Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day with summer-like temperatures. The leaves on the aspen trees were turning gold, and the snow-capped mountains rose to the bright blue sky in the west.
Tom and I had previously registered for an afternoon seminar on Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and unfortunately we were stuck inside on this picture postcard day.
The first two speakers were interesting and informative. Although the third speaker had the same traits, he was the new doctor in town who tried to impress us with his knowledge of PD. He discussed every possible symptoms and side effects of PD, PD meds, and PD surgery. This is the list that I came up with that in the wee hours of the morning:
A-Anxiety, autonomic dysfunction, akinesia (loss of physical movement), apathy, anosmia (loss of sense of smell)
B-Bradykinesia, balance problems
C-Cognitive problems, constipation, choking
D-Depression, dementia, dysphagia (swallowing problems), driving difficulties, drooling, dystonia, denial, dyskinesia, delusions, death
E-Emotional lability, eating disorders
F-Fatigue, fidgeting, falling, freezing, finger motor problems, facial mask (hypomimia), foot cramps
G-Gait disturbance, gross motor problems
H-Hallucinations, hypotension (low blood pressure)
I-Impulsive dyscontrol disorders (pathologic gambling, compulsive eating, hypersexuality, compulsive spending), impotence
K-Kinesia disorders (too much or too little movement)
L-Lethargy, loss of libido
M-Memory impairment, motor function abnormalities, micrographia (reduced size of handwriting)
N-Numbness, nausea, nightmares
O-Olfactory dysfunction (decreased ability to smell), on-off fluctuations
P-Psychiatric problems, psychosis, pain, panic attacks, pneumonia, postural instability
R-Restless leg syndrome, REM behavior disorder, rigidity, reduced arm swing
S-Sleep disturbances (including sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness, sudden sleep attacks), sexual dysfunction, sensory disturbances, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), sweating excessively, swallowing problems, shuffling, slowness, stooped posture, stiffness, social anxiety
T-Tremor, toe cramping
U-Urinary disturbances (including frequency, urgency, and incontinence)
V-Voice and speech problems (hoarse, monotone, imprecise articulation, slurred speech, low volume or hypophonia, voice tremor), visual problems, vomiting, vivid dreams
W-Weight changes, weakness
Y-Yin, yang, yoga
I counted 96 symptoms and side effects that he spewed out in 75 minutes (Okay, I lied, only 91 as I had to make up the 5 symptoms in the X, Y, Z category). I wanted to scream “stop” in the middle of the lecture. It was just too distressing to be reminded of how my life with PD might unravel.
I've been dancing around the D words for quite some time, and now I’m finding that the S words are equally unappealing. Is it any wonder that I have difficulty sleeping with this alphabet soup of PD woes in my head?