications worked effective for me.I got tired of using those medication so I decided to apply natural herbs formula that was prescribed to me by my second P.T, i purchase the herbal formula from totalcureherbsfoundation. com, There has been huge progression ever since I start the treatment plan which will last for 15 weeks usage.all the symptoms and sign has begin to disappear .