Parkinson's disease

Elaine - Interview 34

Female
Age at interview: 44
Age at diagnosis: 43

Brief outline: Elaine was diagnosed abut 6 months ago though some of her symptoms had been coming on for several years. Many of the problems she had had have improved since she began on medication.

Background: Cohabiting, no children. Senior Operating department practitioner (NHS).

Audio & video

Elaine used to work long hours in a hospital as a senior operating department practitioner. For some time she had been feeling very low in energy, wanting to sleep during the day and having some difficulty walking. It had probably been coming on slowly for several years but she hadn’t felt this wasn’t something she could go to her GP about. She put her symptoms down to her concerns about her father’s serious illness. Once before she knew there was anything wrong with her she found herself suddenly unable to use her arms effectively while swimming. At the time she put this down to too much sun. She did consult  her GP when she noticed her left hand was shaking but he thought it might be a ‘benign tremor’ and put her on Propranolol. But when the tremor got worse she was referred to the local consultant neurologist. She was not given the diagnosis at the first consultation when various tests were carried out. It was suggested that at her next visit she should bring someone with her. This didn’t strike her as particularly worrying. When she was given the diagnosis she was actually relieved to know that her symptoms had not been imaginary.

 
Once she began on medication the tremor and the feeling of exhaustion improved as did a left sided facial twitch which she had not been able to explain but had caused her some distress for some time. She is still off work but is due to go back soon. She was fortunate in having taken out critical illness insurance some years before and she received a one off payment from this. She also had mortgage repayment insurance but was having some trouble with that claim because she had been off sick during her father’s illness, before the Parkinson’s disease was diagnosed, in spite of it almost certainly having contributed to the difficulty she had been having carrying on with her  work at that time.

 
Before she was put on anti-Parkinson’s medication she had become quite withdrawn and unwilling to go out with her friends. Since her symptoms had improved she feels much more like her old self.

 
She has bought a dog, feeling that it is important to do a lot of walking to maintain her fitness. She believes she may be experiencing some degree of compulsive shopping but is not unduly concerned about this though she is aware it could be a problem with the medication she is taking.

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