Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
To Go or Not to Go – Apathy Has Set In

To Go or Not to Go – Apathy Has Set In

I have become consumed by apathy about a planned trip to Europe this coming fall. To be precise, it’s Amsterdam for 4 nights, then onto Budapest, Vienna, Monaco, and Provence for a total of 11 nights, then to Paris for 4 nights, and finally London for 3 nights. We’ll fly to NY and fly back to California from there.

I love Amsterdam (I lived there for 7 months back in the early 70’s as a long-haired guitar-playing hippy in a loft), and Paris is my all-time favorite city in the world. I have absolutely no interest in the rest, and in fact, I could be quite happy with my memories of gallivanting around Paris and Amsterdam in my youth.

No more culture please

I have seen every museum, cathedral, and art gallery I need or want to see. I have been to a lot of great places that just hold no interest for me anymore. It’s the apathy that eventually visits itself on nearly everyone with Parkinson’s disease.

Apathy is a killer

I should know better too. I lectured PD Support groups in southern California on the danger of ”dopamine deficient apathy.” I instructed people on how to spot apathy settling in, and the ultimate danger it has for us Parkinson’s patients. Without dopamine, one’s ability to anticipate a positive outcome – or positive value – from a choice becomes a powerfully bad influence in one’s overall decision-making process. The default becomes “negative” or “no,” and that is not good.

Negative decisions become everyone’s problem

When a Parkinson’s patient (or “Parkie” as I sometimes like to call us) goes into “no” mode, their decisions can often be at odds with their care partner, who is usually a spouse. Those negative choices affect everyone, not just the one making the “negative” choice.

But, I promised my wife I would muster up the strength to take her one more time, and a promise is a promise. Or is it?

I have begun another level of health failure (ah, just in time). My meds don’t last as long as they used to, and I suffer from restless leg syndrome, dystonia, neuropathy, and dyskinesia, on top of the regulation PD symptoms. We will be traveling first class, which would help a great deal, but I am not very communicative anymore, having lost most of my verbal annunciation. I slur so bad, people have a hard time understanding me. So even first-class travel isn’t as comforting or fun as it could be. And I am probably one good pneumonia away from real trouble, and airplanes are not safe from a pneumonia attack.

Life and death

To top it off, I have everything I need right here, the comfort of my beautiful home, all my toys (computers and musical instruments), and all my friends, including my all Parkie foursome at the golf course. Have you seen the weather in southern California near the ocean? It won’t be this nice in heaven (not that I am planning that trip either).

Ya, I know, it sounds like a whole lotta whining from a spoiled brat (that would be correct), but as bad off as I am health-wise, my life is as good as it gets, and going on this trip feels like a break in the continuity of that lifestyle. Oh, oh, that’s apathy rationalizing my negative decision with positive, alternative thoughts.

I think I will probably end up making the decision to go or not based on that most famous of decision-making methods, “happy wife, happy life.”

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Owen1948
    1 year ago

    Thank you for taking time to write this article. It was so helpful to me (wife of Parki) We are planning a trip to Israel in 2020 and Austria for the Passion Play. We are planning this to complete my bucket list, but I need to understand why a Parki who loves to travel, might not want to go. Joy

  • peter.whyte author
    2 years ago

    PlaneLady, I am so glad you found this article helpful. Putting into practice what you now know will be a chore, and you will have to keep your antenna up, but it is worth the effort and is doable Best of luck. Peter

  • PlaneLady
    2 years ago

    Great article, especially as it has pointed out something I realize now I’m having issue with which I had just put into “I have PD, I can’t/don’t want to do anything” Now that I see it maybe I can correct it a bit. Recently diagnosed and just now getting to a full dose of meds

  • Chris H. moderator
    2 years ago

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, PlaneLady. We appreciate the positive feedback! I’m sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis, but I’m glad you found our community. Please let us know if we can help you find any information. In the meantime, I wanted to share an article with you that you may find helpful: Thanks again for sharing with us! – Chris, Team Member

  • Poll