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My Parkinson's Journey

In which Terri shares a humorous look at her journey with Parkinson's disease and Dystonia:

For me, illness and health are not opposites but exist together. Everyone has something that is challenging to them. Mine just simply has a recognizable name. My life will take a different path because of this but that's okay. Everyone has changes in their lives that create their path.  I'm learning how to enjoy whatever path I'm on.

I Believe You

Terri Reinhart

Really? I wanted to say. Are you sure you want to believe me? You don’t think I’m a hypochondriac who is looking for lots of pain medication, despite the fact I’ve rarely taken any and, when it’s suggested, I tend to panic?

Really? I wanted to say. You trust my assessment of my own body when I say a certain pain is not muscle pain? You trust me? You’re not going to insist I go for weeks of physical therapy to prove it’s not muscle pain?

Really? I wanted to say. You believe me when I say I am super sensitive to medications? You’re not going to insist that a particular drug is safe for me and either scoff at me when I refuse to try it (yes, I know your grandmother took it without problem. I am not your grandmother) or, if I do, look at me with your face turning pale while I’m having a severe reaction and say you didn’t know I was THAT sensitive?

Thank you.

Thank you for explaining what could be causing the pain I have (it’s not awful, just there, so nobody worry) and explaining to me what other symptoms I need to be aware of and when to come back in and get things checked.

Thank you for believing me.

***

I finally got through all the ins, outs, ups, downs, twists, and turns of getting medical insurance in a new state and I had my first appointment this morning. The clinic is 25 minutes from our house, which would have been nothing in Denver, but evokes wonder here. A friend had told me about the excellent care this clinic offers and, well, I don’t care about driving a little extra ways to have excellent care.

I don’t mind the drive, especially as it curves through the Holyoke Mountain Range. The mountains here are not nearly as spectacular as the Rockies, but these gentler mountains are far more accessible, especially to this 61 year old who didn’t like driving the steep mountain roads. Here, I feel like I’m almost living in the mountains. A 10 minute drive to the northwest and we’re in the Holyoke Range. A 10 minute walk to the west and we’re next to the Connecticut River. Looking out our 2nd floor window to the east, we have seen deer. Looking out our front window on trash day, we saw a groundhog.

I digress. I just picked up my prescription at our local Big Y grocery store - a typical big grocery like Safeway or King Soopers. I did not have to present my insurance card or explain how it would be covered even though I technically don’t have prescription drug coverage until July 1st. The pharmacy knew all that already. The cost was exactly was I was expecting.

I loved my neurologist in Denver, Dr. Lynsee Hudson Lang. She was another doctor who believed me. My PCP doc at Kaiser did not believe me and, at the end, was treating me as though I was somewhat senile and couldn’t be trusted to have any opinions on my own health. After this PCP left, I had one visit with another new doctor who was patronizing and insulting and…. well, you get the picture. I decided unless I was in an acute health crisis, there was no way I’d go back. Not a good place to be.

I believe our move to Massachusetts was really the right move for us, for many reasons.