Parkinson's disease

Judie - Interview 20

Female
Age at interview: 62
Age at diagnosis: 52

Brief outline: Although having Parkinson's meant that Judie had to give up work, she has found herself doing all sorts of adventurous things she might never have done otherwise.

Background: Married, Adult children, retired training advisor.

Audio & video

When Judie first noticed some stiffness in one arm she put it down to a succession of recent stressful events in her life. She suspects her GP guessed the nature of the problem as he arranged for referral to a neurologist. When she found this was going to take 5 months she decided to go privately. He told her the diagnosis but she got little helpful advice at that time. But in the 9 years since then she is not much worse off than she was. She decided to inform her work early on and was shocked to find that rather than special consideration she was put in a situation where eventually her only option was to leave.

 

At first she didn’t want to tell friends and family especially her mother. But when she found the expert patients programme it gave her confidence, especially when she was asked to become a tutor. She enjoys having a circle of friends who also have PD and is involved in many social and fundraising activities with them including sailing and absailing. Some of her old friends really understand her difficulties while others really don’t. Judie’s husband  has had to take on some domestic responsibilities he had never encountered before her illness. She has a good relationship with her grandchildren who have some understanding of her condition.

 

Her symptoms have not progressed much. She has a tendency to freeze which is worse if she is in a demanding situation and her walking is very slow. She takes the medication she is prescribed and doesn’t spend much time worrying about possible side effects.

 

While she is much worse off financially than when she was working and some benefits are not available for someone with a working husband, she enjoys the benefits she can get like concessions on trains and in cinemas and theatres.

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