Originally published July 13, 2013
Drug therapy for Parkinson’s patients has no doubt met with a good deal of success in recent years. Participating in a clinical trial such as the one I am involved in is indeed a testament to this declaration (see Pump It Up, May 26 2013) . However, for all the advances, there are many days when I am all too aware of the ravages of Parkinson’s.
I get reminded when I take out my iphone.
I get reminded when I’m at the computer.
I get reminded when I look through a family photo album.
There, amongst photos of friends, family, both near and distant places, I receive jarring reminders of the physical effects of PD. Here’s one of me with a contorted limb. Here’s another where my flailing arms have been “caught” in mid-stream. As always, there is a bountiful supply of snaps where my face is twisted or misshapen in some strange position. This is a comment element faced by many Parkinson’s patients – the “Parkinson’s mask” – a “frozen face” that looks pained, emotionless, without expression especially when surrounded by a sea of glowing faces. Perhaps worse, is the forced smile that is vainly attempted to push its way through the Parkinson’s mask. I don’t know how many family photos I have ruined annually since I began this journey with PD! Mom happy, kids happy, Dad..?? what the f—- is wrong with him??!!
What we need is a simple solution to this. Prescriptions for Photoshop. Tutorials in PicMonkey. A photography “kit bag” that features adjustable limbs, insertable smiles. Rapid relief from that awkward forced PD smile. A healthy dose of Photoshop into our lives to ease the burden, ease the pain.