"Allen Harding Copes with Parkinson's Disease Medication "

Name: Allen Harding
Home: Perth, Australia
Perth: 1940
Parkinson's Status: Patient
Diagnosed 1997
Major Symptoms: Stiffness, balance and slowness

Allen Harding
Daughter, Mrs. Harding,
Mr. Allen Harding, and Nancy, 2004

"I am a desperate man, I will try anything", says Allen Harding of Belmont, Western Australia. John is 63 and has been battling Parkinson's disease for 7 years. I was inspired by Allen's proactive fight against Parkinson's. He has taped lines on his back porch to help him fight the problems associated with akinesia (freezing) that he is constantly fighting. Although it appears that everything is working normally, Allen's body will suddenly freeze; this poses a problem for Allen as well as people around him. Allen recalls being at a Christmas party trying to walk from one room to another, without rhyme or reason, his body just froze in the doorway. Normally, Allen has to take a minute and remind his legs to keep moving, or set targets of where he can set his feet to get them to move once again, but this time Allen panicked, he stood there frozen. When his friends noticed him Allen's anxiety kicked in and he was unable to communicate to them what he needed to do. Before long they were lifting him out of the doorway, loading him in a car and taking him home. In hindsight Allen says he should have collected his wits and coached his friends through the situation, however, anxiety prevented him from telling his friends how they could help. Anxiety is what most likely prevented his friends from asking the simple question, "What can I do to help you". Perhaps this is the most important question we should focus on. For people without Parkinson's remember to ask how you can help, to People with Parkinson' remember to ask for help, when you need it, and take the time to explain the situation.

Social anxiety about this disease is tremendous. Allen's daughter comments, that Allen sometimes get so anxious, that he will often be forced to cancel plans at the last minute because his Parkinson's conditions are made worse by anxiety.

Despite the anxiety that Allen frequently feels, I was inspired by Allen's enthusiasm to try new things that would help him cope with his disease. A special collapsible walker with hand brakes, he uses for steadiness, a cup he has attached to his crutch for walking around with the phone, and many assorted other things he uses to keep himself going. His willingness to try new things, and his motivation to fight the disease sets him apart from many patients who are beaten by the depression that often goes along with having the disease.

A tremendously active man, working for John Deere, driving road trains, and whole host of other things, Allen first realized all was not right when he couldn't manage the many different schedules and accounts he could before. Later a tremor appeared in his shoulder. His wife, Carol, of 36 years comments that when he was working with Pesticides he would often come home with red irritated hands and other problems, she suspects this is related to his diagnosis.

Allen Challenges the public and even medical people to learn more about Parkinson's. Allen who is also a diabetic has to be very careful about managing his medication for both conditions. If you are not careful it is very easy to be prescribed medication that will cause problems with Parkinson's medication. Many people do not know as much as they could about this disease and it is very easy to get medication that might have a bad reaction with Parkinson's medicatioin. I have my daughter thank for realizing that medication I was taking was reacting negatively to my Parkinson's meds, but it wasn't until I couldn't move that the mistake was realized. "I would have ended up in the hospital if it wasn't for her."

Allen is a motivated individual that is doing everything he can to learn about Parkinson's and how to beat it. His energy and enthusiasm is inspiring and is what the Parkinson's community to build a better quality of life for people as we all search for a cure.