By Diane S., from southern California
We were two artists living a happy life in Southern California for more than 50 years. My husband Jay and I raised our daughter while I worked in graphic design and, later, became a marriage and family therapist. When he wasn’t painting, Jay was a professor of art at several community colleges and curated art exhibitions.
But in 2009, Jay couldn’t complete a kayak lesson I surprised him with for his birthday because his limbs were stiff. I began to notice that his hands were shaking and he told me that he had trouble concentrating at work. Jay made the decision to retire, a few years earlier than we both expected, because he felt too challenged by grading papers and maintaining his focus in class. After seeing a doctor, Jay was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which immediately changed our lives.
Black Cats and Seeing Strangers
Several years after his initial diagnosis, Jay’s Parkinson’s progressed in a way that alarmed us. He developed hallucinations and delusions, which are the tell-tale symptoms of Parkinson’s disease psychosis (PDP), which I now know is a common aspect of Parkinson’s disease. At the time, I was very surprised and concerned because I thought that Parkinson’s disease only impacted motor control, such as tremors and stiffness. [Read more…]