"The downside of Parkinson's Disease"

Name: Alsethi
Home: Delhi, India
Date of Visit: Sept/04
Parkinson's Status: Patient
Diagnosed: 1991
Major Symptoms: Stiffness, loss of facial expression, shuffling

Alsethi and his wife
Alsethi and his wife, 2004

When I met Alsethi and his wife, he had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease 14 years. Alsethi, was a mechanical engineer until 1979. The symptoms of Parkinson's began with his left arm started swaying, shortened gait, slowness and expressions started to disappear from his face.

The disease has affected his life in many ways, and Alsethi doesn't see many positives. His self-esteem has suffered as he is constantly thinking that his family will one day turn their back on him, as they will see him as nothing but a burden. His wife is desperate to make him understand that she won't abandon him, but she doesn't quite know how to get through to him.

Alsethi sees his situation getting worse and worse. The syndopa causes his head to shake, his struggles to reach for his wallet as well as count money at the grocery store, and his overall limited contribution to what he deems a healthy family life. He comments that he liked to socialize by going to horse races, squash games, and community gatherings. He has see the effects it has had on his cousin's sister and doesn't appear to be very hopeful. He imagines this is the worst of all diseases.

This is quite a different outlook than my friend in Australia, as she was excited about her diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. She admitted that most of her family had died from breast cancer, when her health was suffering, she figured she was going to be dead just like the rest of them. When Parkinson's was found to be the culprit, she was really relieved.