The tough part about writing a blog about a neurological disease like PD is trying to make it a compelling read. Not just to the PD community, but to a much wider audience. Most people would rather watch paint dry. So how does an unknown guy like me get people like you to wake up in the morning thinking about this blog. I mean I am not famous, at least not yet :), but I have a story to tell and a willingness to put it out there for others to enjoy and maybe the next time you see a PD patient, give them a hug (well, not the guy with the pit bull). So where were we…
In the last post we were looking at some alternative therapies, none of which seemed to work that effectively. Sooner or later I would need to start medication. I had managed to stave off taking anything for 5 years (not bad). The turning point was a half mile run, downhill, which turned into a cramping nightmare. My calves, legs, and feet were all cramping. This did not sit well, so I went to see my neurologist who started me on Sinemet. There are many PD drugs and I will eventually share with you all that I have taken but in staying true to the title of this blog, I would like to highlight Mirapex.
If available, this would have been the drug of choice at Woodstock. It effects people in different ways, but it comes with a warning that “it might cause or increase compulsive behavior like sex and gambling”. People have lost their life savings and destroyed their marriages while on it. I thought when my neurologist prescribed it that I would not succumb to these urges because I am strong willed. Well, I was just a wee bit wrong.
First, there was a trip to Vegas. Talk about a kid in a candy shop! Once I had burned through my budget, I was left stalking the craps table. I would circle the table, no longer able to play, but wanting to be part of the action. You realize that if you are making the clients at Hooters nervous you have really achieved something! Ok, but this was Vegas and it was a plane ride away and not so easily accessible. Then the real fun started.
Turn out that there are many casinos relatively close to where I live. Pretty much if you’ve got a parking sized lot on Indian land there will be a casino on it. At first I would make the occasional trip to the black jack tables, but these trips became more frequent and I would sneak out of the house at 2 or 3 in the morning so that my wife would not notice. When I look back on it, I am pretty embarrassed about the whole thing, but hey those pleasure centers of the brain working with Mirapex as the fuel needed to be fed. The low point had to be sitting at a black jack table on Christmas Eve while pretending to be out shopping. Can’t get much lower than that! Or maybe it was going in with 20 dollars hoping to go on a run of luck. You pick.
I also had a weird physiological response while on Mirapex and sitting at the tables. I would start sweating profusely! My entire shirt would soak through and I would be dripping on the table. Security actually stopped me as the waitresses were complaining that I was on drugs. Which I was, but not the good ones. Those were the dark times and they were extremely hard on the family. The good news is that once off the Mirapex, I returned to normal. I tell my wife that at least it wasn’t a sexual compulsive behavior!
How;s that for drama?