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Alan Levy

I am a Professor at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. I have Parkinson's disease and I have a friend in Wisconsin who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's. Since he has been going through the down cycles of depression that often follow any such major diagnosis, I wrote him the following poem. He seemed to enjoy it, and I present it to NPF in hopes that others may get some pleasure out it as well. As a side note: the poem derives from a song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance.”   

I’m the Very Model of One Diagnosed With Parkinson’s

I’m the very model of one diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
I harbor thoughts that my condition could grow much more troublesome.
So, in regard to making sure I’m doing all that can be done,
I’m jotting here a bit of verse à la Gilbert and Sullivan.

I’ve known of my condition now for over two full years and half.
I’m learning all I can to keep my spirit keen and bright (and daft).
Alcohol I do not drink with friends with whom I once did quaff.
Meanwhile, I exercise each day for muscle tone of ab. and calf.

Of medicines I now know much from Sinemets to Azilect,
Rasagaline, Ubiquinol, and Gluta-thine Acetyl-ed.
There’s many more including very weird stuff known as Previcid;
If only I remembered all the detailed things my Pharm’cist said.

For some of us there’s need, as well, to treat the fact of DE-pression,
And here the list of SSR’s runs longer than my primary one.
I’ve tried a few but find them not to have much use; hence my dictum:
'Be in charge yourself of mind as is or how it may become.

Twice a year I go to town to see a chief neurologist.
He looks me up and down, referring to some high-powered check-off list.
What could arise as to my fate he cannot say or hint a “pssst!”
Even to him the future seems quite amply shrouded in a mist.

Are there worse things that can happen? Here the answer is “Oh Yes!”
I loved someone and lost her to that horrid thing called ALS.
Disease abounds, and it is worst whenever youngest kids are stressed.
After all, we old folks know we’ve lives of love and jokes and jests.

So what to do? ‘Tis sure this question vexes each and every wit.
One needn’t master Shakespeare, Kant, or Kierkegaard to fathom it.
Neither need one try to write some sort of Groucho/Chico skit.
        (‘Though that ‘soitainly’ couldn’t ‘hoit!’)
But simply shrug and smile, and go forth and make the best of it.

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