Parkinson's disease

Fred - Interview 30

Age at interview: 70
Age at diagnosis: 65

Brief outline: Diagnosed with Parkinsonian syndrome 5 years ago. This condition is only partially responsive to Dopamine and is therefore difficult to treat. In spite of a steady deterioration in his condition Fred remains active and cheerful.

Background: Married, 3 children, Retired director of BBC monitoring.

Audio & video

Parkinsonian syndrome was diagnosed 5 years ago after Fred had noticed some difficulty keeping up with others when walking. He was warned that this condition was less easy to treat than regular Parkinson’s disease. During the last 5 years his condition has steadily deteriorated so that now he has a shuffling gait and has a tendency to festinate, it is an effort for him to speak which makes conversation difficult and he has to make an effort to keep his eyes open while he is talking. As he has a tremor in his left hand he has to eat with his right hand and does occasionally choke on his food. While the drugs he takes (Sinemet plus, Stalevo and Amioderone and Rivastigmine) do not succeed in removing his symptoms on rare occasions when he has forgotten to take them his symptoms have been noticeably worse. When he is in bed his symptoms do not cause him any problems and he is able to imagine that there is nothing wrong with him.  He has been reluctant to accept physical aids like a chair lift or an electric chair and has maintained considerable independence. He completed a Diploma in the History of Art and to do this he had to travel by bus and even make excursions with fellow students. With his wife or family members he continues to go to operas, on holidays abroad and for walks in the park. He continues to drive but feels it appropriate to undertake specialized testing for drivers with neurological disabilities.


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