A Parkinson's Life
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Articles in 2016

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Honouring Traditions

 

It’s Christmas. And for a caregiver, the extra expense and work is an imposition. When Sandra began to decline, I asked myself if it wasn’t time to give up on our traditions. ... read more

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Emerging Treatments: Fetal Implant Surgery

 

The most important treatments for Parkinson’s, and those that attract most of the research, are medications and surgery. But there are three other research areas that are attracting much attention: fetal tissue implants, stem cells, and gene therapy. In this post, I’ll look at fetal tissue implants.  ... read more

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Planning for the Unexpected

 

In previous blog posts (“Alarms, Alerts, and Panics” and “Handling Alarms, Alerts, and Panics”) I described the systems I put in place to alert me if something was wrong. They work fine when I’m at home, but what if I was out of the house when Sandra was alone, and something happened to me? ... read more

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Deep Brain Stimulation – Turning it on

 

In a previous post (Deep Brain Stimulation – One Person’s Experience), I described Sandra’s DBS surgery. But far from being an end, the surgery is just the beginning of a long road. The first stop along that road is to program the stimulator. In this post, I describe what that means. ... read more

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Handling Alarms, Alerts, and Panics

 

In an earlier post (Alarms, Alerts, and Panics), I described how I installed alarms so Sandra could call for help if she needed it. In this post, I’ll talk about a couple of other things I set up to make the lives of the emergency services people a little easier. ... read more

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Deep Brain Stimulation - One Person's Experience

 

In a previous post (Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery), I gave a general description of DBS surgery. Different centers have different procedures. In this post, I’ll describe how Sandra’s was done. ... read more

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Alarms, Alerts, and Panics

 

As my wife’s Parkinson’s grew worse, she needed to call me for help more often, but as her voice weakened, that became harder, especially since my office is in the basement of our house. So I turned to technology. ... read more

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Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

 

In a previous blog post (It Really is Brain Surgery), I talked about thalamotomy and pallidotomy surgery for Parkinson’s. These have been mostly replaced by Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. ... read more

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Giving Meds Ain't for the Faint of Heart

 

In a previous blog post (The Medications Juggling Act), I talked about ways to store medications. But storing them is only the first part of the problem: the second is giving them. ... read more

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The Medications Juggling Act

 

“Did I give the four o’clock medications?” I don’t know how many times I’ve asked that. And it’s a problem. Do I assume I didn’t and give them again, which risks overmedicating Sandra, or do I assume I did and not give them, which risks undermedicating her? Well, I now have a solution. ... read more

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It Really is Brain Surgery

 

Doctors treat Parkinson’s with drugs (see “The Sinemet Saga”) and scalpels. The most common surgery now is deep brain stimulation or DBS, but before that, there were two. ... read more

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Partnering with Care Aides

 

Today’s post concerns an overall aspect of caregiving: the use of care aides and how you can work with them to give the best care to your loved one. ... read more

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Anger vs. Frustration

 

My topic here is anger and frustration. We often speak of these as if they’re synonymous. They’re not, even though when I’m gripped by one of them, it’s sometimes hard to tell which one. ... read more

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The Sinemet Saga

 

The trade name of the gold standard medicine for treating Parkinson’s disease is Sinemet. The name is taken from the Greek words “sine” and “emesis.” In English, “without” and “vomiting.” Charming. How did this come to be? ... read more

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Caregiving? What Benefits?

 

During a Parkinson’s caregivers support group meeting, someone asked if any of us thought we’d gotten any benefits from our experiences. My initial response was torn from some heart-warming tract about love and strength. And it was drivel. ... read more

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Is It Really Parkinson's?

 

According to some sources, up to twenty percent—one in five—of the people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, don’t have it. And about the same number diagnosed with something else, do. So how can people confirm that the bad news their doctor has given them is accurate? ... read more

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Caregiver Support Groups

 

As a caregiver, you need a release: to unburden yourself. But that’s hard if you don’t want to come across to your friends and family as a whiner or if you don’t want to reveal personal stuff ... read more

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Beating Snake Oil

 

In my last article, I listed some of the signs of a medical scam. But these things are like booze to an alcoholic: you know it’s bad for you, but ... read more

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Snake Oil

 

I know. Why would anyone want to oil a snake? The term comes from liniments that actually contained oil extracted from the slithery critters. It’s come to mean a fraudulent treatment and it’s rife on the Internet. ... read more

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Caregivers, it's not about you

 

For the past few years, almost everyone who knows about Sandra and her Parkinson’s has advised me to hire a care aide. For that same length of time, I’ve resisted. And I was wrong. ... read more

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Parkinson's Puzzles

 

The standard explanation given for Parkinson’s is that neurons responsible for motor control are afflicted so they can’t send signals to other neurons to move the muscles that need to be moved. But there are a couple of problems with that. ... read more

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No. Safety is not the top priority

 

Over the years that I’ve been caregiving for my wife, one of the constant themes I hear from medical and care professionals is that her safety is—or should be—my number one priority. I’ve come to realize how wrong that is. ... read more

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All About Parkinson's - and a Gripe

 

Let me get to the gripe first. Here's a typical "explanation" for Parkinson's: "Parkinson's results when the dopamine-producing neurons die." Wrong ... read more

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The Three Dimensions of Caregiving

 

I've found that caregiving becomes easier, or at least less stressful, if I can categorize what I as a caregiver ... read more

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Please Dial Back the Applause

 

I know that progress in Parkinson's is slow, and I suspect that lack of progress means that any slight gain is noteworthy. But I wish people who report on the disease would ... read more

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Caregivers Need More than a Hug

 

When it entered my thick head that I was about to become a caregiver, I went online to find out what I could. And I came away unsatisfied, because ... read more

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Index of posts

Honouring Traditions
Article on Caregiving.
December 26, 2016

Emerging Treatments: Fetal Implant Surgery
Article on Parkinson's.
December 19, 2016

Planning for the Unexpected
Article on Caregiving.
December 12, 2016

Deep Brain Stimulation – Turning it on
Article on Parkinson's.
December 5, 2016

Handling Alarms, Alerts, and Panics
Article on Caregiving.
November 28, 2016

DBS - One Person's Experience
Article on Parkinson's.
November 21, 2016

Alarms, Alerts, and Panics
Article on Caregiving.
November 14, 2016

Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery
Article on Parkinson's.
November 7, 2016

Giving Meds Ain't for the Faint of Heart
Article on Caregiving.
October 31, 2016

The Medications Juggling Act
Article on Caregiving.
October 24, 2016

It Really is Brain Surgery
Article on Parkinson's.
October 17, 2016

Partnering with Care Aides
Article on Caregiving.
October 10, 2016

Anger vs. Frustration
Article on Caregiving.
October 3, 2016

The Sinemet Saga
Article on Parkinson's.
September 26, 2016

Caregiving? What Benefits?
Article on Caregiving.
September 19, 2016

Is It Really Parkinson's?
Article on Parkinson's.
September 12, 2016

Caregiver Support Groups
Article on Caregiving.
September 5, 2016

Beating Snake Oil
Article on Parkinson's.
August 29, 2016

Snake Oil
Article on Parkinson's.
August 22, 2016

Caregivers, it's not about you
Article on Caregiving.
August 15, 2016

Parkinson's Puzzles
Article on Parkinson's.
August 8, 2016

No. Safety is not the top priority
Article on Caregiving.
August 1, 2016

All About Parkinson's - and a Gripe
Article on Parkinson's.
July 25, 2016

The Three Dimensions of Caregiving
Article on Caregiving.
July 4, 2016

Please dial back the applause
Article on Parkinson's.
June 27, 2016

Caregivers need more than a hug
Article on Caregiving.
June 27, 2016