Recent interviews conducted by Shake It Up supporter Maree Faulkner with 21 Australians living with Parkinson’s explored the impact of their diagnosis on their career. Our Pause 4 Parkinson’s campaign this year shines a light on this important issue.
Surviving the heart-breaking impact of years of drought in western Queensland should have been enough. Having to sell the cattle property that had been the dream to pass onto their children and letting go of that inter-generational legacy should have been enough. But no…… for Lynette (Lindy) Hardie life was going to throw up another challenge.
In 2016 Lindy was told she had Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a degenerative neurological condition with no identified cause and, as yet, no cure.
Lindy has had an interesting life. She had been an “air hostess” (in the days before non-gendered terminology) and had worked in the banking sector. She had married a farmer and, after two property moves, had finally settled in Blackall, raising her children on a property 75kms from the town. Engaged in her local and broader rural community, Lindy published two books on gardening, raising $32,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. When her Mum was admitted to the local aged care facility, and times were getting seriously tough on the family property, Lindy took a job in the same facility, driving the 75kms from farm to town and back every day.
Then came the PD diagnosis.
The symptoms of PD vary greatly. For Lindy they were a slight tremor which got much worse if she was tired or stressed, jumping leg syndrome and occasional stumbling. Initially the PD medication she was prescribed caused even bigger issues – mini blackouts – a major danger driving 75kms on country roads. Fortunately, the medications were able to be adjusted and the one positive of having to sell the family property is that Lindy and her husband now live in the town, so there is no need to drive long distances. But Lindy struggles with the fatigue, very poor sleep, varying levels of tremor, micrography and an unknown future.
But she loves her work. And the residents, staff and management of the aged care home clearly love her.
When she was first diagnosed with PD, Lindy resigned but she was asked to come back. They said she could work part-time and someone else could drive the bus and carry the hot liquids. Practical changes could be made to keep a valued staff member.
Lindy says that whilst her colleagues were horrified by her diagnosis at first, she now feels fully supported and even the residents look out for her, suggesting she take a break for a cuppa if her shakes get too bad.
Lindy doesn’t know what the future holds, but she is a resilient woman and, with the support of her employer, she is continuing to do valuable work. She may no longer be able to eat soup, but she’s taken up painting….maybe she’ll raise more money for the RFDS.
Pause 4 Parkinson’s is this April.
Host a virtual fundraiser and connect with your friends and family to help raise funds for Parkinson’s research. Being in social isolation has opened up lots of new ways of connecting.
Get involved and have fun hosting a virtual event or doing your own personal challenge.