I am a retired Navy Master Chief Gunner's Mate, who worked in the MK 42 and MK 45 5"/54 gun mount world. To say that we "Bathed" in the hydraulic fluid would be an understatement. We did not use protective clothing, respirators, masks, or eye protection of any kind. We often had open cuts and scrapes that permitted anything to enter our bodies. On my first three ships, showers were a luxury. So was drinking water on my first ship, for that matter. I remember going for 30 days without a shower! So, we were constantly in contact with, drenched in, covered by, and breathed in, hydraulic fluid, Mil-F-17111. But, whats to worry? It's just good old petroleum based oil. Nothing synthetic like some of the Snipes (Propulsion Rates) had to deal with. Then, in 1989, the year I retired, the Navy told us that there was a chemical added to the hydraulic fluid, that was carcinogenic and neurotoxic!!! That chemical was tricrysl Phosphate. They changed the formula of Mil-F-17111, but did not flush the old oil out of the hundreds of gun mounts, missile launchers, and gun turrets in the Navy. By this time, I was a tech rep at Naval Sea Support Center,, Atlantic. Doing what? Bathing in hydraulic oil.
The date of this writing is May 28, 2009. A little over 18 months ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and Dementia. The neurologist, who took 9 months to make that determination, believes a contributing factor was my extensive exposure to the hydraulic fluid in the gun mounts. She has been very aggressive with my treatment, just as she was with the testing that lead her to this diagnosis. I take medication for the PD and it helps with the rigidity. I take Razadyne and Namenda for the Dementia, but they do little for the Dementia's progression. I have good days, and bad days. However, I notice the downward spiral of these degenerative conditions. Not to worry.
My goal of this BLOG, is to share my experiences, good and bad, and to learn from others experiencing the same challenges. Those of us with PD and Dementia have few to talk to, discuss experiences with, and to compare note with. Sometimes, I feel alone, and I am looking for a friend to walk with me these last few miles.
So, hop on board if you have PD and/or Dementia or are a care giver for someone who does. We can learn from each other and get stronger together.