When dad falls ill…

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I GREW up in a little country town in WA. I loved and adored my mum, but my hero worship was reserved for my father. Dad was everything that I wanted to be.hand

He ran a little supermarket on the main street of York and was the best country supermarket operator that ever was. He worked hard and was good to customers and staff. He knew how to make money and how to make you laugh. He was a cheeky villain who always had a sparkle in his blue eyes and a smile on his face.

My father has never been much for reading and writing. He finished school at age 13, but he taught me most of what I know about life. My childhood memories are of a staunchly proud, confident and strong man.

Mum and dad did well from the business. They sold it when dad was 50 and gave working away.

Since then, he has gone through some changes, suffering his first epileptic fit soon after retirement. And while he and mum – and the various health professionals – have battled to control it over the last 25 years, the condition and its treatments took a big toll on my father.

He’s aged much faster than mum and the confident and strong man is gone.

Last week, my father was officially diagnosed as having Parkinson’s Disease. There is no cure and it’ll just get steadily worse.

The diagnosis was no great surprise. To me, it seemed pretty obvious that dad was a Parkinson’s sufferer, but for years the health experts were coming up with different conclusions.

I should feel blessed to have both my parents still alive and kicking, but I don’t want them to get old. I don’t want them to change. I miss the strong and confident man who helped me to grow up. I know mum misses him, too. He’s still a lot of fun. The cheeky grin is still there. He still makes me laugh.

I made calls to Parkinson’s groups here in Canberra and nationally to familiarise myself with the disease and its ramifications. We’ve got a thriving Parko’s group here in Canberra. I spoke briefly to Michael Dwyer who is the president of Parkinson’s ACT and he soon let me know that you can live a very full life, despite this annoying condition. They run support meetings a coffee club and even dance clubs and a painting group.


More information from Parkinson’s ACT at 6290 1984 or parkinsonsact@gmail.com

Mark Parton is the breakfast announcer at 2CC


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Mark Parton
Canberra Liberal MLA and former breakfast announcer on 2CC.

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