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How To Get Parkinson’s

How to get Parkinson’s? John, who would want it? There is always that one weird person, but I’m referring to how to get diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It’s a process that is not fun, but something lead you down that lonely road filled with potholes. Now that you’re on it, let’s learn what it takes to begin learning how to drive on it without doing too much damage to your car.

Getting my motor checked

Something is wrong. Either you noticed it or your mechanic noticed it, but something isn’t quite right. While I was in the shop getting checked out by my mechanic, she noticed a tremor in my right hand just as I was about to pull out. Those mechanics are always trying to get you for a little extra. Luckily my mechanic is honest and just so happens to be a neurologist on the side. I’m always in to see her, because I’m always having trouble with my motor. Some people call it your brain. Anyways, it’s an Epilepsy problem that just won’t go away. I was pulling out of the garage when she noticed that tremor. One thing lead to another and my hood was back up. She asked me all kinds of questions like…do people say I look mean and do other people in my family have the same issues. After a number of questions and answers, she decided to run a few tests. She had me walk down the hallway and back, she had me open and close my hands, stomp my feet, and would twist my wrists among other things. She finally told me that my motor, I mean brain, might have a Parkinson’s issue. My arm wasn’t swinging, my feet shuffled, my hand tremor, slowness…we need to run more test. I was completely caught off guard.

The next step in getting Parkinson’s is to have your oil checked. I’m used to having my oil checked, but a Parkinson’s oil check is more like an oil change. You will have to go through a series of blood tests to rule out other problems, like a Thyroid issue. They took a lot of my blood. By this time I had mildly looked up what Parkinson’s is. While you hope nothing is wrong and your mechanic is just being overly cautious, at a minimum I hoped I had another, less serious problem. I found myself wanting to be back in the garage, but for something silly.

Pictures of my motor

My oil was clean. Phew. Not so fast. Your motor is still having problems. At this point it’s time for more tests. An MRI. My mechanic told me that an MRI won’t diagnose me with Parkinson’s, but at this point it was all about ruling out other problems, other than Parkinson’s. Time to go to a bigger garage. An MRI is not fun. If you’re claustrophobic, it’s really not fun. If you’re not claustrophobic, you’re lying, because it makes you feel claustrophobic. They slide you into this large tube with awful music and basically have you lay in the most uncomfortable positions, perfectly still, while they take pictures of your motor, I mean brain. Afterwards, they tell you they will look over the pictures and send them off to your mechanic.

At my next appointment my mechanic tells me that my motor looks perfect. Of course it does, I’m perfect. She says they have one last test to check my motor out, and it’ll give me the best opportunity to confirm her diagnosis of Parkinson’s. It’s called a DatScan. I agree to go. What is a DatScan and how did mine go? A DatScan is basically a radioactive injection that circulates through your blood, eventually reaches your brain, then attaches to the dopamine parts of your brain. You then have more “pictures” of your brain taken, and they can tell if that part of your motor is failing or not. Great, how did mine go?

The results

First things first, the injection is not cheap and not sitting on the shelf in the parts department. It has to be special ordered. I have good insurance and I’m already in the thousands to check if my motor is broken, a DatScan is multiple thousands of dollars more. I pay and show up. I’m lead to a typical room that you see at a doctors office, it was more like getting my oil checked actually. They inject me in the arm with the radioactive solution. I’ve got a high pain tolerance, but it burns so bad. Eventually, they tell me I can leave and come back in a few hours. I can even eat. I go grab some lunch, hey a car can’t run without fuel, then make it back eventually. I’m lead to a back room to the machine that will take the pictures this time. It’s like an MRI, but not so closed in. You have to be in the perfect position or they can’t get a good picture. Sometime along the way the humming sound put me to sleep. When I woke up a new photographer was in the room. They told me I was done. They said to expect it to take a week or two for the mechanic at their shop to look over the pictures and my mechanic to get back to me. I said ok and left.

The very next day my phone rings. I look at my phone and see that it’s my mechanic. I say out loud… “Damn it, I’ve got Parkinson’s.”

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

Comments

  • Dan Glass moderator
    2 days ago

    Great story and comparison! Thanks for sharing!

  • YouMeAndPD author
    1 day ago

    Thank you Dan!

  • Gabro13
    2 months ago

    A DaTscan will not confirm or deny Parkinson’s Disease (at least in Canada). I don’t know why Americans feel it will..there is no proof.

  • YouMeAndPD author
    2 months ago

    Hi Gabro13,

    Chris put it so eloquently, but I’ll add that seeing is believing. I have a picture from my DatScan on either my blog page on Facebook or my website, but it clearly shows what you would see from someone who has a loss of dopamine. While a DatScan alone can’t diagnose you, it is a valuable tool in assisting mechanics on what is wrong with that motor of yours. Have a good evening!

  • Chris H. moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi, @gabro13 – Thanks for weighing in. In case you’re interesting in reading it, there’s a study from the National Institutes of Health on this topic here. The study did conclude that “physicians stated that the scan did have an impact on their final diagnosis, confidence in their diagnosis, and clinical management of the patient.” Hope this helps clarify. Take care. – Chris, ParkinsonsDisease.net Team

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