Firstly, I would like to clarify that I do not have Parkinson’s Disease myself therefore I do not and cannot fully comprehend what it is like to suffer from it. However, I am writing this post for my mum who does have a relatively mild case of the disease, and despite struggling sometimes, she still shines.
This little post will just be discussing the effects it can have, physically and psychologically whether you are experiencing it first hand (like my mum) or if you are someone who is close to someone who does (like me). The aim of this writing is to increase awareness.
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition caused by a a lack of dopamine due to an above average number of dying/dead brain cells. Symptoms are tremor, slowness of movement, extreme tiredness from small activities, aching and rigidity. It can be treated through therapy, medication and surgery. Through the condition is not curable as such, it can be improved by such methods.
*What is dopamine? Dopamine in the brain is a neurotransmitter therefore also has an important role in motor control; partially explains the symptoms and side effects listed above.
My mum came into my room the other day and said ‘I would like you to read this newspaper article’, no more said. I read it and realised it was talking about a mother who also suffers from Parkinson’s and how she feels about it. One of the taglines was referring to when she should tell her sons that she has it. However in the article there was no precise answer and in a way it kind of annoyed me because it was an article to raise awareness yet didn’t answer the question. So my mum and I will answer it here: If you suffer from Parkinson’s and you have children, tell them as soon as you can. Don’t try to hide it. Telling your children that mum (in this case I will be referring to the mother as it is with reference to mine) “can’t pick you up right now”, knowing that you want to but something is stopping you, is extremely difficult for both parent and child. The child is left wondering why their parent isn’t interacting with them in the way they want; the parent knows and understands that they may not fully comprehend what it means to have Parkinson’s.
It is a very frustrating disease to handle. As said before, my mum has a relatively mild condition of Parkinson’s but it stops her from doing many basic tasks that others would consider nothing. She has a significant tremor in both her hands and a lot of stiffness in her arms and legs as a side effect. Simple tasks that she struggles with, even with medication, include lifting her knees up to put on her socks, holding a phone, using a phone, carrying heavier bags such as food shopping and in general being able to hold something still. Imagine wanting to pick up a spoon to eat some soup but someone keeps grabbing your hand and persistently nudges it upwards or sideways so that half the soup on that spoon doesn’t make it to your mouth. That is a glimpse of the annoyance of not being able to hold something still.
It is a very heavy burden on her as such small things are mentally and physically draining for her. I used to, and have to admit sometimes still do, get impatient with her if she can’t do something which I consider easy such as typing at a normal rate. Naturally, due to the tremor, my mum finds it difficult to quickly move her fingers individually, at a normal rate. Therefore, typing doesn’t come easily. If anyone knows someone who does suffer from the Parkinson’s tremor, please be patient with them. It is trying for everyone but most of all the person who is having to suffer with the disease. The person may feel inadequate, as my mum has expressed to me, when they feel like they are holding people up.
I wanted to write this to spread awareness about Parkinson’s Disease and to let my mum know that it doesn’t in any way take away from the fact that she is a brilliant mum, wife and human being.