Living with Parkinsons disease - a childs perspective
- By: Lesley Rees, Great Ormond
I was 10 years old when my mother came back from a large London teaching hospital, having been given the diagnosis of young onset Parkinsons disease. She was 46 years of age. She had made the diagnosis herself before this appointment. She was first told it by medical students when, during a consultant-led teaching session, she had been asked to walk across the front of a lecture theatre to show the characteristic gait. She was humiliated, and I was angry. That was when I decided to become a doctor myself.
Fortunately, young onset Parkinsons disease is not common. Most people are aware of the devastating symptoms—the tremor, the poverty of movement, the falls, and the terrible side effects of the drugs—but a child sees not only the slow, relentless progression of symptoms but also the loss of the mother that he or she knows.
The effects of this on a