For more than 20 years it was my husband, Carlton, who was ill. Parkinson’s Disease progresses slowly at first, and in the initial years after his diagnosis, his symptoms were just a minor inconvenience. But as it progressed, the effects of the disease were more acute, the doctor’s visits were more frequent, and the variety of symptoms increased. It was always Carlton who was the patient. (And I was very comfortable with that!)
But since his passing nearly 2 years ago, he is not here. He is not the patient. All eyes are now on ME! That was never more true than this past week when I found myself in the emergency room of our local hospital, a place where we took Carlton several times!
That location brought back memories of caring for him and memories of the mental trauma he experienced the last 2 times he was at the hospital. Sadly, hospitals can cause extreme distress for Parkinson’s patients, especially those experiencing cognitive decline. A trip to the hospital in that case should be the last resort.
Thankfully, the hospital released me that same night. But I have learned several lessons from that experience:
- Medication is important, and once you begin taking it, consistency is necessary until your doctor instructs you otherwise. Some prescriptions send your body into a tailspin if you stop them suddenly.
- It is really nice to have a family member or friend with you at the hospital. (I’m so thankful for my daughter and her willingness to stay with me.) Don’t keep telling them to leave. They probably won’t do that anyway, and having an advocate there with you is comforting.
- Medical procedures can be frightening. Let’s be patient with our loved ones when they are the focus of the care, just like we hope someone will be with us when it is our turn.
- I am thankful for medical professionals, especially those who are patient and kind to those in their care.
And I am thankful for you, my readers. Have a great week ahead, and I hope you can stay out of the emergency room!