Parkinson’s Disease

My mother has Parkinson’s Disease. For her, it has been a slow progressing disease that has taken many twists and turns along the way. One day she is fine and acting like her normal self from years ago. But, recently, I’ve seen the disease progressing, and taking a much bigger toll on her ability to function in her daily routine.

This is a nut shell version of the information I was given on Parkinson’s Disease after my mother was diagnosed over seven years ago, and what her doctor’s tell me is happening to her now…

Some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s are:

Shaking

Rigidity

Weakness of face & throat muscles. Speech becomes softer and monotonous.

Loss of movement in the muscles in the face can cause “fixed, vacant facial expression, often called the Parkinson’s mask, or stone face.”

Freezing or sudden, brief, inability to move.

A person with Parkinson’s disease may develop dementia and confusion similar to Alzheimer’s late in the course of the disease.

Depression can further contribute to memory loss & confusion. Memory loss, hallucinations, and vivid dreams may sometimes be caused by the drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Psychosis – Some people in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease have problems telling the difference between what is real and what is not real. Again, sometimes this is caused by the drugs used to treat Parkinson’s. We have experienced this with mom…

An example of how I’ve noticed the disease progressing with my mother is that I visit her weekly, sometimes several times a week. My brother, Danny, told me he is noticing the same progression of the disease in mom as well on his weekly visits.

I usually visit my mother on Wednesday. However, this past Monday, I was at the store when my cell phone rang and it was my mother. I answered it saying ” hi mom” she responded by saying how did you know it was me? I said I saw your name on the caller Id. She said “what is that”? Then she said ” are you driving?” I said “no why?” She said “I’m calling you on my cell phone.” I said “I know mom.”She said “how do you know?” I said “because you only have a cell phone to call from.” Then she said “I’ll call you back later.” I said “why did you call mom, do you need something?” She said “I just wanted to know if I have a cell phone.” I asked if she was alright and if she was on any new medications. She said “I have to go now, I’ll call you later, but when are you coming to see me?” I said “I’ll be there  Wednesday like always.” She said “OK I’ll call you later.”

I decided I better go see what was going on with mom so I went to see her on Tuesday instead of Wednesday because I wanted to be sure if she was on some new medication the staff knew it was having a negative affect on her like it has in the past and if she wasn’t on any new medication…I just wanted to be sure she was OK…

When I arrived at the Care Center, my mother was in the activity room sitting by herself. She didn’t even notice as I approached the table she was sitting at even though I was waving my arms and saying “hi mom.” When I got to her, she looked confused for a moment or two, but then she realized it was me and said she was surprised to see me. I told her I decided to come a day early because I had to take our daughter, Shantel to Grand Canyon University on Wednesday to meet with disability services, and their advisement center regarding her attendance next fall.

The activity of the morning that day was a volunteer, Jim Bing, who was providing music entertainment for the residents. He was a joyful man, and he provided many joyful sing along songs for the residents to participate in and enjoy.

Let me just make a note here to anyone reading this that I asked permission to take pictures of the residents, and I asked my mother if I could share her picture on my blog that was going to be about Parkinson’s Disease. She asked why, and I told her I wanted to bring awareness to other people who may be dealing with the same thing. She agreed.

This is Jim Bing, singing his heart out to the residents of the Care Center.

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My mother and I were enjoying the music. We were singing along and clapping our hands to the tunes….but all of the sudden, my mother just became still like a statue…and it was several minutes (like ten) until she responded to my voice asking her if she was OK… This is what Parkinson’s looks like up close and personal…My mother just stopped moving… it was like she was suspended in space…

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This is my friend Sharon, in the purple, sitting slightly to the end of the table, singing and enjoying the music. Both mom and I love Sharon…OMG, Sharon kept asking for more and more music…God bless her happy soul…

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This is Gracie, one of the aides who has worked at Archstone for 10 years, and who always interacts with the residents in a joyful way… Gracie is the one who helps those who need one-on-one feeding, she paint’s the residents finger nails, she helps the residents walk if physical therapy is in order… Gracie goes through the Care Center and says “good night to each and every resident before she goes home for the night… What a GREAT, unsung hero employee Gracie is…

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I came away from my visit with my mother knowing she is OK, or as good as she can be given her condition…. For those family members who are interested….if you want to see my mother while she can still appreciate your visit…you might want to start planning that visit soon…if you can…She is 87 yrs old, and I’m just saying …. if you want to see her…now might be the time…But of course…you decide for yourself… I just report what I know… Everyday is different… You decide… XXOOO to all…

Stay Tuned!

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. katsbynp
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 04:22:58

    It does sound like there are some special people at the Care Center. You are a very caring loving daughter. I truly wish I could come out now and see Aunt Virginia. Your post on Parkinson’s is a wonderfully written piece for raising awareness regarding Parkinson Disease. Thank you for the update and sharing a view of the disease from a family perspective.

    Reply

  2. Lucie
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 08:24:52

    Virginia, Thank you for the update and loved your post. My prayers are with you and the entire family. Hope to see you soon.

    Reply

  3. gotham girl
    Nov 08, 2013 @ 02:16:56

    Beautifully written my dear. Spot on for bringing more awareness of another horrible disease. You are always in my thoughts…xoxoxo MORE.

    Reply

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