Most Saturday nights when we go to the services at Trinity Church in Lansing, I avoid verbal communication with just about everybody, except my wife. Why? My Parkinson's Disease (PD) has reduced the volume of my voice to just about a whisper and a strained one at that. With PD, I've found myself withdrawing more and more from everyday verbal communication.
I found myself becoming more and more socially isolated where I only felt comfortable talking with my wife Gladys. This reduced me to Facebook conversations where I talked with my fingertips.
Then Dr. Sidropoulos who diagnosed me responded by writing a script for me to get special speech therapy for PD patients. It's called LSVT Loud. The therapy sessions concentrate on building breath strength through a variety of exercises under the tutelage of my therapist Nicole. She's incredibly patient and knowledgeable.
It took a couple of sessions to get the point of how much my voice strength had deteriorated and that when I went through my "ahhh. . ." exercises that 80 decibels was not screaming.
So, is it working? I've asked my wife and others if they had any trouble understanding me since I've started therapy. Their responses have been an encouragement big time. I'm starting to feel more empowered to jump back into conversations, rather than avoid them, especially with one set of grandkids coming for our Easter celebration. I look forward to reading books with them again.
My wife helps me with my homework at the kitchen table. If you're standing on our deck and you hear screaming, you'll know what it is. Actually, my therapist says my perception of loudness will change as my brain reprograms itself.
Next week: Boxing for Parkinson's patients and maybe a support group. Goal is to beat the disease and not give it more of a chance to beat me.