One of the most troubling symptoms for those with Parkinson’s is bradykinesia, which is just a fancy word for slow movement. I’m grateful (alleluia) that my tremor and dyskinesia have subsided with help from a great Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) programmer and medication adjustments. However, I continue to be plagued by slow and stiff movement, particularly in my hands. I find it ironic that before Parkinson’s, I could talk and walk fast, eat quickly, play the accordion at a fast clip, type 99 wpm without errors, complete university in three years, work three jobs simultaneously, and overall function as an efficient and fast-moving person. People previously described me as an Instant Person.
With Parkinson’s, particularly when my medication and DBS stimulation aren’t working at an optimum level, life seems in slow motion and particularly my hands move at a snail’s pace. For example, sometimes buttoning my blouse, zipping my jacket, turning the key to open the door, folding a sheet of paper and putting it in an envelope, putting a stamp on an envelope, handwriting, taking coins and bills out of my wallet, eating with a fork, preparing or cutting food, putting on makeup–all can seem like insurmountable tasks with my awkward hands. No fast-moving hand-jive for me.
While it is possible that occupational therapy could help with my awkward hands and improve the speed of my fine motor skills, it is more likely that medication and DBS programming adjustments would help.
For now, I resort to setting my alarm clock an hour earlier than I would if I didn’t have Parkinson’s, knowing that my hands are likely to move at a snail’s pace.