Not just “care givers”, we are Partners in Parkinson’s
In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, my wife and partner in Parkinson’s, Rebecca Gifford, and I explore the important role caretakers play in lives of people with Parkinson’s. We visit with people we met through season two to discuss the balance between being a spouse and a caregiver; we wrestle with what to call these important people and wonder why the medical and scientific communities do not listen to them more closely and tap them for real knowledge about living with Parkinson’s disease.
Through the discussions, it has become clear to me that our partners are amazing people who care for us and prepare, as best they can, to deal with all of our unpredictable PD symptoms. And they also have responsibility to run the household, sometimes over small children and pets, and then their own self-care, their own interests and careers get whatever time is left over.
Usually very little, if any time is ever leftover.
Sure, we’ll travel while we can and set off on new adventures as COVID, money, and time allows. Life doesn’t end with a diagnosis. It changes. It constantly changes.
As years roll on, these amazing people will bear witness to their partner’s silent suffering as Parkinson’s slowly traps the person they love inside a body that will no longer obey.
Parkinson’s tightens its grip.
In my case, the disease has already begun to restrict my ability to be present at times and to empathize. Slowly, this relentless, degenerative neurological brain disorder causes disorder in my brain. It steals my thoughts and my voice. In time, I know Rebecca will be there to support, care, challenge me and others, and advocate on our behalf. A writer by trade, she will find clarity and might in putting pen to paper, invoking the compassion of Quan Yin and just the right words to strike like lightning and reverberate like thunder.
There are millions of people like my wife who have untapped knowledge and a lived experience with Parkinsons that researchers and neurologists could leverage in making life better for people with Parkinson’s until that day when we find a way to end it.
We should all demand to hear what they have to say. Immediately.
We are all up against the clock.
Follow me, Larry Gifford
Thank you to:
Tim & Sheryl Hague Check out their holistic Parkinson’s center at “U-Turn Parkinson’s” and follow Tim on Twitter and Instagram @TimHagueSr
Jimmy Choi – follow Jimmy on Twitter @JCThr33 and on Instagram @jcfoxninja
Gila Bronner – Director of Sex Therapy Services at Sheba Medical Center.
Ellen Bookman – Ellen is very active in her PD boxing community www.pdboxing.org. Follow Ellen on Twitter @luvlivin3
Joe & Sarah Possenti
and to my wife and partner in Parkinson’s Rebecca Gifford. Follow her on Twitter @RebeccaJGifford and on Instagram @loveandmud
Our presenting partner is Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/
The toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000
Follow them on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada
Find the new Parkinson Clinical Guideline www.parkinsonclinicalguideline.ca
Our content and promotional partners
Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Navigating Parkinson’s and COVID-19 Podcast: Check out the limited series podcast on COVID-19 and Parkinson’s that I am hosting with Dr. Rachel Dolhun for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
WPC2022– Save the date for the sixth World Parkinson Congress, June 7 to 10, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain in 2022. The only inclusive scientific conference opens its doors to people with Parkinson’s and families.