Jerry Garcia & David Grisman - Squaw Valley CA - 8-25-91
Playing in the background.
I’m waiting on a call back from the Veterans Affairs office. Questions to be asked about my Agent Orange claim. No apparent action since September 2012. I suspect that the consultant physician I saw in October has not completed necessary paperwork. I am being treated with a Parkinson’s drug that is gradually bringing about some alleviation of symptoms. Parkinson’s is a diagnosis by ruling out everything else. My head MRI was normal/negative, a very welcome result. That combined with the positive effects of the medication seems to me to be sufficient when considered in concert with my presenting symptoms.
When I last attempted to play guitar there was a great deal of lost fine motor control and my left hand was unable to form many of the chords I’ve played since I was 16. Yesterday, after listening to some Garcia band material, I decided that the guitar needed attention.
There was some improvement in ability. Not enough to satisfy me, but decidedly some improved muscle memory and a slight increase in dexterity. Of course, no good deed or good result goes unpunished. Both shoulders protested the positions required to hold and play the instrument. I doubt that I will see much improvement in that.
Since I began this post, I have talked with representatives from both the VA and the TN Veterans office. Both counsel patience. I’ve been patient. I guess I will continue to be patient. There is nothing to be gained, at this point in time, by losing my temper and offending the people I need to help me.
I’ve noticed this morning that the incidence of typos has diminished while I have music playing in the near background. Further thought tells me that the incidence of being unable to strike and remove my fingers from the “A” and “S” keys before there are 20-30 of the same letter has also diminished. I can only attribute this to the Dopamine meds prescribed for Parkinson’s. More accurately, the incidence of poor motor control diminishes while the Dopamine levels are high and recurs as those levels drop. I take these meds four times/day. They wear off that quickly at this dosage level. After the 12 hour overnight drop the symptoms are quite evident. It takes ca. 30 -40 minutes for the morning meds to hook in.
Listening to Garcia-Grisman, Jerry Garcia Band, and the 6-25-93 Grateful Dead show over the past days has reminded me of how much I miss Garcia. Ultimately, the Grateful Dead were the instrument for Gloria and me meeting and becoming the happy couple we are.
On other fronts, my medication adjustment is complete and I seem to have survived it. I am still unhappy with the manner in which this adjustment took place. Once again, there is no benefit to yelling at anyone involved in the process. But my regard for my primary care physician is somewhat damaged.
The lingering malaise resulting from the med change is still present. The worst remaining adverse effect is insomnia. The literature tells me that insomnia may be a problem for months. I’ve lived with insomnia much of my adult life. I keep telling myself that,
“If I get home before daylight….”