My life as a degenerate

Letter of diagnosis from neurologist to doctor

January 2013

Formal diagnosis

Jan 11, 2013

The neurologist ran his practice out of an old Queenslander where the light switches reminded me of my childhood days. The air-conditioning reached almost to the receptionist, but not quite, so that when you stood at her desk to pay you started to perspire.

I spent about 45 minutes in his office. He had me write my name, draw a spiral, walk and turn around. He checked my eyes, had me quickly tap my thumbs against my index fingers repeatedly, had me lie down and whacked me with a reflex hammer, gouged the end into the soles of my feet and ran a "pizza cutter" up my legs. He asked me a series of questions about my symptoms, such as how long I'd had them, whether I could button my shirt, can I turn over in bed, etc.

He told me I had Parkinson's disease, and then looked at one of the MRI scans. I didn't see him read the MRI report, but if he did it was very quickly. After telling me about the disease, he discussed medication and prescribed a dopamine agonist called Sifrol ER (pramipexole), saying that because I am under 60 he wanted to keep levodopa "up our sleeve". Having read all of the support group handouts and the internet websites about what happens after taking levodopa for a prolonged period, I was relieved. I am in no hurry to have all those involuntary movements they call dyskinesia!


Dec 2012: Symptoms        My life as a degenerate        Jan 2013: Honeymoon period