Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
After 21 years with the same movement disorders specialist (MDS), I took for granted that she would be the one taking me to the celebration when the cure for Parkinson’s disease is found. As things turned out, however, Dr. Cindy retired early and handpicked a doctor to ‘replace’ her as my neurologist and date for the celebration of the cure.
Sitting in an examination room anxiously waiting to meet my new doctor brought back memories of grade school Meet the Teacher Day. Wanting to make a good first impression, I wore new walking shoes for my initial appointment with Dr. Jori. This would give me an edge when she tested my agility, gait, and balance. After all, I wouldn’t want her to know that I had Parkinson’s disease, would I?
My competitive nature would not allow me to stop here. I went on to practice exercises I remembered from past mini mental tests, even though I had no real difficulties in this area. Okay, having to remember long strings of numbers and recite them backwards and forwards is challenging for a wordsmith like me.
My greatest fear was that I would lose my balance and stumble backwards when Dr. Jori carried out the required shoulder pull test, which is exactly what happened. She put me at ease by explaining she didn’t put much stock in this response as it was an anomaly that occurred when I was ‘off.’ If it happens again, we will discuss it then, she told me. I gave her points for kindness and felt an immediate connection. Research tells us that the stronger the bond between doctors and patients, the more likely patients are to achieve the best possible clinical outcomes, and be most satisfied with their medical care.
If anyone could one day fill Dr. Cindy’s high heel shoes, it would be Dr. Jori. The two share many qualities that make a good doctor great. Both exude warmth, caring, compassion, and empathy; are good listeners; and acknowledge patients’ fears and concerns. They encourage patients to question what they don’t understand, explain what they need to know in plain language, and empower patients to make informed treatment decisions that are right for them. The two doctors make it clear that we are in this together and that together we will prevail.
“With the right combinations of medicines, exercise, therapy and support my goal is to help you to function as well as you possibly can and do everything you want to do today,” says Dr. Jori.
Who can argue with that approach? Welcome to my healthcare team!