Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Parkinson's disease continues to mystify us. Say the word "Parkinson's" to me and I immediately think "tremor." Tom doesn't have tremor and never has. His motor skills are certainly not the same as his softball playing days that he gave up only seven years ago when we moved to California, but for a person who has been diagnosed as long as he has, his motor skills are good. If only his mind could keep up! Monday we drove to Nashville to be there for an 8 a.m. appointment at the Vanderbilt Neurology Clinic. We met with a resident for about 30 or 45 minutes while he took yet another medical history and did the basic tests. The express reason for the consultation was to determine whether or not Tom is a candidate for Deep Brain Stimulation. When the resident returned with his supervising doctor we were told that Tom is not a candidate because of his mental state. If one has even the slightest memory problem, they are immediately disqualified for the procedure. When the doctors asked Tom's biggest complaint, he said the hallucinations bother him most of all. They are a result of the disease itself and some medications. That translates into another medication modification. My reading and research has taught me that changes in medication are to be expected and are the norm. Cutting some pills in half is a real challenge.

Tomorrow Tom is scheduled for an additional blood test and two CAT scans: lungs and abdomen. He had gained back about twenty pounds, but in the last few weeks has begun to lose again. If you pray for us, please pray that this is a problem that can be easily corrected. Appointments continue almost weekly until the second week in May.

Our trip to Nashville , in spite of the reason, was fun for us. We have stayed close to home since we've been here except for doctor visits to north Mississippi and it was good to be on the "open road" with all the trucks. There is an historic restaurant on the outskirts of Nashville that has been one of our favorites for years. Their speciality when they opened for business in the fifties was country ham and bacon--two foods Tom cannot get enough of. That and fried chicken and biscuits was how they got started. It wasn't until recently that you could get anything but breakfast items, with country ham, sausage or bacon naturally, and fried chicken. I've been told that they have the best fried chicken anywhere and except for my aunt May's I'd have to agree.
We had not been there in several years so looked forward to a wonderful meal on our way out of town. We were not disappointed. When in Nashville, include the Loveless Cafe in your stops.

I am reminded of a couple of lessons I learned from my mother and my Aunt May. Look for humor in everything and always look on the bright side. Things could be worse. In other words, don't grouse, but count your blessings always. For Tom and me to go to the Loveless brought back lots of great memories. Singing along with the Kingston Trio while driving was fun. Not long after we got home Liz, Jake and Sarah came by after school and we were greeted with big smiles and hugs as if we'd been gone for days, not just 24 hours. As I was unpacking and putting things away, I realized I was smiling for no obvious reason. Today the reason was written in an e-mail forwarded to me by a friend: "Everyday, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God." Tom and I are truly blessed and grateful for God's gifts.

Pastor Margaret


marty said...

Well, I can honestly say that I am sorry I missed the Loveless, but not sorry that I missed the sing-a-long.

Wasn't it weird having all those little shops around the Loveless now?

We stopped in January and Mallory thought it was pretty awesome.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Margaret and Tom,
Greetings from Fair Oaks. It is wonderful to hear from both of you. I enjoy reading about what is going on in your lives there in Tennessee.
Joan and I pray for you every night. We miss you, but understand that it is important to be near family.
You are so right about Parkinson's Disease. It is so strange how it affects everyone differently. With my dad we often changed meds and routines. Fortunately we had mostly good days for many, many years.
Prayers have been answered as I read that your previous cancer is in remission.
God is good, all the time.
Blessings to both of you and your family.
Chris Larsen

mary a. harbison-sindle said...

Dear Margaret and Tom. Revisiting memories is marvelous. I am hearing from old friends lately since I am compiling a memory book for a 55yr class reunion in Sept. Your restaurant sound wonderful. However the sing-a-long sound super. It is what I do on long drives. Blessings on you both. Believe me you are still greatly missed -Mary A. Harbison-Sindle