Personal Stories

My Mother's Positive Attitude

My Mother

Ruth Palatas
Overland Park, KS

Submission from daughter, Denise

My Mother, Ruth Palatas was diagnosed with PD at the age of 65.  She retired in 1985 from a career as a reading specialist.  Currently she is 89 years old and living in an assisted living facility in Overland Park, Kansas since my Dad passed away in 2001.  She loves the social aspects of the facility, especially singing and dancing.  From the literature I have read some patients with PD can dance better than they can walk.  Something about the beat of the music?  She also loves candy, cookies and cake.  Lucky for Mom she is very petite and has no dietary restrictions!

When my Father was living (retired engineer) he would keep a very detailed spiral notebook of her PD symptoms throughout the day to include the dose of Sinemet given along with the symptoms my Mother exhibited.  He also took my Mom to The University of Kansas Medical Center to meet with a PD specialist to specifically titrate her medications to best manage the PD symptoms. 

Most recently she underwent Botox injections around her eyes for blepharospasm related to PD and we have seen excellent results with the treatment.  I have seen some decline in her through the years to include weight loss, “mask-like face”, and freezing.  She also has a walker and wheelchair on standby should she need them.  However, per Mom these are for “Old people”. 

I would recommend that caregivers have their loved one seen by a PD specialist.  This has made all the difference in the world.  I think this is because the neurologist that Mom is seen by is up to date on the most cutting edge treatment such as the Botox for Blepharospasm. 

I admire my Mother for her positive attitude towards PD.  She has never let it stop her from doing the things she loves to do.  As a school teacher she always had the summer off so she went on many trips to include Europe, Jamaica, Mexico, and Hawaii.  Myself, or one of my two sisters were included on the trips since my Dad wasn’t much of a traveler.  I have never once heard my Mom, say “Why do I have PD.”

While I miss the summer vacation trips with my Mom and the shopping trips to the mall.  I feel fortunate that Mom has managed to live with PD for 25 years. 

Through the years Mom has experienced some memory loss.  I would say she is pleasantly confused.  She still knows who we are but sometimes she will ask where my Dad is.  PD is not an easy diagnosis to live with; however my Mom has made it very easy.  She is so calm, funny and easy to be around.   She has taught us all to keep on going no matter what the challenge.  She always said to me “Eat less buy a dress.”  I think this was her attitude of how to still be in fashion during the depression!

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