Don saw a new neurologist today and although further tests have been ordered we both left feeling better about his/our situation. The new doctor is a good listener and observer and less inclined to leap to a diagnosis than the one we saw last year. He has ordered a DATscan, which tests for Parkinson’s disease, based on his observations of Don’s movements and our report of his physical and cognitive issues, but says he thinks it will likely be negative. He acknowledged the role anxiety can play in all of Don’s symptoms, and reaffirmed the importance of exercise, good nutrition, sleep, activities that engage the brain, and social outlets to both mitigate cognitive issues and manage anxiety.
We’ll see him again in about 6 weeks.
My guess is that the DATscan results will lead to more assessments and tests to get to the root cause of the cognitive and physical/movement issues, which we both know are real if fairly minor and seemingly quite stable at this stage. In the meantime it is good to know that we are doing the right things to manage them, and to know that we are in the hands of a thoughtful and caring doctor.
It is also good to know that we are on the right track in terms of diet and exercise, and in our efforts to find more social outlets for Don. What we need to work on is having him engage in more brain-stimulating activities – hobbies, games, learning new skills. The neurologist said things that Don already enjoys are best. When I told him about the Beach Cities Health District’s Memory Club he said that might be helpful, but not to do anything that requires spending money on special activities or equipment.
After the neurologist’s appointment I went with Don to his weekly restorative yoga class – definitely challenging for both brain and body and something I plan to work into my retirement schedule – and then we had lunch together before I went back to work.
All in all a good day, and one that has left us both feeling more optimistic about what at least the near future might hold.