Is Parkinson’s getting the better of me?
At around week 6/7 I noticed things were becoming more difficult, getting dressed appeared to have become incredibly slow. I was beginning to have hand cramps resulting in trigger finger (locked fingers in my left hand), my joints ached and I guess you could say I felt knackered. It could take up to 45 minutes to go to the toilet if I was in wet weather gear. Was this Parkinson’s? Had I reached my point of no return? Was I exhausted? Was I eating enough? These were the thoughts going through my head, being asked in a familiar voice, that of my Mother and she didn’t sound happy. The exact reason we will probably never know but I started to keep a better eye on myself and, yes Mum, I am eating properly. Well, I’m eating more at any rate.
I should say that I had been under medicating a bit too. I hadn’t been given the correct amount of 2mg Ropinirole tablets and due to our delayed start I wanted to have at least 1 months’ worth of drugs in the grab bag, should we ever need to use it, so things had become a little more exciting. Interestingly my GP practice originally wouldn’t prescribe enough meds to last the voyage suggesting I get some halfway through. We have seen a lot of things on the Indian Ocean but Pharmacies, so far, zero.
I was rowing with James this week to see if his tuition could improve my rowing. On one occasion I slept completely through our session to be later told by the guys, much to their amusement. I had no idea and thought they were pulling my leg. What I did know was that I fell asleep at the end of the previous session as soon as my head hit the cushions in the cabin, quite literally, I hadn’t even managed to remove my wet weather gear so yes, I was tired, yes, I had started to struggle.
I remember that I had managed to get some extra drugs from Liz (my Parkinson’s Nurse) some for motion sickness and some in a glass bottle. Could this be the answer to my difficulties? Could this small bottle contain the magic of the Absinth Fairy and solve all of my problems in one go? I decided to wait a few more days before trying them.
The following days passed by and I started my next training session this time with Barry. Things were going well but I started to really struggle at the end of our 2 hour shift. I later started to struggle at the end of each 1 hour shift of rowing. Pain was also an issue now. I had salt sores that made sitting very painful let alone sitting and moving in the rowers seat. I also feared I could be suffering from a Pilonidal Sinus, not nice, an ingrowing hair at the bottom of your spine around the coccyx area. If left, apart from being a pain in the arse you need surgery to sort them out. On close inspection the skin at the bottom of my spine was breaking up the area looked bruised and I now had an open wound. I didn’t want to get it infected and rowing was increasingly difficult due to pain and the time taken to find a comfortable rowing position after being knocked out of my seat by yet another wave. It was decided that I needed some time to recoup so I was relieved of my rowing duties.
I decided that this would be a good time to try my new tablets. They are called Madopar25/100mg. Like all Parkinson’s drugs I didn’t expect anything to happen overnight after a few days I wondered if they were having any effect whatsoever. I have to say with all the Parkinson’s drugs I have been prescribed none have yet to give me that wow factor. I’m not saying that they don’t work but, to date, I am still waiting for the wonder stuff.
My general heath was improving and the team could see this. It may have been the result of rest but in a few days I was fit enough to get back on the oars. We decided to this slowly and to continue with recovery, I would only row the daytime shift. Whilst this helps me, I hate the feeling of letting the team down by not rowing. The team told me not to worry and that I’m not letting them down. I’m very lucky to be rowing with such great guys.