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Parkinson’s Disease: One door closes, another opens

Wednesday December 30, 2009

Peter Reardon

Blog at WordPress.com - So soon it seems that my disease has gone from being a nuisance to becoming life-style transforming.

Muscle strength is lower but yet because of a high protein an calorie diet my weight is improved by two-pounds for the month of October. Gone is the starved skin and bone image of a few months ago when I weighed a low of about 114 pounds, to a new monthly high of 2 pounds in October which raised my total weight to 121 pounds.

At least I know the cause of a high percentage of weight loss. My tremors have intensified in frequency causing muscles in my right hand and arm to be constantly working. Like a machine that runs non-stop moving parts become stressed. So it is with the human body. We must “switch off” or sleep, in order to regenerate depleted energy.

Over time other muscles begin working hard even while I sit and ‘relax’, for example, my arm vibrates, then the signal from brain to my leg goes ‘haywire’, and then my right foot might join in to add its own discomfort.

Sometimes tremors occurred in unison, other times one limb would vibrate like a “fiddlers elbow”. No matter what the combination this random use of energy is always using more than my body can store which contributes to general fatigue and pain.

Four weeks ago my wife and I decided we should contact the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), A British Columbia government department, to learn if they could provide guidance as to equipment that could help me better protect myself in any way.

Within three weeks three different people visited our home: the first a social worker to asses need, the second a dietitian, the third an occupation-therapist with a variety of ideas regarding usefulness and safety.

I didn’t require a specially designed knife or fork but I did accept the offer to have a portable bar to prevent me falling out of bed, and a raised ‘U’ bar to hold onto which screws to the side of the bath to help me safely use the shower.

The local Red Cross Society provided the equipment to use for a period of up to three months free of charge, giving time to practice using it until deciding what works best for me.

The next stage is that I could place an order with a local merchant to provide me with what I feel would suit my needs, at which point the borrowed equipment would be returned to the Red Cross, and the VIHA; another bridge crossed.