PASB
PO Box 6254
Santa Barbara, CA 93160-6254
Phone:  805-683-1326
email:   kttbell@mypasb.org

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Meet our Friends at PASB

Meet Bob Gin.  Bob has been attending our Exercise Classes and Speaker Meetings for several years.  He always helps set up the classes and writes beautifully in Calligraphy.  Bob creates all of our Name Tags for our members and for all of the presenters at our Speaker Meetings!  Thanks Bob!

Meet Fred Owens.  Fred attends our Exercise Program and the Speaker Meetings.  He's a funny guy and a talented gardener.  Enjoy Fred's entertaining take on PD.  

Fred Owens

Parkinson's.....PD is the coolest of major maladies -- we have Michael Fox, Alan Alda, Linda Ronstadt and Mohammed Ali. Next Monday I am going to a boxing class at the gym, designed for PD folks. I will probably knock myself out. These days I get scared of going to new places by myself. Like yesterday, I was scared to go to the new Target. I did go however and I did not like it. The in-store music was too loud, and the lights were too bright. It was all too shiny. But I stuck it out and bought a new 5-cup Mr. Coffee coffeemaker and some art supplies -- a small canvas and a tube of Apple green acrylic paint. I have set myself up in an outdoor painting place  -- it is very absorbing. 

 

This is all PD related by the way. In my PD exercise class they encourage all manner of activity, like painting. Another thing I have begun to do is play the piano. Reading the sheet music maintains the connection between the eyes on the notes and the ten fingers on the keys  -- that feedback loop is what can get lost when the disease progresses.

 

In exercise class, I began talking with Kent. He is 81. He's had PD for 15 years. His wife Karen drives him to class. He is a bit unsteady in his movements but speaks loudly enough and makes sense. That's encouraging. Kent is doing all right. 

 

I take the medicine three times a day, "ropa dopa" they call it, otherwise I get stiff and achy. I get constipated and I have to pee a lot. But a lot of these things are just old age. Like my sex life, still going, can't complain and spare you the details. I sleep well and my appetite is good.

 

I have almost entirely lost my sense of smell, and this is common for PD folks. It seems like a small thing, but actually it's a big thing. So much of our judgment and decision-making comes from unconscious olfactory feedback. We like people or do not like people because of the way they smell. Some rooms smell good and some not so good. It's good to pay attention to your nose, and I wish I still had my nose -- my olfactory capacity that is.

 

But in general I don't cruise the Internet for PD information. I find this depressing. I would rather go to my PD exercise class and ask questions from my fellow sufferers.

 

PD is so random. Who gets it? Does it progress rapidly, slowly or not at all? Some people get the trembling hands, but many people don't get it. My sister said don't think about what might happen, so I don't. I can't say that it weighs on my mind too much, although my balance is pretty poor and I have to be careful when I walk. Maybe that explains my fear of new places like the Target store -- familiar landscapes are easier to navigate,

 

And I like my doctor. She works at the Sansum Clinic nearby. She is 35 and looks like she's 12. She went to medical school in Bangkok and her name is Dr. Mananya Satayapresert. 

 

This is probably more than anybody wants to know about my PD experience, so I will stop here.

by Fred Owens

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