In October I visited my parents. I got back home on Sunday October 23rd, and the next morning I went to aerobics class. The routines included lots of punching, which normally I don’t like, but I found it therapeutic this time around. Not only did I sorely need exercise after 5 days sitting around at the Old Folks’ Home, but I needed to punch something.
I have mentioned before that my father has Parkinson’s disease. The doctor who saw him in the hospital said that the only way to treat Parkinson’s is to “beat it with a stick.” Sixteen years ago, my Dad started out fighting it with Darth Maul’s light saber. But now it seems his weapon is reduced to a twig.
Hospital neurologists were able to stop his hallucinations and dyskinesia (uncontrollable, random, violent body movements) by changing his Parkinson’s meds regimen – smaller doses given more frequently. Within 24 hours of this new regimen he was restored to sanity and was no longer at risk of throwing himself out of bed. By the time I arrived in town, he was able to carry on a conversation, which meant that I had a good visit with him.
But that doesn’t mean that all is well. Reducing the dosages decreases his mobility. I’ll spare you all the details, but it’s not at all easy for him, or for my Mom. I can't even begin to say what effect all this has on my Mom. Also, it seems practically impossible for the medicine nurse in the nursing care unit to stick to the 3-hour pill schedule. The system they have in place works fairly well for all the patients, but does not work excellently for any one patient.
So at aerobics class that day every punch was destined for Parkinson’s Disease. I want to beat it to a pulp.
Today Dad is back in the hospital with more of the same symptoms. I feel trapped – I want to go there but I would have to either leave the kids here and come back before Friday or take them with me. Either option is horribly complicated. So I stay here, and wring my hands, and go to aerobics, and punch the air.