Here is what Bryan had to say about having a father with Parkinson's disease:
Q: What is your age and occupation?
27, Dental Technician
Q: How are you related to Shaky?
He's my Dad
Q: How old were you when he was diagnosed?
22 or 23 I believe.
Q: Was your father's diagnosis of PD upsetting to you? Why or why not?
Sure. For many reasons, but mainly because of the unknown, and from what I had already seen in my Uncle Eddie, who has Parkinson's plus/MSA.
Q: What were some of the symptoms you noticed in Shaky?
The only thing I noticed initially was tremble when he ate soup with a spoon. The spoon always shook. Other than that, I didn't notice a lot until things progressed a bit further.
Q: Did you have any knowledge of PD prior to your dad showing symptoms, or getting a diagnosis?
Only what I had seen with my Uncle Eddie, which isn't the same animal as regular Parkinson's, but yes, I guess I did.
Q: Have you done anything since Shaky's diagnosis to educate yourself more about the disease? If so, what?
I have. Not as much as I should, and I realize I'm the only one that can change that, but yes, I have. I went to a seminar with him, I've read up on quite a few websites, but could definitely do more...
Q: You've had the addition of two younger sisters since your father's was diagnosed with PD. Looking back, have your feelings regarding Shaky expanding the family in the face of PD changed any? If so, how?
Quite a bit. When the decision was made to have another child, I was pretty apprehensive. I thought, is that REALLY the brightest idea? I mean, Dad's getting older, PD is going to creep in more and more, why complicate things?
Now? I wouldn't trade EITHER of them for the WORLD. Sure, life is different with them. Can they be a handful at times? Sure. Any more-so than any other kids? Nope. Do they bring more joy than difficulty? BY. FAR. I'd like to think I speak for all of us when I say they've taught us all things we may never have learned without them. Hand in hand, with PD, teaching us day in and day out, that every second counts. Don't waste it. Blink. There went a second you will never get back. Blink... there went another. Tomorrow is NEVER promised. "There will come a day..."
Q: What differences do you, as a brother and as a son, see in the way Shaky parented you and how he parents your younger siblings, in regards to PD affecting his ability to parent?
Hard to say because I don't really have a lot of memory from being that young. He's definitely a great Dad to all of us. It's plain to see those two little angels have him wrapped around their tiny fingers.
Q: Has PD changed your relationship with Shaky in any way? If so, how?
I'm sure it has, but I wouldn't necessarily attribute it solely to PD. A lot of things in my life in the not so distant past have changed my outlook on things. PD is certainly part of that. I feel like I don't take things for granted as much as I used to, although I still find myself doing it from time to time. Some of that is human nature, I'm sure, but regardless, I try my hardest not to. I know things will only progress, which makes the here and now that much more precious.
Q: What are your biggest fears and worries about your father having PD?
I try my hardest not to worry. It won't do anyone any good. Sometimes it's inevitable though. I worry about when things get worse. I worry about whether I'll be nearby to help, or if I'll be able to be selfless enough to help as much as I should. I worry about not being nearby in the event of some random accident. I worry that I won't have the patience I need. I notice myself occasionally being impatient already, with his general pace of doing things, and know it will only slow more and more with time. I worry about losing him, although none of us are promised tomorrow, so that's not as much of a PD concern as it is a general fear/dread.
Q: Do you think that one day you or your sisters will get PD?
It's a possibility, and from what I've read, a bit more likely with a father that has it, but stressing over it won't do me any good, soooo, yeah. Until that day comes, does it really matter?
Q: What bothers you the most about Shaky having PD? Is it the symptoms, the possibility of becoming fully disabled one day, the fact that it could run in the family? Please explain.
Yes. Yes, as in, all of the above. The symptoms, they're just symptoms. We learn to deal with them as best we can. Patience is the key there. Fully disabled, sure, that's a huge worry. Running in the family is also a worry. But again, what good is worrying going to do anyone? Absolutely. None. So I try to do it as little as possible.
Q: Have you noticed any cognitive changes in Shaky? If so, what are they?
Ummm, maybe. He seems to forget things a bit more than he used to, but I'm not entirely sure PD's to blame, and not just the general aging process. He is an 'old geezer', after all. ;-)
Check back next Wednesday for the conclusion of Bryan's interview!