Helter-skeltering through life with Parkinson’s

I’ve never been one for very fast rides or rides that turn you upside down. My choice of rides at a fairground was the bumper cars. I only remember going on a helter skelter a few times. It seemed like a lot of effort to climb to the top and then it seemed to be over so fast. Other people would go straight back on again after coming off, but I don’t recall ever doing that.

I’m currently on three types of medication for Parkinson’s. They all work slightly differently. One of them has the most effect, but the downside is it wears off. I take one of these little capsules every three hours during the daytime. It usually takes 30 min to an hour to reach a peak. And it wears off 1-2 hours later.

Because of this, my daily life with Parkinson’s feels like it’s on a three hourly cycle of helter skelter rides. I get on the helter skelter first thing as I take my first dose of medication. I allow myself  lots of time to get ready. By the time I am having my breakfast my meds are peaking. They’re usually still peaking as I leave home for work – so I can walk to the station at a brisk pace.

By the time I get off my two trains and start walking up the hill to work, my meds have usually worn off, so it’s a real effort and I can’t pound up the hill. More like slow wearied steps, dragging my legs up. Like climbing up the steps of the helter skelter. When I get to work, it’s been about three hours since I took my meds so I take my second dose.

I can’t type fast as I go through my emails. By an hour or so later, my meds are peaking again – yay, I’m at the top! It’s all downwards from there, but it goes round and round rather than straight down, so there’s a bit of time to still be at a pretty good place in terms of my Parkinson’s symptoms.

And so it continues throughout every day – working day or otherwise. By the time I get home from work (or elsewhere if I’ve been out with friends for a day for example), I’m usually quite tired. My meds may not always have kicked in yet – depending on timing – when I eat my dinner. There are occasions when I  struggle to use my cutlery and eat my dinner, (still climbing the helter skelter steps) but as I’m eating my meds will kick in and I’m at the top of the helter skelter, using my cutlery with ease.

Round and round and up and down. My daily helter skelter. I’m grateful for reaching the top  and grateful for my medication. And coming off the helter skelter (my medication ‘off’ times) makes me appreciate the peak times more.

I’d probably opt for a merry-go-round at a fairground over bumper cars now. But even horses on merry-go-rounds go up and down as well as round and round. Maybe I’ll go on an actual helter skelter next time I’m at a fairground.



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