How a Doctor's Appointment Can Change Your Life
For years my husband, singer, songwriter, and musician, Rob Barteletti, had been sitting in his recliner watching hours of sports each day. Didn’t matter the sport, he was watching it.
Rob has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) for over twenty years, but we believe he had his first symptoms in his late 20s when he had olfactory hallucinations over 40 years ago.
Rob had not written a song in over 7 years. The last one was for his daughter’s wedding. It was for the father-daughter dance and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
In June of 2020, we saw his movement disorder specialist for a routine checkup. I mentioned to the doctor that Rob was just sitting around, very apathetic and not doing his music. I wanted my husband back, the musically creative genius I had married 10 years ago.
We discussed many options but hit on a dopamine agonist he had been using when we first met. It had some serious side effects which were why he quit using it. But Rob wasn’t driving now and we both knew what to watch for, so we wanted to give it a try.
Back to creating music
By August Rob was back in his studio, writing, singing, and having a great time. The medication gave him just the extra hit of dopamine to make a big change. Since August, he’s written and produced two new CDs of his music and has enough songs for another CD.
His creativity is off the charts! I’m thrilled that his seven-year drought is over and he’s back using his brain, working with GarageBand on the computer, and cranking out some truly great music. And I have my husband back! Well, almost. Now I’m a music widow as he spends most hours in his studio!
Improving your quality of life
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to discuss the quality of life you want with your doctor. Is there something that you really miss, that you want back in your life? Something that gave you great pleasure or joy? Something that was a real part of your identity before PD?
Keep pushing for ways to be able to do what you most want to do again. Do not give up. There just may be the perfect medicine, therapy, or exercise that can give you back what you want.
New medications and therapies are coming out regularly now and although it’s difficult to stay on top of all the changes, your doctor may just have the answer to your deepest desire. Don’t miss this opportunity by not asking.
Travel this PD journey well, my friend.
Have you or a loved one ever tried speech therapy?