Parkinson’s, Parenting, and the Coronavirus Pandemic
In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, my wife and partner in Parkinson’s, Rebecca Gifford and I share how COVID-19 is affecting our family. From managing stress and PD symptoms to becoming accustomed to living well during a time of uncertainty, we are all learning many lessons. Here are five of the lessons that Rebecca and I have learned thus far:
- My Parkinson’s symptoms are less intense when I work from home compared to when I go to the office. This is a revelation that I probably would not have discovered without the pandemic forcing me to work remotely. I have already started discussing this with my company to figure out what my new reality could be when we are through the social distancing demands and most employees are encouraged to return to the office.
- Telemedicine is long overdue. I didn’t “go” to my last neurology check-up, I logged into it from my kitchen table. I feel like I had the full attention of my doctor and there we no interruptions for signatures, questions or updates on other patients from the nurses. It was just the doctor, Rebecca and me. If you live hours away from a neurologist or movement disorder specialist or just have difficulty getting from your home to anywhere, telemedicine makes a lot of sense. I hope it is here to stay.
- Connecting with community can be energizing, supportive and inspiring. From one on one FaceTime video calls with family and friends or group video chats with colleagues and social media “friends” who, until now, we had only met through tweets and Facebook posts. I’m grateful for the time, attention and community so many people have offered with an open heart and open mind. I also love that so many free exercise, yoga, and boxing classes are now being made available online to keep us active and exercising despite being cooped up inside.
- Managing Parkinson’s symptoms has better prepared people with PD and care partners for COVID-19. The uncertainty of Parkinson’s forces us to approach life minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. We make plans with the best of intentions and cancel them more often than we would like because a symptom flares up or exhaustion overwhelms us. Most people are not accustomed to have so much lack of control of their life. Many are resisting the isolation, are angry, frustrated, and are desperately grasping for control of something. The Parkinson’s community can be role models for others on how to let go and embrace what comes in each moment.
- It is exciting to see how when the world decides to make something a priority, Government and regulatory red tape magically disappears and the finest minds of the world collaborate to solve a single issue. In this case, it is the race to creating a vaccination for COVID-19. Now that we know it is possible, I propose after COVID-19 is under control, we take this model and aim those global resources and all of that passion and urgency on to finding a cure for Parkinson’s… and then ALS, MS, Alzheimer’s and all the rest.
In the podcast, we discuss these and many other lessons and observations COVID-19 has thrust upon us.
Please take time to share what lessons, observations and coping mechanisms you have discovered during these unprecedented times by leaving a voice message here: https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons
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