Working with Parkinson’s — Moving on

Before I start this week’s article, I want to thank everyone who joined me along this journey. It’s been good to share what worked, what didn’t work, my general approach and all the successes C and I made. Now, we talk about what you do when there’s nothing more you can do.

So, C and I started working slightly differently and, again, we were able to see progress. We saw it even faster than before. However, Parkinson’s is a very complicated disease. While gross motor skills improved, fine motor skills were not focused on. We saw a general improvement in strength, endurance, stamina, coordination and balance. C was standing on one foot, moving around and generally being more productive.

Writing_by_a_Parkinson's_disease_patient
writing by a Parkinson’s Patient

Then, one day, she had to sign a document and realised that she couldn’t. Through the year and a bit that I was working with her, she never had problems with this before, but one day, it just happened. Parkinson’s Disease works by affecting the cells in the brain that are responsible for the production of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. This means that signals don’t go to the muscles as efficiently as someone without the ailment. This is not limited to large muscles. Smaller muscles that are responsible for finger and toe movement are affected also. While we were training, primarily, larger muscles, we could not focus as much on smaller muscles and thus, she began to lose control of her fingers.

What this meant is that she now needed to seek specific physiotherapy for fine motor skills — this is not my area of expertise. She realised that she could not do both physio and general fitness training together. She had to make a decision. She determined that it was time to move on to another aspect of her development. This also meant that it was time for me to move on.The_Popular_Educator_Illustration_6_-_Holding_the_Pen

It is hard because I still care a lot about her progress, but I know that I can’t provide the specific service that she needs right now. Of course, I still care about her and check in every now and then, but that’s all I can do. As a trainer, there comes a time when we will all face losing a client due to a number of reasons. It’s up to us to recognise that we have gone as far on that particular journey as we could and that we, ourselves, need to move on.

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