I Have Parkinson's

February 28th, 2017

I came downstairs from my office to have lunch with Jim. He was sitting with a computer in his lap. He has been on the computer a lot lately. He hasn’t been feeling well. He’s lost a lot of weight and his stomach has been bothering him. This winter’s snow removal has taken a toll on him. An "atmospheric river" is a term we’ve never heard before, now we hear it weekly. Unbelievable amounts of snow have been keeping Jim in his snow removal machines for 16 hours at the time.

So, I am in the kitchen making lunch and he says: ” I know what I have, and you’re not going to like hearing it.”  “You do?” I say with great skepticism and about the same amount of cynicism in my voice. I hate it when he goes self-diagnosis surfing the web and then he buys all kinds of supplements. Men! I think to myself and continue to make lunch.

“OK, fine, tell me what you think you have!” 

“ You sure you want to hear it?” he says, building on the suspense. “Oh please, just tell me, will you!”  I answer exasperated.

 “ I think I have Parkinson’s.”

I choked on my first bite of a sandwich I just took. It’s like the light went on immediately. All his symptoms suddenly made sense. The lack of smell and taste, not moving his right arm when he walks, a tremor in his right hand…

I made an appointment with our family doctor for the next day. He performed a test in his office and sent us to a neurologist. Here we go again, except the roles are reversed now. I am not the patient. I am the note taker. It so happens that the neurologist is the same doctor whom I've been seeing for my femoral nerve damage. I called his nurse, and she got us in the next day. I've been preparing Jim on our drive over that diagnosis will take time and we will have to do many tests and visits to other specialists. The doctor performs several tests, asks some questions. It didn't take long at all for him to say: "You have classic signs of Parkinson's" without a doubt in his voice. And there it is again. It's like a guillotine came down on both of us. We walked out of doctor's office with stacks of pamphlets and booklets. We sat in silence the whole drive home. 

 WTF? Whose life is this!? Can someone wake me when this nightmare is over?! 

Alenka Vrecek