Dad's Journey with Parkinson's

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The doctor saw a tremor in dad’s right hand, which we did not understand.
For many years, dad managed the progression of Parkinson’s pretty well, with gradual disruption to his life, as far as we could tell.
He loved to whisk mum off to the shore, but after the long drive, you could hear him gently snore.
When he struggled with his right hand he learned to use his left, but the disease just kept on galloping and left him feeling bereft.
He loved pipe bands, dancing and his daily walks to the shop, but after falling and losing his confidence that gradually had to stop.
In recent months when talking, you could see his mind go slow. He would pause mid-sentence, look at you, and say ‘I just don’t know…’
Despite multiple co-morbidities, dad enjoyed some brilliant days. He loved to see his family, so he could offer kind words of praise.
The tremors meant his appetite was always very good, which kept mum busy in the kitchen making wholesome food.
Dad enjoyed mum’s cooking, right until the end. However, a favourite was ‘Cod House’ fish n chips, which he would heartily recommend.
He understood from the doctor that his Parkinson’s would never kill him, but with dementia, heart failure and a hernia, his quality of life was grim.
He had many trips to hospital where he looked so vulnerable and frail. We talked about his ‘off switch’ so he could escape his living hell.
In hospital we just held hands when words were not enough, but in those precious moments we conveyed unconditional love.
Thirteen years on, he got his wish to die in his own bed. He slipped away so peacefully, but final good-byes were left unsaid.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of social work in end of life and palliative care
Publication statusAccepted - 03 Feb 2021

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