In this the first post on my new blog ‘Room 2850‘ I want to show some photographs that document the progressive effect of Parkinson’s disease on Dave Forsyth, my father.
Parkinson’s is a long-term neurological condition that affects the way the brain co-ordinates body movements, including walking, talking and writing and affects both men and women, it is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra. The nerve cells in this part of the brain are responsible for producing a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine acts as a messenger between the brain and the nervous system, and helps control and co-ordinate body movements. If these nerve cells become damaged or die, the amount of dopamine in the brain is reduced. This means that the part of the brain that controls movement cannot work as well as it should and this in turn causes movements to become slow and abnormal.
Having being diagnosed with the disease my father is now forced to take a large concoction of tablets and medication everyday to try and keep the symptoms under control. However if the medication isn’t taken at the right time then the swift onset of the violent tremors that are a major effect of the disease will quickly occur. A noticeable sign of his struggle with the tremors is the way he holds his right hand, the worst one for tremors, with his left hand or by keeping it in his pocket to try and keep the tremors from becoming too obvious.
A previously active life has now had to be radically adjusted as he learns to live with the disease and the work that is now involved by both him and his constantly watchful wife, my mother, Judith, who has now taken on the roll of a full-time carer is great. Everyday tasks can be so affected by the disease, that it becomes a constant struggle to maintain any sense of normality and as the disease progresses and partly as a result of the side affects of the medication he suffers from not only the violent tremors but hallucinations, sleep loss, loss of balance and, at times, great confusion.
Currently the periods of lucidness are in the majority, as long as the medication is taken when it should be, and the periods when the disease takes control are in the minority and whilst the energy taken to fight this illness and indeed to simply live with it is great and can be visible on his face my father continues to battle the disease.
NOTE: This project is a work in progress and is slowly being added to as and when I can and will, hopefully, be a lasting record to the struggle to fight the illness that he has suffered from for many years. A common misconception is that you have to travel to the four corners of the world to find interesting and engaging stories and whilst, to a degree this can be true, often, there are interesting and equally strong stories closer to home.
If you want to know more about Parkinson’s disease visit Parkinson’s UK