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Navigating Parkinson’s: The Impact of Local Health Care

A couple sitting together in downtown Napanee.

Jan and Ray, celebrating 49 years of marriage, have truly experienced life to the fullest. Over the years, they’ve raised a family, nurtured a rich collection of inside jokes, and embarked on memorable adventures. Meanwhile, Ray, an avid angler, has spent countless hours pursuing his passion for fishing.

They’re true “partners in crime,” says Jan, with their journey together serving as a true testament to a lifetime filled with love.

Soon after Ray turned 60, however, Jan started noticing some changes in her husband.

“I began to notice a decline in his physical strength and cognitive sharpness,” she says, her hand gently resting on his knee. “He had a tremor and lost interest in activities he once cherished, like tending to the lawn.”

After blood tests, CAT scans and everything else in between, the couple learned Ray had Parkinson’s Disease, which is a progressive neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to control their body movements. It often leads to symptoms like tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

As Ray’s health declined, Jan became increasingly concerned about managing his healthcare. However, thanks to their local hospital, accessing appointments has become far less stressful. The staff’s warm smiles and personalized care have transformed the experience of navigating the challenges posed by Parkinson’s Disease, providing them both with a reassuring sense of support and ease.

“The constant support is there. I know he’s getting the care he needs, and it’s just wonderful because, with Parkinson’s, it can be challenging,” she explains. “Knowing that the weight is now being shared by professionals who genuinely care, who guide me through this journey, has helped me in so many ways.”

Jan recognizes that Ray’s health will continue to require ongoing care, but she’s grateful for the healthcare staff who have made the journey more manageable for them both. And having it so close to home? Well, that’s made all the difference in the world, too.

“It’s been a win-win for both of us,” she explains. “The hospital is the heart and soul of our community. And I just thank God that I can get access to such wonderful care. We’re so lucky to live in a town that has a hospital like this.”

She is deeply committed to ensuring that the excellent care Ray receives continues to be available for generations to come.

“In a small community like this, you’re not just a number,” she says. “And you can’t put a value on that. I’ll be the first to say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you’ to the hospital, nurses, and doctors and every person involved in this facility for everything they do daily.”

At this, Jan is quick to mention Ray’s favorite nurse, who not only puts him at ease but makes him smile. This is truly meaningful because for a long time, Jan says, Ray had lost his smile. But with the constant support of nurses and doctors, she’s not only found rays of hope but also glimpses of that precious smile, lighting up her world once more.

“Thanks to our local healthcare, it’s back,” she says, tears filling her eyes. “And that means more to me than I can ever express.”