Parkinson’s Awareness Week Please Read
The Final Instalment
Yesterday I wrote about a lady in our group whom I think is truly inspirational and I wrote about some of the drugs used to control Parkinson’s and their possible side effects, some of which are very unpleasant. However, there is another treatment available that is only suitable for some people. It is known as Deep Brain Stimulation and my doctor thought I might be a suitable candidate for this treatment. Apparently, it involves drilling into my brain while I am still conscious because it is necessary for me to be awake so that they can see if what they are doing is improving my symptoms. I don’t wish to appear ungrateful and I thank them for their kind offer but on this occasion I feel I must decline because let me tell you now I might not have much of a brain but it is the only one I’ve got and no-one is coming anywhere near me with a drill in their hand. That sort of stimulation I can do without thank you very much. I prefer to watch the telly. My sister had to be conscious when she had to have her new pacemaker fitted and that was pretty horrendous and she is braver than me.
As I’ve got older I find I am less able to tolerate pain. A few years ago I had a deep vein thrombosis and had to have injections in the stomach and I found that quite difficult as it is one thing offering up an arm for injection but it felt very different offering up my stomach. The nurse told me I could have the injection in my arm but that it would hurt more. Well, the injections in the stomach hurt so I thought I would go for having it in the arm. Big mistake! I spent three days with my arm packed in ice it was so painful. I was also on Warfarin and that meant I had to have blood tests taken every couple of days but my veins were collapsing and it was difficult for the nurses to get blood. One day a nurse made ten attempts to get some but my veins would have none of it and absolutely refused to give the poor woman a drop.
In the end a special male blood nurse had to be sent for and he did manage to get some but, judging by the look of him, I think he may have been flown in from Transylvania! I’m pretty sure, if my memory serves me well, that he was wearing a black cape and he definitely needed to see a dentist as I think a bit of orthodontic work could well bring some improvement to those dreadful fangs. Still, hats off to him, he did manage to get some blood though I must admit to thinking at the time that biting into my neck was not the most hygienic method and why he always came at night when I know for a fact the surgery closes at six… Still, he was always gone by midnight!
Anyway, I want to finish this Parkinson’s Awareness Week by sharing with you what I think are some funny memories but which have nothing to do with Parkinson’s but as I think you may all, by now, be suffering from Parkinson’s overload, especially if you have stuck with me all the week, then you deserve some light relief. It seems to me that in our family some of our funniest moments have been in hospital wards and I’m sorry to say what I am about to write involves yet another operation so I apologise for that but I hope you think this little anecdote is worth it. It always makes me laugh when I think about it.
The first thing to say is that my Husband is a thorough going gentleman. It’s true…he is, and was, when this incident took place! For example, when we were out he always insisted on carrying the shopping. He did this automatically and he would not allow me to carry any unless we really had got a lot of bags. So, to come to the point, some years back I was in hospital recovering from an operation and I had to have a catheter fitted which as you probably know is a big, industrial strength see-through plastic bag which is attached internally and when I was in bed it was hung over the side and I feel sure it’s not necessary for me to describe its purpose but if I needed to walk about it was necessary for this thing to accompany me.
Well, my husband decided to take me on a turn around the ward and so I unhitched my, full to almost bursting, catheter, from the bed and gentleman that he undoubtedly is, and was, immediately went to take it from me whilst I struggled to hold on to what I considered was personal and not particularly hygienic for someone else to be holding. So there we are in the middle of the ward fighting to gain possession of the catheter until with his superior strength he won this most sought after prize! In frustration at being thwarted I just spluttered “Oh, yes…I knew I could rely on you to take the piss!” Then we both collapsed laughing. I think we came very close to being thrown out…well, we certainly got a look from the Ward Sister which seemed to say “There are sick people here, don't you know?”
This second story you will be relieved to hear is the story that closes this Parkinson’s Awareness Week. Although, once again, it has nothing to do with Parkinson’s but it is concerned with the bowel operation that I had to have shortly after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I was still in hospital recovering from this operation and my youngest daughter and my husband were visiting when I suffered what some might say was an unreasonable amount of flatulence, well, in mitigation, it was a bowel ward after all, but it was of some duration and not as quiet as one might like. My husband and daughter both looked at me in astonishment before, without any pre-arranged signal, they both started tap dancing down the ward to cover the noise. A somewhat futile endeavour! As you can imagine the whole ward was in uproar as everybody but me was laughing uncontrollably. A very insensitive bunch of people in my opinion…
If you have stuck with me till now then I thank you. But after that last revelation I’m never gonna be able to come to a poetry reading night now, am I?