REGAINING A SENSE OF CONTROL
For two years, Tim had tried many different medications. While some were more effective than others, their side effects were often intolerable. Tim’s neurologist recommended deep brain stimulation (DBS), a surgical procedure used to treat tremors, stiffness, walking problems and other exhausting symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Soon enough, Tim engaged with the ActiveHealth team and was put in touch with Valerie, an experienced nurse and complex care manager who provided the compassionate, and collaborative support Tim needed to plan for and navigate towards his next steps. Valerie encouraged Tim to make a list of the pros and cons of DBS. The process helped Tim feel better about his personal decision to wait on the surgery. It was Tim’s first step, in the right direction, for regaining control of his health decisions.
FINDING STRENGTH AND CONFIDENCE THROUGH PERSONAL CHOICE
Tim’s goal had been to remain independent. For him, that meant being able to walk normally without relying on a wheelchair. While Valerie was respectful of his goals and wishes, she also feared for his safety since he reported having several falls a week. They talked about his strength and stamina, and the role nutrition played in helping him. Valerie worked closely with Tim to create a list of realistic and empowering options, including having well-balanced meals delivered to his home through Meals on Wheels, using Paratransit for his transportation needs, and planning a daily schedule that doesn’t leave him exhausted by the end of the day. .
“Valerie always gives me good insights and different ways to think of things,” he said.
For Tim, it was also important to have someone “outside the situation” with whom he could confide in, someone who did not know his wife or friends, and who didn’t have an opinion about how he should live his life and who would not be burdened by his feelings. Having the freedom to speak truthfully helped Tim sort through his feelings, put his situation in perspective and release tension. “Valerie always gives me good insights and different ways to think of things,” he said.