Thursday, December 23, 2010

therapies

I’ve finally switched Parkinson Disease doctors. For the past seven years I was going to the same doctor who diagnosed me with PD. His treatment for me was mostly effective if sometimes too experimental. But he is highly regarded in the research community that studies PD. I still respect him and his dedication to research about the disease, but I was ready to get another opinion for my own treatment. I was also looking for a more integrated approach to treatment that would coordinate the various therapies that a PD patient typically requires.

I found just what I need at Froedtert Hospital here in Milwaukee. There is a clinic within the hospital that has several neurologist on staff and the variety of therapists on staff to meet whatever needs arise with Parkinsons. After my first visit to the clinic I was immediately scheduled for a complete and thorough evaluation to determine what my therapeutic needs are and then assigned to the therapists who could best help me.

In the past few days I have had my medication adjusted with wonderful results and I have seen three different therapists who have started me on a program to get me back to functioning as normally as possible. I’ve had two sessions already with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a speech therapist. They are all in the same place so they can communicate readily with each other and coordinate what each is doing for me. I feel very confident that their efforts are going to help me tremendously.

I am familiar with physical therapy having been that route for other problems in the past, so I knew pretty much what to expect from that. Occupational therapy was something I knew about despite never having actually seen a physical therapist. But speech therapy was a whole new experience for me. I didn’t know what to expect from that or what it would involve or even if I really needed it.

Parkinsons patients typically become increasingly softspoken and hesitant in their speech. Speaking in a monotone is common. I didn’t realize how bad my voice had become until the speech therapist did a couple tests that showed just how far gone my voice has become. She now has me started on the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment program which is a proven method for helping Parkinsons people regain full use of their voices. I have to do several voice exercises multiple times each day and I have already seen some improvement after just two sessions with her. This is really quite interesting. I’m looking forward to more.
I feel excited about this new regimen of treatment. I have a good feeling about the new therapies. I’ll keep you up too date with my progress.

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