My handwriting was the first thing I noticed and attributed it to stress: I was doing the work of 3 guys and didn't anybody know. I was a purchasing agent and was handling more requisitions than some other groups of guys, more than the rest of my group. It was this high pressure that previously got to me. I jokingly gave my secretary a magnifying glass. Then I noticed my right arm didn't swing when I walked and I carried my briefcase with my arm crooked at the elbow. Hmmm. Then, when I went in to see the boss my hand shook. Back then I could "think" it to stop or distract myself. I was curious, so I asked my wife's sister who was a doctor. She agreed a doctor should check it out. Meanwhile I jumped on the internet and easily came to a self-diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. The trip to the doctor in July of 1998 was anti-climactic. I got more and more deliberate in how I approached things and my job was changing out from under me. Luckily all the planets lined up and I was able to retire in 2000.
I started off on selegiline in 1998, moved on to Mirapex and soon added Permax. As the disease progressed, I added amantadine and finally Sinemet CR.
I struggled with hallucinations and vivid dreams, culminating in diving out of bed into furniture, breaking three ribs and collapsing my lung. After a week in the hospital with that I slipped into a deeper depression and finally went to my MDS/neuro ahead of schedule and with utter surrender I told him I gave up, I couldn't take any more,fix me. He changed my medications somewhat. Later he suggested I might consider joining a DBS study and I did. I had a bilateral implant operation at Methodist Hospital in Houston about Halloween of 2006 and 10 days later I had the IPG's installed. It was like another miracle, stopping my tremors dead in their tracks.
I have always written poetry and prose. I co-wrote and compiled a set of 3 books with my father "The Lago Colony Legend - Our Stories" and Volumes 1 & 2 can be found on www.lago-colony.com, a site dedicated to the people in those stories. I also compiled a slightly humorous book of my letters to the editor of our local paper, The Courier, which were published in that paper between 1975-1998. It is titled "VD Writes, Garbage Waits," a caption the editor put on one of my letters.
I also love all kinds of music and lament my inability to play any instrument or carry a tune in a bucket. I collected 45's, LP's, Cassettes and have a reel-to-reel recorder player complete with my fatherís boxes of reels full of music. I got serious after retirement and spent 3 years converting all my vinyl tape and records to digital. I had about 3000 45's, a couple hundred LP's and maybe 50 cassettes. Also a few dozen CD's. I spent hours making CD labels, jewel case inserts and fold-your-own CD envelopes, complete with creative artwork. I even designed and made booklets of all the tunes I had. I'd started a catalog of my records back in the 80's on a company PC. I figured out how to convert the playlists of CD's into word-processing documents and put them on labels, inserts and envelopes. I learned MS Publisher and how to print all them out. I even translated this skill into a square or 2 on the PD Unity Walk 2009 quilt done by the PD community at PatientsLikeMe. I learned how to work with photos and create slideshow videos with soundtracks. Finally, I created a song "My Parkinson's Disease Song" with some mixing software I bought, married it to a few pictures of me with DBS, etc and put out a video. I also wrote the lyrics to it. And when no one would sing it for me, I got impatient and sang it myself. I'll supply the lyrics and samples of my "artwork" later.