2010 Palmerston North


2010 UPBEAT Weekend

In November, Sandy and I attended our seventh UPBEAT weekend conference in Palmerston North, along with about 55 others from around the country. Even having attended so many UPBEAT weekends in the past 10 years, I can still say that I learnt new things and of course both met up with old friends and hopefully made new ones.

Dr Pietro Cariga, Neurologist, gave a good introductory overview of Parkinson's disease, medications and treatments. He gave quite a focus to the effects that some drugs can have in causing compulsive behaviours and the need to be aware of the degree to which this can occur. Doctors are not always good at explaining this to patients.

Similarly with the second topic on the Friday that looked at sexuality – another issue that some in the medical profession can have difficulty with or perhaps chose to ignore. I liked Dr Kirsteh Holst's summary: “we (doctors) may not be good about talking about sexuality, but there are things we can do to improve the situation if we know there are problems”. This issue, like many others, is a two – way street and is best faced by talking about it.

Eleni Nikolau, Psychiatrist from Waikato Hospital, gave an exceptional presentation on Saturday. She has a great ability to speak with empathy and compassion. She spoke on emotional issues in relation to Parkinson's – clarifying such things as depression, apathy and anxiety. There was much of interest in her talk but one thing that stuck in my mind was her description of individuals: the person you were before Parkinson's is still the same person after developing Parkinson's (notwithstanding that things have changed).
I think we can sometimes forget that as time goes on.

A lot of other good things happened on the weekend and these comments barely scratch the surface. If you can be at the next weekend that is organised I am confident you will learn a great deal and really enjoy the experience.

Kevin Miles and Sandy Wright