I was estimated to have had Parkinson’s for about 15 years, before I was diagnosed. I worked for an Electrical Power Co when I noticed some changes, at times worse than others. I would go up the stairs and catch my toes on the edge of step, this seemed to be the thing I noticed first. Then I noticed I was having some balance problems, I didn’t say anything to anyone at this time. I felt uneasy, depressed at times and my balance was becoming a bigger problem. It was becoming evident I had something going on with my walking, not as clear of a mind and my memory. When I would talk under pressure or when I was more depressed it would cause a lower voice and harder to get words out. Writing would be ok one day and another day it was a mess, I could not understand what was going on.
I retired in 2000, my problem kept getting worse, and my confidence in myself was at a low point. I was still trying to golf and do my daily activities but was becoming evident something was very wrong. I talked to many Doctors, they had no answer. I got so I would get out of bed and get to my chair, and back to bed. I went to Emergency Room twice in Fargo, was told I had Fibromyalgia. I was also told that I should be put in a Nursing Home, at this point I was shaking out of control. My family got me an appointment with the University Hospital Minneapolis MN, I had several Doctors see me, the very best. They could not figure out what was going on, I had a few misdiagnoses.
We went to Minneapolis to see if they could figure something out there. While we were there my wife had a heart attack in our hotel room, our youngest daughter was with in the same room. She called 911, I tried to give CPR and she came to help me. The ambulance came and we went to the Hennepin Medical Center, there were several people working on her with a flat line on the heart monitor. They told us they could not do anything for her, 5 to 10 Minutes later they came back and said they were taking her to her room. My wife went from being a caregiver to me, to me being her caregiver. We were in Minneapolis for several weeks till she was well enough to travel. She had sustained an Anoxic Brain injury from the lack of oxygen. I had my wife home with me for a while after her illness, then she went to the Nursing Home.
While in Minneapolis I got in to see a Doctor who took the time and cared. He told me Jerome you will not leave me without knowing what your problem is. He did figure it out, and ended up being Parkinsonism with Essential Tremors. I started Doctoring in Fargo with Doctor Harlow, then went to see Sarah Matcha CNP. After trying different medications Sarah got it right. I consider Sarah to be a very dear friend, and my savior.
I am doing well, I must take medication on time, every time. In the winter I do my exercise, walk on the tread mill and go to the grandkids basketball games. In the summer I go hunting, fishing, boating trips, Golf, garden and stay busy. Exercise is not a problem in the summer. I do work on my balance trying to stand on one leg and then the other it seems to help me some.
It was a lot of work getting my pills organized every week, I went thru Thrifty White and they made it so easy. They package the pills for me so I just open the package for the time of day I have to take meds and they are prepared. I use my cell phone alarm to notify me when my pills are due for me to take, then I am sure to get them on time every time.
Clarice passed away, March 23rd, 2015. Our time with her from 2008-2015 was a very hard for me and my family, but we are so thankful to have had it. We miss her very much.
I live alone in my house and have learned to live with Parkinson’s. Every day is different, it’s a balance of getting enough rest, exercise and staying positive.