It has been a long time since I have written anything. I have sat down at my computer to write but the words just did not make it into the computer. Maybe this time will be different. It is my present intent to write what ever comes into my head.
My most recent adventure is the addition of a pump to my arsenal of medical devices that I use to manage my Parkinson’s medications. Before I tell you about my pump I need to tell you about how Parkinson’s medications are administrated to the patient in general. There are many different medications that can be used to lessen the effects of Parkinson’s, but the main one is a combination of Cardiodopa and Levodopa. As I understand the history of these, Levodopa was discovered, by accident, to be a ‘miracle drug’ in that it, within minutes after taking the drug, it transformed a person from a bedridden and sick person to a person very close to being normal. That is why it is called a ‘miracle drug’. It was also found that the ‘miracle’ did not last very long – several hours – and it sometimes made you feel sick to your stomach. It was found that combining Cardiodopa with Levodopa fixed the ‘sick to your stomach’ problem but the short duration problem is still with us today.
My personal experience with the combination drug, administrated as a pill, was much like I described above – a short lived miracle. My Doctor switched me to a ‘time release’ form of the medication. This was better than the ordinary pill that I had been taking, but not that much. I was then put on a ‘better’ form of time release – a capsule filled with a granular substance. By then my Parkinson’s symptoms had become more severe and as a result I was taking a lot more of the drug. I gradually became more aware of my ‘on’ and ‘off’ times, that is, when the drug was working and when it was not. The problem was that the capsule was taken by mouth into the stomach where it dissolved and the medication then moved thru the stomach into the part of the gut just below the stomach. This is where the medication moves to the blood stream and thence crosses the blood brain barrier into the brain where it becomes Dopamine. This Dopamine replaces the Dopamine lost due to Parkinson’s. A simple process in theory but not so simple in practice. I am told that eating meat protein and/or fatty foods screws-up the absorption timing such that the actual time delay becomes unpredictable. You learn quickly that you must adhere to a strict schedule and not eat proteins or fatty foods in excess when using these capsules. This requires a log of when and what you have eaten and when the capsules were taken. The process associated this the use of these becomes increasingly tedious and hard to maintain over the long run. I expressed my frustration with this situation to my doctor and he informed me that a solution for my frustration problem was at hand. He then told me of the ‘pump’.
The ‘pump’ is a device that you wear on your body. It consisted of a battery powered medication pump and a renewable cartridge containing the medication, in gel form, sufficient for sixteen hours of infusion, administrated continuously. The medication is delivered to the recipient thru a tube connected to the pump, running thru a stoma (a hole in your body), into your stomach and down your gut to a place just below your stomach. The idea is to deliver the drug, in gel form, directly into the gut at the place where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The purpose of the ‘pump’ is to eliminate the frustrations associated with pills or capsules. Pills or capsules are still necessary during the eight hours when the pump is not in use, when you are asleep.
I have been using the ‘pump’ for five weeks and my experience is that it does indeed make my life better. I do maintain a strict schedule of pump usage and I must do what is necessary to maintain the small hole in my body, without fail. I no longer must cope with the difficulties associated with the capsules and my stomach related problems. My frustration with the capsules is long gone. Using the pump is working well for me. I believe I made the right decision.