October 2009 – March 2010
I went to Basingstoke to see the consultant. He got me to do stuff like wriggling my fingers, walking in a straight line and so on. He said, “What I’m about to tell you may come as something of a shock… I think that you have Parkinson’s.” He said that he was pretty certain of it, but that of course there were a few tests that could be done to see if it was something else instead.
I wanted it to be something else, I really did. Something that could be fixed.
There aren’t any tests for Parkinson’s per se, or, at least, there aren’t any that my consultant thought were worth doing.
I had blood tests and an MRI scan of the brain. I had to go to Basingstoke for both; one of the blood tests measured the amount of copper in my system and it needed processing soon after being taken (excess copper would be an indicator of Wilson’s Disease). The MRI scan was a curious experience. The scanner takes the form of a narrow tunnel into which the patient is slid. It is claustrophobic and noisy, and you have to stay very, very still. They provide headphones with music so that the noise isn’t too intrusive. My music was a radio station with a few too many talky bits. Towards the end of the scan, I shifted my legs and that made my head move, so the radiologist had to redo one of the tests.
After all of the test results were in (I was sent copies; they indicated that there was nothing wong with me, which probably meant that I had Parkinson’s), I was due to see the consultant again. My appointment was in January this year (2010). Unfortunately, it coincided with an exceptionally large amount of snow; the last time it had snowed a lot (in December 2010), Basingstoke had basically stopped. People had been stranded. I didn’t fancy the drive, and I didn’t fancy getting stranded in Basingstoke. But the real clincher came when the school and preschool closed; I did not want to attend the appointment with a 6 year old and a 3 year old in tow. It wouldn’t be fair on them (they’d get bored) and it wouldn’t be fair on me (I wouldn’t be able to concentrate).
I got the appointment rescheduled; then I realised that the new appointment coincided with half term, so I rescheduled it again.
It was March before I got to see the consultant again. He didn’t have any surprises for me. He told me that he was confident that I had Parkinson’s, but I was more than welcome to seek a second opinion from his colleague in Southampton. In fact, he encouraged the idea of a second opinion.
In the meantime, he set up an appointment for me to see a physiotherapist.