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Monday, March 5, 2012


Dementia. Dyskinesia. Dysautonomia. These are the words of Parkinson's Disease looming large for us these days.

A visit to the neurologist to discuss recent events left me with disquieting, disturbing, divided feelings. The odd spell Michael experienced at breakfast one morning two weeks ago, when described to two different doctors this week, elicited two disparate theories: one suggested seizure, the other a low blood pressure attack. Neither was present at the time of the attack, of course, to offer a proper assessment, nor is Michael well enough to undergo any diagnostic testing beyond the basics. Medication for the latter theory was prescribed, though yet to be administered as I struggle with doubt and fear that this drug might exacerbate Michael's tendency toward very high spikes in his blood pressure at times, the erratic highs and lows apparently characteristic of the dysautonomia in advanced PD patients but could also be explained by his longstanding, underlying heart condition. I am also not convinced this event was just a low blood pressure moment, especially since the reading, taken nearly immediately, was extremely high. I have witnessed many of his orthostatic hypotension events and this was nothing like them. More research is required before I can comfortably make that decision to start him on the drug and if I do, Michael will need careful monitoring.

Added to that concern this week a distressed friend confided dysfunctional family issues, revealing to me information I should not know. Further disturbance in my equanimity.

The troubled week was bookended by Death: a good friend on the first Sunday, my dear old aunt on the second. We had just visited the grieving family of the first death the day before and shed a lot of tears when Auntie Joyce's sad news reached us. Her death was not unexpected after she had suffered a massive stroke a month earlier, but sad nonetheless, especially for me since I was unable to visit her in England before she died and cannot attend her funeral. A kindly aunt to us, she was my last living blood relative of that generation. She will be sorely missed as will my friend who left this world far too soon at the age of 62.

So this week I am trying to take charge and dispel all the sad and negative energy generated and dominated by the D-words.  I am changing my vocabulary, refusing to acknowledge the hold they can have on us and keep us down. I am choosing instead to embrace the light that increases daily, to participate, if only in prayer, in the Baha'i fast that precedes the New Year on March 21st, a time of revitalization and joy. These are all issues of a transient life, after all, and how I let them affect me is up to me alone.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry for your losses, Claire, and for Michael's continuing ill health. Your writing is always so vivid that it is hard not to read it and vicariously feel, on some level, what it is you are feeling. Hang in there as you are doing and keep fighting the good fight!