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William - Interview 13

Age at interview: 62
Age at diagnosis: 54
Brief Outline: William has had Parkinson's Disease for eight years. His symptoms are well controlled with medication. Mobility affects him the most and he recently noticed problems with speaking.
Background: Married, 2 adult children, retired contract support.

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William first realised 8 years ago that he was taking much longer to get to grips with fiddly  tasks than his colleagues at a conference when they had all been given new lap-top computers. He consulted his GP who suggested it may be Parkinson’s Disease. His GP arranged for him to see a neurologist privately through his private health insurance. Since then his condition has been well controlled through medication monitored by 6 monthly visits to the specialist.

 

Currently William’s main difficulty is with mobility, particularly getting up out of chairs and turning over in bed. Once he is up he is OK. Sometimes he experiences freezing. He has developed tricks to overcome this, pretending to himself he is about to do something else and before launching into the thing he really wants to do. His consultant suggested that he use an upturned walking stick to help him move but he didn’t find this worked for him. Some things, like putting on his socks, take him a long time to do. It takes him ages to write. Recently he has experienced delay in starting to speak and hopes that something can be done to improve this. He also notices that sometimes he comes to a halt in the middle of a conversation.

 

He says that his deafness worries him more than his Parkinson’s disease.


His family has been very supportive, particularly when he was having problems with the drugs he was taking. His grandchildren help to pull him out of his chair when he gets stuck.

 

While the drugs he takes are working at present he has been warned by many people that after ten years he is likely to have problems. He hopes to put this off by taking the minimum needed to keep him symptom free.

 

William has the strength but not the control when he is writing.

William has the strength but not the control when he is writing.

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It’s basically strengthwise, physically I’m as strong as I ever was. It’s the controlling that is the problem. And I’ve always had a very sort of flowing wild hand when I’m writing, but of course this is one of the, one of the symptoms that did show itself. I can still write legibly providing you’re willing to wait, a page a week. Apart from that it’s again some numbness working on the telephones, when I spoke with you. I’d love to be able to get my memory back and speech back. So Parkinson’s isn’t at this point in time my major hindrance. It’s more hearing.
 

William found ways of getting round some of the minor annoyances of daily life.

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William found ways of getting round some of the minor annoyances of daily life.

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 There’s a fashion at the moment for gentlemen in particular is not to wear a tie. That’s a great blessing. But there isn’t any need to wear one these days that I’m not working. Showering and things such as that, no problem. I have a couple of extra handles on the wall attached to the shower just in case of emergencies. When you’re in a, a difficult situation, you might walk towards the television and switch it on, switch it off, do whatever you’re doing. Then you’d say, “I need to turn round, and I can’t.” And I inch around. Eventually you, you play tricks with it, and you pretend that you’re going to turn right, but at the last minute you turn left. And it works.

 

That’s how you do it?

 

So it’s again identifying particular things and trying to do something about them.
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