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Old 11-15-2008, 12:34 PM   #1
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hartley55 HB User
Aunt may have Parkinson's... should I speak up?

We've noticed a slight tremor (like a mild "no" shake of the head) in my Aunt recently. She is in her early 70's. She also related a one-time problem with her feet just "going out from under" her. Her brother has Parkinson's and her sister suffers from dementia and may also have Parkinson's. She has had many health problems from a young age, including epilepsy which is well controlled. She is on a number of medications so the possibility that she could be suffering side effects of medication exists. My Uncle's health (late 70's) as well as his emotional state is fragile, so speaking with him about the possibility she has Parkinson's is not a good choice. It isn't feasible to speak with children or grandchildren about this possibility either. She sees her doctor frequently and one would expect the doctor to take note of this, but sadly this also seems unlikely, at least at this early stage.

So basically it is left to me to decide whether or not to mention this. I have done a little online reading on Parkinson's and now know that there is medication that may help her if she has Parkinson's provided it is not contra-indicated with her other meds. However this wonderful lady is under a lot of stress due to my Uncle's state of health and an upcoming move from their home into a condo. At this point I would like to hear opinions on what to do. The possibility that she has Parkinson's would obviously be distressing, yet then she could get medical help for the condition. Or should I keep quiet and leave her happily unaware for the time being, as in time if she does have Parkinson's she herself, other family members or her doctor will become aware of the symptoms and then she will get medical help.

Is the advantage in finding out sooner and getting help of greater benefit than leaving her unaware to enjoy life without the knowledge that she has or possibly has Parkinson's?

She is a very dear lady and we are quite close. She has confided in me details about many of her health problems, though she has never personally mentioned her epilepsy.

I would be most grateful for your thoughts... whether you have Parkinson's yourself or a loved one with the disease.

Many thanks.

 
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:55 PM   #2
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jackolantern HB User
Re: Aunt may have Parkinson's... should I speak up?

I'm sorry to hear that. And I'm sorry to hear that you don't feel like you can turn to any of your relatives. Are you sure her children wouldn't listen? When you said feasible maybe you meant to call them? Could you email them instead?

I'll just tell you a little bit about what's going on in my family and it may help you form an opinion.

My mother is having a tremor on her left side and sometimes her foot shakes, too. She is in her 60s. She doesn't seem to walk very well and the shaking seems more noticeable if she's stressed. She has been to at least one neurologist and one or two other doctors. They cannot flat out tell her if she has Parkinson's or not. It is so annoying. She has been given B12 shots (vitamin) that they say she was deficient in, but now I don't know if she needs those anymore.

The last couple visits I noticed less shaking, so maybe something they gave her was good, but sometime in the past few months they put her on some medicine that she said costs a lot, doesn't have a generic version, isn't covered by Medicare and doesn't seem to have improved anything so now she's weening herself off that. I asked her if she might have Wilson's, but the doctor said no. Wilson's is related to too much Copper I believe.

Anyway, I feel that the more information my mom has and the sooner, the better. She has lost weight (all this has been going on for a couple years now), she can't seem to keep it on very well. She bruises easily. And when I think of her I think that it can only be better to try to treat it sooner. The problem is if they don't know what to treat or the best way to do it, you can't be sure whatever the docs say or do will even help. You can just hope it doesn't make it worse and it does help.

At first we didn't know what to think. We thought maybe it was some sort of bottled up emotional reaction to Hurricane Katrina (our old house got destroyed. We live in Miss.) causing all the stress and physical reactions possibly, but who knows if that had anything to do with it. Either way, at least we do know a few things we can rule out.

I don't know how your aunt will take the news and I don't know what to tell you. I just know that if it was me I would want to tackle any disease I had head on and not waste any time when it came time to look for an answer.

Last edited by jackolantern; 01-24-2009 at 09:59 PM.

 
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