Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Vacation "Do's" and "Don'ts" List

My husband and I just got back from Maui, Hawaii last night. What a great vacation! The trip was to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and neither of us had been to Hawaii before, so we had no idea what to expect. We had looked up activities in the usual books and internet sites, so we had a list of things we’d like to do, but we only made reservations ahead of time for a couple of them. We wanted to “hang loose” and not be on a schedule. Good decision!

As usual these days, I had to compensate for the Parkinson’s. Here’s a list of “do’s and dont’s” that I found helped me out (insert the usual disclaimer here: this is MY experience, and everyone is different):

1) Don’t borrow trouble. Don’t assume that you can’t do something you’d like to do because of PD. You might surprise yourself. I went snorkeling in the ocean and swimming in the hotel pool. I took a submarine ride, I danced, did a lot of walking, explored a cave and rode a bicycle 28 miles down the side of a volcano, and I had no idea ahead of time whether I could do any of it.

2) Do allow for contingencies, and be ready to change your plans. For instance, I wasn’t sure that I could do the whole bike ride, so we checked with the bike tour company and made sure that we could be picked up if it turned out I couldn’t make it (to tell the truth, one more little hill, and I would have been flagging the van down). In other words, be flexible.

1) Do remember to take your meds on time! This was surprisingly hard to do, with all the distractions and the time change and all.
2) Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. People want to help, particularly if you are a customer. There was one lady on the submarine ride with us who was having trouble walking, and they arranged for her caregiver to go with her and get her settled on the sub, even though the caregiver was not going on the trip.
3) Do be prepared for increased symptoms due to being tired, eating food you’re not used to, and general distraction and excitement. Try to get enough rest, and let others in your party go and do their own thing if you’re really not up to it. It’s o.k. to take a nap or just sit and do some crochet; you’re on vacation. That being said, though, don’t let Parkinson’s ruin your vacation. If you feel like dancing, try it! You can always sit down again if you have to.

Most important of all: allow yourself to have fun!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Parkinson's and cognition; new study out.

I saw on that a new study from Queen's University suggests that "Parkinson’s disease can affect thought processes and the acquisition of knowledge". Welcome to my world :-) !

Other interesting tidbits from the article:

"Queen’s University researchers have found that people with Parkinson’s disease can perform automated tasks better than people without the disease, but have significant difficulty switching from easy to hard tasks."

"Even when asked to simply prepare to change their behavior, people with the disease found it incredibly difficult to adjust their plans."

All I can say is: well, DUHHHHH!!
Seriously, though, I'm glad to see some actual research going on about this.

Here's a link to the article on psychcentral

About Me

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I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.