Parkinson's Disease, Parkinson's exercise, PDF, Support Groups, Uncategorized

WORKAROUNDS: Counterpunching 14 PD Indignities

pd-walkaround

I treasure the work of the late Dr. Tom Graboys, esteemed Boston cardiologist.

I reread his memoir about PD (“Life in the Balance”), and was riveted by two words: diminishment and control.

Graboys’s major PD undertakings were managing his diminishing capacities and keeping control of his life.

Those are my issues, too.

I give you a sampling of my tactics to counter PD’s relentless drive to diminish, and wrest control, of my life.

  1. Loss of sensation in dominant right hand: go left-handed. (Neuroplasticity at work)
  1. Clumsiness when eating (dropsies): substitute spoons for forks.
  1. Can’t remember where I left keys and like valuables: tether items to a constant in life. In my case, a small leather pouch that’s always at my side. (Boy Bag)
  1. Leaving home without vital documents (wallet, driver’s license): always have them in shoulder bag (Man Purse), which contains Boy Bag in marsupial fashion.
  1. Driving uncertainty: get technology loaded car (GPS, blind spot displays, radar and cameras everywhere); stick to middle lane; U-turns rather than left turns into four-lane roads; care partner drives in unfamiliar areas.
  1. Emotional volatility (emotional incontinence, in a Parkie friend’s unforgettable rendering); think twice (maybe 10 times), before acting on impulse (binge shopping, gambling, etc.).
  1. Thanks to a nOH-like condition, peeing every 30 minutes, urgently: always know (and plan around) location of nearest toilet; wear quick-exit gym pants; stow your pride and employ adult diaper for trips.
  1. Difficulty moving from sitting to standing: use chair with arms rather than deep sofa; employ booster toilet seat.
  1. Life in the slow lane (bradykinesia): add 30 minutes (or more) to a planned task (packing for trip, gym date, doctor visit).
  1. Unstable balance: forget cane or walker; use balance sticks. Sexy and pleasantly eye-catching (“Cross Country skiing in Florida! How neat of you!”)
  1. Forgetting must-do tasks: place visual reminders in front of you. For example, monthly investment report as reminder to call investment advisor.
  1. Loss of multi-tasking ability: KISS principle always. (Keep it simple stupid) Rely on care partner for help.
  1. Leaving stuff in and around car: rigid discipline to ALWAYS check roof, door locks, rear hatch and ground around vehicle.
  1. What-to-wear-today dilemma (due to not remembering your calendar obligations): choose clothes night before. For this once well-dressed guy, this is a new challenge. I need garb that fits the day and is quickly and easily removed, thus assisting me in avoiding the ultimate public embarrassment: pissing in one’s shoes.
Parkinson's Disease, Uncategorized

NOH DRAMA

noh-drama

This post is not about Noh, the traditional form of Japanese theater, but about nOH, a pesky PD parasite that has paid me an unwelcome visit.

Neurological Orthostatic Hypotension disrupts the body’s thermostat, alters the plumbing, unsteadies the legs and saps energy.

It’s like that pilot fish riding along with the shark. A very unwelcome hitchhiker.

It has me so warm I am shirtless on the lanai writing this post. It has virtually killed my Rock Steady boxing sessions. It plays havoc with carbidopa-levodopa, producing paradoxical sleepiness. My mind and spirits, fortunately, are intact.

But it’s taxing my patience.

Backing up a few bars, this critter disrupts the autonomic nervous system. Goodbye normal kidney function, temperature regulation and blood circulation. Hello edema in the ankles and numerous visits to the loo for pees.

My very astute internist didn’t know what I was talking about when I said, “I’ve got nOH.” My equally astute MDS put me on Rx hold–instead of lobbing something nasty at this creature, STAT. Try compression stocking and diet alterations, was the message. We’ll see how those work.

The reputable PD literature says nOH is common in PD and Multiple System Atrophy (please, not that.) It notes that nOH often signals entry into mid-stage PD. I don’t like that one bit, either.

Check out the Parkinson Foundation’s take on nOH: http://www.pdf.org/pdf/fs_orthostatic_hypotension_15.pdf

Recall my earlier post (click here) about burning up on then airplane ride from Houston to Portland for the world Parkinson Congress. That was the tip off to what was brewing inside me.

I will keep writing as I pin this guy down and figure a course of action. Yep. Self-Efficacy to the front. My doctors and I are certainly not interested in another medication, but it may be the wisest way we have to go.