Parkinson's disease

Ruth - Interview 26

Age at interview: 56
Age at diagnosis: 47

Brief outline: Ruth was diagnosed 9 years ago. She has tremor, stiffness, difficulty sleeping and tiredness. She has to pace herself. Some days are easier to cope with than others.

Background: Married, 2 adult children, retired clerk.

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Ruth’s symptoms started with a tremor in her little finger which spread to her other fingers. She had visited her GP on several occasions but no diagnosis was made. While seeing a physiotherapist for an injury to her arm, the physiotherapist noticed the tremor in her hand and said that she would speak to Ruth’s doctor. Within a couple of weeks she had an appointment with a consultant and she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. She felt very down and depressed for the first six weeks. She suffered panic attacks. She couldn’t sleep or eat and didn’t know how she was going to cope. The Parkinson’s Disease Society contacted her six weeks later and gave her the information she needed to start to learn to live with it. 


Ruth feels angry about having Parkinson’s Disease and since the day she was diagnosed, she has felt that she is a different person. She recognises that she has just got to get on with it but some days are easier to cope with than others. Her family live close by which helps enormously as they encourage her to go out for walks with them and to spend time with her grandchildren. The mornings are the worst where she feels sore and stiff. There are days where she doesn’t want to get up, but her daughter encourages her and takes her out.


When she was first diagnosed she pictured herself in a wheelchair within a short time but nine years later this has not happened and she is still mobile. She does get tired very quickly and has to pace her self. Ruth has greater stiffness and pain now. Walking and sleeping are difficult. She is more emotional and cries more easily and she also notices that she gets angry at things more easily. But also she finds some things incredibly funny, which she wouldn’t have done before.


She uses hypnotherapy tapes to relax and she has tried several alternative therapies. She tries to have a massage once a month, which takes away the stiffness and makes her feel good.


Ruth feels self conscious about the tremor in her hand, but Ropinirole controls it well, expect when she is very tired or stressed. She also takes Sinemet and Amitriptyline.


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