On 15 December 2020, I met for the first time with Professor Tim Anderson, a very experienced Neurologist in Christchurch, New Zealand, who is well respected in his field. He was also the specialist who worked with my parents and of whom my mother spoke with great respect.

First I met with his Registrar and a number of physical tests were carried out and then with Professor Anderson. He confirmed the diagnosis and advised I was to immediately be put on Pramipexole, a medication I had not heard of previously. The dosage 125pg three times daily for two weeks, then 250pg for two weeks, then 500pg three times daily. I am now on the higher of the doses and don’t seem to have any ill effects. I have had restless legs and previously on Nortriptylene for this, but have gradually been weaned off by my GP. Yay, one less tablet to remember! Professor Anderson suggested in his letter that if the Pramipexole did not settle my restless legs that Sinemet could be introduced. This may sound strange, but reading this pulled me up short. Why? Because this was a medication I remember my parents being on and so felt more like a “real” Parkinsons’ medication and really bought home to me that, yes, I do have the same condition as my parents. Being on Pramipexole – as I had never heard of it – didn’t hold those connotations for me.

Things I have noticed since being on medication. I suddenly have what feels like an enhanced sense of smell! Perfume smells really strong to me. Perhaps that’s what “normal” (I hate that label) people can smell like? I have had a bad sense of smell for so long I guess I didn’t realise how bad it was. I can smell flowers and smells outdoors that I haven’t really smelled properly for years. My tremors are even more sporadic and I haven’t had much of a tremor since starting on medications. Sleep! Who knew this medication would allow me to sleep better! It is amazing – after years of tossing and turning trying to get to sleep in the first place – to wake up in the morning and actually feel like I have had a good sleep. I still wake up to go to the bathroom, but go back to sleep quite quickly. Perils of being nearly 60 I guess. All in all, medication is my friend, it helps me and so far without any side effects. As I have to take 1/2 a tablet three times daily, I have purchased a “Dosset Box” which has four parts Breakfast, Noon, Dinner & Bed. I don’t need the Bed one right now, but you never know in the future. Each daily section pops out so that I can take the whole section with me to work. It’s a system that works for me.

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