Thursday, May 28, 2009

Parkinson's and Dementia, The beginning

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.

1 comment:

  1. First time I've read your blog, Silverfox. We are survivors, you and I and I'd like to link with your blog on mine.

    I started writing in 2013 although I now see LBD was in our family unit far before that time. Even though we lived with it every day, we believed "growing old" meant you simply had these "challenges" with memory and with behaviour.

    Lewy Body Dementia needs more coverage, more exposure and, in my opinion, Dementia as a group of challenges needs to be recognized as Cancer and Heart Disease have been.

    Wishing you many more days sharing your unique perspective and I will continue my advocacy for LBD and for people living in Long Term Care.

    Dementia and especially Lewy Body Dementia affect everyone trying to manage and survive its symptoms and its affects -- those with the disease and those trying to care give and share lives living daily with the disease in their homes or in living centers.