Posts Tagged ‘neurotransmitter called dopamine’

Teresa LeYung-Ryan’s Blog Post 3 of 3

How Dr. Norman Doidge’s Books Help Me and My Chinese Papa Who Has Parkinson’s

 

I am not fluent in Cantonese.

When I was a new immigrant from Hong Kong in the 1960s, San Francisco public schools did not have ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.  Classmate’s snickering compelled me to learn my new language with urgency. By fourth grade, you couldn’t shut me up.  Then our parents (actually, probably just our father) insisted that my siblings and I go to Chinese School (classes in Chinatown everyday after regular school was let out).  One year of misery. Thank goodness our mother spoke up to our father (in Cantonese) – “Let our children succeed in English school first.”

Fast forward to 2017. Parkinson’s Disease has caused what Papa would say with his Cantonese accent “a lot of problem.”

[ According to http://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons/ Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people … a person’s brain slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions.]

Papa and Teresa chuckle at the last part of speech exercises taught by Terri Snyder from Self Help for the Elderly - photo by Wen Hsu, translator extraordinaire

While I lack the vocabulary to tell my father that I sympathize, I do know how to encourage and praise with sincerity.  When he frowns at my prompting to do the exercises (taught by the dear professionals from Self Help for the Elderly) or Sit and Be Fit™  (recommended by NP Heloise Lim), or to pick up his feet when those darn rubber mats at grocery stores and restaurants seem to ambush him and his walker… I say to him: “You win! Do NOT let Parkinson’s win. You win!”

**********************************************

Through the engaging stories in this book – The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge, M.D. – I have learned that our wonderful brains are forever changing, growing and healing. That knowledge gives me the vocabulary to ask the right questions as an advocate for my father. Dear friend Wen Hsu ordered the traditional Chinese edition of Dr. Doidge’s book through a bookseller in Taiwan. Papa has the book near his dining table; next to the Chinese edition is the English edition; both books are there for Papa’s helpers and friends to read.

As for my being an advocate/daughter who is not fluent in her parent’s native tongue, I know how to find people who excel in their work. In the past three weeks, Wen Hsu (translator extraordinaire) has translated my multiple letters (written in English) into Chinese for Papa’s Caregivers/Helpers.

I salute Papa’s caregivers/helpers, his caring friends, my caring friends, wise mentors, supportive spouse, dear sister, MaMah, Papa’s spunk, the doctors, nurses, administration staffs, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, interpreters, dear folks at Self Help for the Elderly, South Market Senior Health Clinic, UCSF Movement Disorder and Neuromodulation Center, E.R. staffs, staffs at U.C. Medical Center and St. Mary’s Hospital, SFGH Orthotics and Prosthetic Center, the dear staff members at the building where my papa lives, and Dr. Norman Doidge for writing his book The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity.

Mr. Leung with traditional Chinese edition, Teresa LeYung-Ryan with English edition of the book THE BRAIN'S WAY OF HEALING: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity by Norman Doidge, M.D. - photo by Wen Hsu, translator extraordinaire

 

Special thanks to the dear folks at Self Help for the Elderly – Nurse Valerie Chan, Nurse Chiu Li, Physical Therapist Jenny Chiu, Occupational Therapist Tom Wong, Speech Therapist Terri Snyder, Translator Albie Wong, and of course the administrative staff, and all the nurses and therapists who have helped my father in the past and shall in the future.

 

Knowledge that leads to health and wellness – this is my wish for everyone.

Sincerely,

Teresa, advocate/daughter to my Chinese papa

P.S.  I am rereading Dr. Norman Doidge’s books

Teresa LeYung-Ryan, photo by Britt


Teresa LeYung-Ryan is

author of:

  • Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (workbook);
  • Love Made of Heart: a Daughter Finds Herself through Witnessing Her Mother’s Mental Illness (novel used in college classes, recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association, and archived at the San Francisco History Center);
  • “Talking to My Dead Mom” Monologues (the first monologue received an award from Redwood 10-Minute Play Contest and was staged at the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, CA);
  • Coach Teresa’s Blog  http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog (which attracts thousands of writers) helps writers build their platforms before and after publication
  • “For Themes’ Sake” and “Heroes, Tricksters and Villains” and “Where Are You On Your Writer’s Journey?” and other workshop material

creator of “Immigrant Experience Writing Contest” and

owner of trademark

 and proponent of public libraries, public schools, and excellent public healthcare for ALL!

The link to this blog post #3 of 3 in this series:

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/teresa-leyung-ryans-blog-post-3-of-3-how-dr-norman-doidges-books-help-me-and-my-chinese-papa-who-has-parkinsons/

Blog post #2 of 3 in this series:

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/teresa-leyung-ryans-blog-post-2-of-3-how-dr-norman-doidges-books-help-me-help-my-papa/

Blog post #1 of 3 in this series:

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/theme-consultant-teresa-leyung-ryans-blog-post-1-of-3-what-i-learned-about-the-brain-from-dr-norman-doidges-2-books/

 

by Teresa LeYung-Ryan

This is 3 of 4 of my blog posts entitled “Parkinson’s Disease, My Chinese Papa, and My practicing The Four Agreements”

I didn’t know that I would be enjoying my new part-time job as my father’s exercise coach, appointment escort, and advocate OR that I would be practicing The Four Agreements (from Don Miguel Ruiz’s timeless book).

Agreement #3 – Don’t Make Assumptions

Extraordinaire Physical Therapist Brenda had taught my papa how to retrain his brain to turn Parkinson’s shuffling into “pick up foot” and “heel first, then toes” walking. Papa works hard at this.  He holds onto the handrails outside his apartment when he practices what I call “fancy walk.” However, when we leave the building with his walker, his walking regresses to shuffling. I assumed that Papa was uncooperative. That is until three days ago…when I put myself in his shoes.

[ According to http://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/what-is-parkinsons/ Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people … a person’s brain slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions.]

If  Papa is pushing a walker (one type of movement), how does he concentrate on picking up his feet (another type of movement)? I asked Brenda to step out onto the sidewalk with us and teach new tricks.

She said to Papa: “Relax your arms on the walker. No need to strain yourself. Do concentrate on heel first with each step. I’ll put tennis ball slider feet on the rear legs of your walker to reduce the friction.”

This was Brenda’s last session in this round of physical therapy ordered by Papa’s neurologist. What other concerns to tell her?  Oh yes, Papa coughs when he takes his pills. Aiy yah. I assumed he was being Mr. Macho, downing four pills at the same time. Brenda had the answer. “Drinking water when taking pills, coughing?  Water is going down the wrong pipe. Add a thickening agent to liquids to reduce the risk of choking. And, sit in an upright position. Do NOT tilt head back.” I must ask her what kind of thickening agent.

[ According to https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/news-detail.php?swallowing-and-parkinson-disease ….  Difficulty swallowing, called dysphagia, can happen at any stage of Parkinson disease. Signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include: difficulty swallowing certain foods or liquids, coughing or throat clearing during or after eating/drinking, and feeling as if food is getting stuck.  As the disease progresses, swallowing can become severely compromised and food/liquid can get into the lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia is the leading cause of death in PD. [....]

Because Parkinson disease is progressive, swallowing abilities can change over time, underscoring the need for early intervention and frequent follow-up. Sometimes the signs of a swallowing disorder can be subtle, so it is important to be vigilant. If you think you have difficulty swallowing, ask your physician to refer you to a speech language pathologist for a swallowing evaluation.]

Gee, Papa is doing hard work. I’m very proud of him.  My practicing the four agreements is also hard work. I do believe that Mom is proud of me, and, if Papa knew how much I’m learning, he would be too.

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Author & Fanbase-Building Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out. Enjoy your writer’s journey.”
http://WritingCoachTeresa.com

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/

https://www.youtube.com/user/teresaleyung

Teresa LeYung-Ryan is the author of:

·          Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (workbook);

·          Love Made of Heart: a Daughter Finds Herself Through Witnessing Her Mother’s Mental Illness (novel used in college classes, recommended by the California School Library Association and the California Reading Association, and archived at the San Francisco History Center);

·          “Talking to My Dead Mom” Monologues (the first monologue received an award from Redwood 10-Minute Play Contest and was staged at the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, CA);

·         Coach Teresa’s Blog (which attracts tens of thousands of writers) at http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/  helps writers build their platforms before and after publication

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