There are many symptoms that a Parkinson’s patient puts up with, many of which have no solution. When I come across something that may improve my quality of life by alleviating a little discomfort, or an uncomfortable symptom, I’ll give it a go. As long as it’s nothing that may prove detrimental, I’m generally willing to try anything once. Nothing ventured – nothing gained, for at this point, I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
For the last few weeks, I have been experiencing most unpleasant, and quite frankly, some very scary symptoms such as not being able to swallow and laboured breathing. I’m left gasping for air and my heart palpitating like a runaway train. Unable to swallow, I feel I’m choking and can’t catch my breath as it becomes shallow. I try not to panic as this only makes it worse, but logic is thrown out the window in this frightening scenario. The muscles in my entire torso are painfully tight adding to the discomfort and making me feel as if I’m being squeezed to death. It’s horrendous, but I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for my darling husband to watch and hear me gasp as I struggle to breathe.
Unable to breathe through my nose, my mouth has a tendency to be dry. With painful stiff joints it’s extremely difficult to turn over in bed or even just alter position a little. While all this is going on, as if that wasn’t enough, my toes decided to join in the fury that Parkinson’s bestows on me every night and curl under in the most excruciating cramp.
A dear friend who has become well versed on Parkinson’s disease since I was diagnosed nine years ago, always ready and willing to help, gave me a special memory foam pillow. It is extremely dense and far heavier than any pillow I have ever had. I thought I’d give it a go, and was astonished at what a difference it made to a night’s sleep. Since then I’ve been calling it my “Magic Pillow” for obvious reasons. Anything that can keep insomnia from hijacking my sleep and hold my head and neck in a comfortable position has to be magical.