Parkinson's disease

Mari - Interview 45

Age at interview: 60

Brief outline: Mari describes what it's like seeing and, herself, dealing with the symptoms of her husband's Parkinson's Disease.

Background: Widow, 2 children.

Audio & video

When Mari first noticed symptoms in her husband which were later diagnosed as being part of his early onset Parkinson’s she accepted the suggestion that they could be a reaction to the stress of a their daughter’s serious car accident. Even after the diagnosis was confirmed she feels they paid less attention to it than to their daughter’s problems.


As the Parkinson’s became more obvious she sometimes resented the fact that her husband seemed to be able put on a good face for visitors while the family saw the mask-like face characteristic of his form of the disease. She had to learn to accept that his apparent lack of responsiveness to her was not deliberately aimed at her. She learnt to appreciate that putting on a good face was exhausting and he could only keep it up for a short time. She sometimes wished she could be with him when he visited his doctor as on these occasions he could also make an effort and fail to reveal the true extent of his symptoms. She wonders if his doctor’s knowing this would have in any way have altered the way his medication was managed.


She sometimes found being more aware of her husband’s symptoms than he was uncomfortable. For instance she had a problem convincing her husband that his driving was now affected by his Parkinson’s. But once he was convinced he was able to correct the problem and drive more safely.


Knowing when and how much to help her husband was an issue. She often felt that she should help as little as possible, to encourage him to maintain all his skills, but set against this was his irritation that things took him so long to do, and his impatience about the time wasted.


Her husband was always very positive, and determined to overcome the obstacles imposed by his illness. He was prepared to do research into the issues which currently affected him but was less willing to look into the problems that might arise in the future.


Mari’s husband died in 2005 from an unrelated heart attack.


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