Friday, June 26, 2009

July 18 Meeting: Nothing but a picnic

Hello one and all,

Our meeting for the 18th of July will be our annual Summer  PD Potluck Picnic. It will be held at the fashionable and exclusive "Maison de Dunlap-Shohl" a handsome  though modest frame dwelling from the middle of the past century. We'll have salmon and buffalo on the grill, you bring whatever else you think we should have. New this year: Door Prizes!

This will be a great opportunity to get together, spill a few drinks, have a chance to talk PD, and examine the DBS stitches of Pierre, the Maitre de Hotel.

It all happens starting at 1:00 July 18 at 9601 Elmore  Rd. (formerely Abbott Loop Rd.)  To get there, take Abbott Rd East (uphill) through the intersection with Lake Otis Blvd. Continue up Abbott until you come to a stoplight that marks the intersection with Elmore Road, (formerly named Abbott Loop Rd.) take a right onto Elmore, heading South about a quarter mile and look for our driveway on your right. You will find the driveway marked by a large utility pole numbered 82-A, that stands directly across the street from our house.

We hope to see you, please let us know if you plan to attend.

Your Maitre D,

llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll/        (((
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll/_  _ (((
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll         /
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllll/_ >\ /  
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll\ \

This is a test of the Remote Petecast System

Hello friends, fellow Parkinson's people, and ships at sea. I will be embarking shortly for what feels like the future. In my case, the future will involve holding very still while superintelligent beings and robots bore a hole in my brain and put the hurt on an overzealous part of my brain by implanting a wire in said brain part and goosing it with an electric charge to teach it some manners. Check previous posts entitled "It does take a brain surgeon" parts 1, 2, and 3 for more about the procedure.

You will be able to follow along here on the blog which Pam and I plan to update with what matters with my gray matter. The drill goes in Tuesday, welcome to the front row. Please refrain from smoking, spitting or yelling "Oh My God, I feel a sneeze coming on!" while my skull is open.


llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll/ (((
llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll/_ _ (((
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll /
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllll/_ >\ /
lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll\ \

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Better living through Parkinson's Disease

ABOVE: A typical person with Parkinson's altruistically escorts a Boy Scout across the street.

Are you industrious, a straight arrow who is detail-oriented, a bit risk-averse, and perhaps rigid in personality? Sigmund Freud might call you "anal", but a modern neuroscientist would suspect that you might be a person with Parkinson's Disease.

Leave it to PD to make "anal" sound like the more desirable diagnosis.

Other "Parkinson's Personality" traits mentioned by doctors who have extensive contact with Parkinson's sufferers include drive, ambition, altruism and cleanliness. There is a nice look at this phenomenon by the Boston Globe here.

In past conversations with people who work with Parkinson's patients, I have asked why anyone would go into such a depressing and frustrating field. Frequently the reply was that as a group we Parkinson's patients are an unusually pleasant lot. What's more, recent research found that People with Parkinson's Disease are less prone to lying than the average Joe. The study claims "Patients with Parkinson's Disease are indeed 'honest', and that this personality trait might be derived from dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex." You can find the whole abstract here.

Now consider: If you put "honest" together with "industrious", then toss in "altruistic" and "clean", you've got a fair approximation of the Boy Scout Law.

Which leads us to the startling question "Is dysfunction making me a better person?" And since PD is a progressive disease, will I get even better as I get worse? More altruistic? More ambitious? Cleaner? And how do you measure something like ambition in Parkinson's disease?

The height of ambition for me to get from the bed to the bathroom when I wake up in the morning. It takes a while for my meds to kick in, and until they do, I can only shuffle inches in the time it takes other people to go from bed to bathroom and back. In fact I got lapped this morning by my wife who passed me twice on my trip there between 6 and 7 a.m. (OK, my Parkie honesty compels me to admit that was a joke. And not only that, my "risk averse" side is pleading with me to take it out. But my altruistic side wants you to have a laugh...)

The implications here go way beyond Parkinson's disease. Assuming the world would be a better place if people were more honest, should we cheer the demographic reality that many more PD cases will be on us as the boomers enter their declining years? And will we have to stop calling them the declining years, and instead refer to them as the "inclining years"? Will con men start faking Parkinson's Disease, the better to win the confidence of their marks?

And if all that's not enough, what is going to happen when word gets out about how you can take off unwanted pounds by tremoring and involuntary spastic movement? Yes, I cannot tell a lie.

Parkinson's Disease is slimming.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Alert! Meeting place for support group changed

Hello one and all

I was just notified by the Anchorage Senior Center Activities Director that they will be closing on weekends this Summer. This means that we will be obliged to move to a different space for June 20, July 18 and August 15. So to make life simple, let's meet at my house for those three months. We have moved to a different house, but remain in the same neighborhood. We can be found at 9601 Elmore Road. To get to our house you can (1) head South on Elmore, go through the light at the Intersection with Abbott and look for our large green mailbox on your left. Option (2) Head up Abbott until you reach the stoplight at the intersection of Abbott and Elmore. Turn right at this stop light and follow Elmore a short way looking for the large green mailbox on your left that stands at the entrance to our driveway. Important! I repeat: We have moved recently, so those of you who have been to our house in the past heads up! Meeting time is the usual 1:00 p.m. I will post the topics for the meetings soon.

Your Benevolent Dictator,