Yesterday was a long day indeed, spent at the hospital undergoing tests through the Gaucher Clinic. Thankfully I was not kept in, and in the late afternoon, we made our way home. Having two diseases makes diagnosing new symptoms very difficult. The continual question is whether a symptom is down to Gaucher or Parkinson's, or is it something entirely new? Anyone in a similar situation to myself, I'm sure will agree, it's far too easy to overlook a new problem when the focus is on the two diseases that have already been diagnosed.
If you think or have been told that Parkinson's is merely a physical problem; think again! Parkinson's is a neurological disease, and therefore it stands to reason that it affects far more than just movement. There are non-motor symptoms too which can be very debilitating, effecting memory, attention, problem solving and the ability to speak coherently and fluently.
This is where cognitive tests are important, despite patients being reticent in doing these exams which somehow feel humiliating, they are an extremely helpful way of determining how the disease is progressing. By having a cognitive test done early on, your doctor will have a baseline to work from. Cognitive impairment may be noticeable and irritating but does not alter the patient's life radically. Figures show that approximately 50% of Parkinson's patients will experience some form of cognitive impairment. Thinking abilities may decline, processing information may take longer, a drop in organizational skills, time management and altered visual perceptions (depth perception: the distance between objects). Anxiety and depression can exacerbate these cognitive deficits. I am glad to say that intellectual abilities however, do remain in tact.Needless to say there is a long unpronounceable name that the medical field have given to this slowed rate of thinking: 'bradyphrenia'. It's bad enough having Parkinson's, but not being able to remember and pronounce these impossible medical terms is thoroughly annoying.
I wish you an enjoyable weekend, and if you'd like to know what happens "In The Midst Of The Night", take a look at The Huffington Post.