October 26, 2008
As I may have mentioned in this blog, my mother suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. She didn’t have the tremor, but she suffered horribly from the dementia. By the time she died in 1999, she didn’t know who I was about half the time.
Only one detail in the whole tragic story is amusing, and it relates directly to my previous post here. At the time Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, one of the “symptoms” her doctors relied upon was what they called the “Parkinson’s Stone Face.” When a nurse took me aside and explained this to me, she was probably astonished—maybe even offended—when I burst out laughing.
“Stone face?” I said, when I regained my composure. “You really don’t understand. She always looks that way when she’s thinking about something. So do I. So does my daughter.”
The nurse shook her head and walked away. For all I know, she’s still telling the story the way it looked from her point of view. Maybe something like this:
I quit nursing because I was sick of dealing with the crazies—not the patients, the families! Just about the last straw was the guy who burst out laughing when I told him his poor mother had Parkinson’s Disease. What could he possibly have been thinking?
If you’re reading this, nurse, then now you know.