Have you ever had the feeling that life is like a bowl of cherries? Everything is easy, pleasurable and fun. Well this was my earlier life. Worry and fear were for other people only. I had a good job, great friends and a care free (some irony there) lifestyle. Looking back I realise that I took my good fortune for granted. I suppose that is just human nature.
Then one day I was around my mum’s and she insisted, as always, in cooking me a nice roast dinner. As we were tidying up afterwards, I could not help but notice that her left arm was shaking. She told me that this had been going on a while and we agreed she would go to see her doctor about this. The doctor referred Mum onto a specialist. Little did I know, as I drove my mum to hospital that sunny September day, that both our lives were about to change forever.
I remember my mum’s name being called out as we sat in the hospital waiting room. We duly entered the room marked Mr Stevens. There sat a distinguished looking man with half-rimmed spectacles balancing on the end of his nose. They added to his aura of intelligence and importance. He welcomed us in and then said that he had the results of the tests back. At this point he paused, took off his glasses, put his hands together and looked up to the ceiling as if he was searching for the right words. He then turned his gaze on my mum and said something like: “Mrs Long, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. The results show that you have the early signs of Parkinson’s disease.” I cannot recall what he said after that as I was reeling from the shock of this information.
As we drove back home we were both silent, being lost in our own thoughts. I remember squeezing her hand as I saw tears welling up in her eyes. I was lost for words of comfort at that point and that short drive felt like an eternity.
As the years passed Mum’s condition worsened. Gradually I found myself, more and more, helping her with her daily tasks. Although this made me closer to Mum it came at a price. Slowly I started to feel the effects of exhaustion and was feeling mentally down on an increasing basis. My social life became almost non-existent and friends stopped inviting me to social events. I felt increasingly isolated from them.