Parkinson’s speaker at Golden K meeting

From left, Golden K program chairwoman Orice Walters, Parkinson’s disease guest speaker Jo Bidwell and Pauline Hill.

By JOAN JOPPI

Golden K Club

Monday morning, Golden K members managed to find their way to the First Presbyterian Church through the fog. Once inside, the atmosphere was clear and full of bubbly conversation. As Dr. Paul Jacobs took over the chairmanship and brought the meeting to order, Alyce Derwinski teamed up with Al Calcari and got the group singing. One song, a particular favorite of Bruce Stuart’s, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” rattled the rafters.

“The Welcome Song” brought a smile to the guests, who included Jo Bidwell, Pauline Hill, Caren Erickson, Sheryl Potier and Kathy Arnold, RSVP Director with Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency. Happy Birthday wishes to Sue Benzing, Aug. 23; Ellen Roberts, Aug. 26; Rose Pedo, Aug. 26; and John Corson, Aug. 26. Happy Anniversary to Larry and Virginia Yarck, Aug. 22; Dennis and Lois Chartier, Aug. 23; and Dr. Paul and Lorraine Jacobs, Aug. 24.

Orice Walters as program chairwoman introduced Jo Bidwell. Bidwell, from Lubbock, Texas, was the keynote speaker at a recent U. P. Parkinson Disease Symposium at Bay College West. Pauline Hill, the Parkinson’s group facilitator locally, and Jo have become good friends over the years as they learn more and more about this disease and share their knowledge with those affected and the general public.

Jo has 22 years of experience with Parkinson’s but as she explained, the more one learns, the more there is to learn. There is no cure. As each person is different, so this disease affects each one differently. There are many symptoms that mimic other illnesses and doctors can have trouble reaching a diagnosis.

Parkinson’s causes a slow breakdown of the nerve cells in the brain. The primary symptoms involve movement. Symptoms can occur early in life, without one being aware of them. What is known — Parkinson’s is the most prevalent movement disorder today, affecting more than a million people in the U. S. The youngest person diagnosed was 4 years old. It can affect anyone at any age, but the most common age of onset is 60.

Research is ongoing and working closely with your doctor is vital. Exercise is especially important in improving the non-motor symptoms, as Pauline can testify to. She oversees the Parkinson’s Society Support Group in Dickinson County, which keeps her very active. Whatever kind of exercise works, stay committed to that; exercise is an effective deterrent for many other diseases as well.

The acronym TRAP often used to remember the symptoms of Parkinson’s: Tremor — shaking of hands, arms, legs or jaw, usually when limb is at rest; Rigidity — stiffness, getting up from sitting or in and out of a car; Akinesia — slowness of movement, sometimes referred to as bradykinesia; Postural instability — issues with balance and gait while walking that may include freezing, when the individual stops suddenly and cannot function.

These are the primary symptoms; there are many other non-motor symptoms that may appear at any time and any age. Many of the same symptoms also can be related to other health problems. Your physician is your best consultant. This information was taken from a flyer written by Jo Bidwell.

Parkinson’s is very much an individual disease. Once diagnosed, learn all you can. Interact with other PD individuals and use the resources available on line and through local support groups. Knowledge is power and the journey through the disease is easier for all concerned if communication is open.

Said actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s, “Live in the moment, enjoy the day, make the most of what you have.”

Golden K will meet Monday, with Jennifer Ahola as the speaker. Ahola is from the Iron Mountain area and works for Superior Rehab, under the direction of Karen Schultheis, dealing with elder care, case management for auto accidents, workman’s compensation and life care plans plus other duties. Areas she works in include Iron Mountain, Kingsford, Spread Eagle and Florence.

No Golden K meeting will take place Sept. 3 on Labor Day. The Golden Throats will sing Sept. 5 at Victorian Pines.

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