As my Parkinson’s symptoms escalate, I have begun wondering about when my caregiver will have to put on “the leash.” With my typical male ego apparent, I have already steadfastly refused to accept help in managing several PD symptoms. Among the earliest was my inability to deal with the collar buttons on my shirt. Shortly thereafter I found I was unable to zipper my jacket. It took me several weeks and a lot of frustration before I realized I needed assistance.
Not too many more weeks passed before I realized I could not cut into my steak. Fortunately, this was an at home meal and I was at ease with my spouse doing the deed. So, when the waitperson brought me a T bone at my son’s wedding I was mentally prepared to accept help without feeling embarrassed.
Though still somewhat on the stubborn side, I am beginning to realize it will be just a matter of time before my caregiver will be much more involved with my personal care. I’m not sure how they know, but our dogs (four of them) take turns watching me enter and exit from the shower. No doubt they are prepared to signal my spouse when they witness a spill.
Other responsibilities transferred to my caregiver include check writing, tax return preparation and the customary personal notes added to greeting cards. What used to be very legible handwriting has evolved to what appear to be DaVinci code characters. Can you imagine how difficult it would be trying to get into our safe deposit box?
So what is this about a leash you say? At this moment I am at my stubborn best in resisting any talk of taking away the car keys. For most men the car is their favorite toy. For me it involves independent contact with an “outside world” still available to me; getting a haircut, doctor’s appointments, or possibly even stopping for a donut or hamburger. When I am no longer able to drive whenever or wherever I will feel just like one of those four dogs when they are put on a leash!
Stubborn? YES! Realistic? YES! I have instructed my caretaker to put on the leash when she feels I am endangering myself or others. If you are a caretaker or a patient who has not yet dealt with this most important decision THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF INDECISION!