Day 4 – Parkinson’s Awareness Week

#In control. The theme of the 2014 Parkinson’s Awareness Week. In control?

That is definitely not how I feel when I allow myself to really think about Peter’s Parkinsonism. My younger son (both my sons are from my first marriage) has, for many years, said that I am a pessimist. And it’s true – I am. Give me a difficult situation and I immediately imagine the worst. That’s what happened when Peter and I heard his diagnosis and, again, when the consultant prescribed the drug Pramipexole.

Pramipexole is a dopamine-receptor agonist – even the description is scary. As with other drugs, it can have troublesome side effects. It can cause overwhelming changes in behaviour, particularly relating to an increase in sex drive and an urge to gamble. Those  side effects have been the cause of massive problems for some Parkinson’s sufferers – and by ‘sufferers’ I am referring to both those with the disease and those closest to them. The side effects sound amusing, don’t they? But just how amusing do you think it would be to know and to see your husband or wife ‘pouncing’ on just about anyone in his or her desperation to have sex? Or to lose your home because it has been gambled away by him or her? “In control” is not the phrase that immediately springs to mind.

When the consultant told us about these possible side effects I panicked. In my mind’s eye I already had us nearing the point of destitution because of Peter’s gambling, not to mention my anxiety about how alien it would be to his character.

In the event, Peter has not been affected by either of those side effects – thank goodness. However, at the time, the prospect of his possible loss of control was frightening.

When I am faced with a life-changing situation it is the loss of control that throws me, and I cannot believe I am the only one so affected.

Please help someone with Parkinson’s to feel #in control. Learn more about Parkinson’s and Parkinsonism here.

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