Tuesday, 16 April 2024
    The positives of living with Parkinson's

    The positives of living with Parkinson's

    It is almost 15 years since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, joining the estimated 250,000 Australians living with PD, writes former NSW deputy premier, John Watkins, in the Sydney Morning Herald.

    Parkinson’s is often simplistically described as a neurological movement disorder. Even after a decade and a half, it surprises me with its odd, almost malicious intent, attacking when it is least expected and most unwelcome.

    In the past twelve months, almost all it touches has become steadily worse, but it has been the unrelenting attack on my mental health and peace of mind that has been hardest to cope with.

    Almost as bad has been the decay in my ability to comfortably move about.

    I’m sick and tired of losing the capacity to do the common everyday things I used to do without thinking: getting out of the car, swallowing, writing, swimming, noticing the scent of cut grass on summer mornings, speaking with clarity and intent, getting up off the floor after playing Lego with grandchildren.

    But thankfully, the past twelve months have also brought unexpected positives. First, last, and always, are the people I have met living with Parkinson’s; ordinary older Australians (though there are some in their forties) who are coming to terms with their Parkinson’s journey every day without complaint or expectation of special treatment. They don’t see themselves as special even though many are undeniably heroic in their attitude and their willingness to share advice, hints and support with generosity, kindness, and good humour.


    This disease has taken so much from me, but I’m grateful for the unexpected positives (Sydney Morning Herald)


    Jane Barrett /Sydney Morning Herald