On a recent conference call with some of the other official bloggers for next year’s World Parkinson Congress, we briefly discussed how to simulate Parkinson’s disease for people who don’t have PD. Here are some ideas that were mentioned in the conference call and subsequent emails, plus a few of my own.
What’s It Like Having Parkinson’s?
- Wear a leg weight on one leg.
- On the same leg, also wear a slipper that is 4-5 sizes too big. This will help you to “drag a leg/foot.”
- Every two hours take a break and find a bathroom. Quickly, within one minute. This is what bladder urgency is like.
- When you wake up in the morning, walk backwards for the first 45 minutes until your meds kick in.
- Simulate taking meds every three hours, then miss a dosage. To simulate freezing, walk backwards again, or crawl, until the missed dosage kicks in.
- When the phone rings, simulate a freezing spell. Don’t pick up your feet to answer it; instead, drop to your hands and knees to try to crawl to the phone in time.
- Do not carry a glass filled with liquid because your tremor will make you spill it. Alternatively, try to drink from a full martini glass as a friend gently shakes your arm. Note: Don’t waste a good martini doing this!
- Get a leather belt and a cheap serrated plastic knife like you’d use on a picnic. Try cutting the belt with the knife. This will simulate cutting meat.
- Hold a cell phone in your “affected hand” while a friend gently shakes your arm as you listen and speak to the person you’re calling.
- Hold a cell phone and try typing a text message with your lame hand while a friend gently shakes your arm.
- To experience dyskinesia, move your torso right and left for 15 minutes without stopping.
- At a crosswalk, wait through three lights before you cross the street.
- On one hand wear a thick rubber glove like you’d use for washing dishes. Try picking out 39 cents from a handful of change. Then try to remove your driver’s license and/or credit card from your wallet.
- Try to type or text while wearing the same thick rubber glove.
- The next time you attend a cocktail party, wear a 5-lb. or 10-lb. wrist weight. Then hold your glass in that hand as you stand and socialize, trying to keep the glass level and at waist height or higher.
- Stand up, spin around until you’re dizzy, then try to walk in a straight line, the heel of one foot always coming down just in front of the other foot’s toe.
- If you’re right handed, unload the dishwasher with just your left hand while your right arm hangs listlessly by your side. (If you’re left handed, unload with your right.)
- If you’re right handed and use a computer mouse, move the mouse to the left side of the computer and manipulate it with your left hand.
- If you’re right handed, use just your left hand when you wipe your butt after a bowel movement.
- Forget twirling spaghetti on a fork.
Special shout out to Jean Burns who provided the bulk of these.
And a big special “Thank You!” to everyone who left a comment below.