My life as a degenerate

August 2013

Decrepitude report:

Things I have


Sometimes it can be disconcerting when parts of my body hurt or don't function as well. I often try to link some of these ailments to Parkinson's just so that I don't have to worry about trying to cure them.

Before my diagnosis, I used to write up Decrepitude reports, to get me over the feeling that getting old was, well, getting old! So here is the first draft of the list of "things I have", in alphabetical order. I use the latin terms where possible to make them sound important and worth having.

Allergic rhinitis - ordinary old hay fever, in spring in whatever country I'm in, as of 1987 (take antihistamines such as Zyrtek and a nasal spray)

Anosmia - lack of sense of smell, which makes it possible to live with an inside dog and husband, but does reduce the ability to detect nuances of flavor in meals (just something you expect as you get older, till "the diagnosis")

Arthritis - pain in certain joints (something to blame slowness and getting old on, a good reason not to go hiking, skiing, trying on tight shoes, etc)

Dyspepsia - indigestion, upset stomach, burping (I lump this in with my symptoms of reflux, so try not to eat too much and take it easy on the salami, much as I love it! BTW, spicy foods do not appear to make it worse at this stage, thankfully)

Dysplastic nevi - lots of weird moles, so I need to have a skin check every 6 months (diagnosed by GP, seen by skin specialist, 5 moles cut out so far, none were cancerous)

Gastroesophagal reflux disease (GERD) - heartburn after eating a lot of food, certain foods like salami, or bending over after eating (GP prescribes a tablet to reduce the acidity of the stomach juices)

Lipoma - benign fatty lump that grows when you put on weight (opinions are divided about getting them removed, so far I have had the one in my calf removed (by a GP) but have left the one on my back)

Osteoporosis - brittle bones, so I need calcium, Vitamin D, weight-bearing exercise and a decent sense of balance so that I won't fall over and break something (diagnosed by convincing my GP to order a bone density scan in spite of his saying it's not necessary)

Paradoxical vocal cord movement (PVCM) - having trouble breathing after the vocal cords have been irritated by something and almost close the airway (diagnosed by Google, after having an episode at work which nearly resulted in a call to Emergency. I have since learned to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth when this happens)

Parkinson's disease (PD) - slowness, freezing of movement, loss of balance, tremor, usually affecting one side of the body at first (diagnosed by Google, then GP, MRI and neurologist, treated with "take these tablets and call me in the morning". The tablets imitate dopamine or raise the dopamine levels in the brain, and may be levodopa (works well but wears off quickly, and has side-effects over time), a dopamine agonist (works reasonably well but might cause impulsive or compulsive behaviors with higher doses) and other drugs to extend the life of the dopamine in your brain. Optional down the line treatment is deep brain stimulation surgery, depending on severity of symptoms, quality of health insurance, finances, and gameness to risk someone drilling through your skull and mucking about with your brain. This also involves putting a pacemaker in the chest, so you can have fun with airport security on future trips abroad)

Post nasal drip - constantly clearing my throat and bringing up nasty stuff (alleviated by using nasal steroids such as fluticasone propionate every morning during hay fever season and when needed at other times)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - feeling gloomy on dull days, and not liking living in the bleak Oregon winters (or Canberra winters for that matter). My father has it too. Started light therapy in late September. Now I have more energy, less tiredness and can come up with new ideas!


Aug 2013: Another PwP card!        My life as a degenerate        Aug 2013: Other PwP