Parkinson’s Disease

My dad has been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for over ten years. Now his health is starting to go downhill, fast. Just found out on Friday that he may have some internal bleeding, and the doctor also suspects colon cancer.

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder. It occurs when certain nerve cells (neurons) in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra die or become impaired. Normally, these cells produce a vital chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine allows smooth, coordinated function of the body’s muscles and movement. When approximately 80% of the dopamine-producing cells are damaged, the symptoms of Parkinson disease appear. Sometimes, the patient may suffer from dementia, hallucinations, become agitated more easily.

Signs of Parkinson’s:

  • Tremors
  • Slowness of movement
  • Difficulty of balance
  • Depression
  • Shuffling walk
  • Muffled speach
  • Rigidity

It’s a disease that is hard to see a loved one suffer from, except cancer or Alzheimers of course. For me it is difficult because it is a long, drug out (no pun intended) disorder. A person can suffer from Parkinson’s disease for years. My father lost his sense of dignity, loss of independence. He went from a strong, healthy man who loved being outside, to being bedridden, unable to do anything for himself. He is fed through a feeding tube, has cataracts so he is unable to see, wears adult diapers since he is unable to control his bladder or bowels. He is bedridden, spending his days in bed, or for a few hours a day sitting in his wheelchair.

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