The Davis Phinney Foundation hosted one of their Victory Summits in Ottawa this past weekend. Over five hundred people attended the event, many with Parkinson's and quite a few as caretakers. My youngest daughter was one of the volunteers assisting with parking and lunches among other things.
Overall, I found the day interesting and somewhat enlightening. There were several vendor displays including Parkinson's Canada, two boxing organizations from Ottawa that have programs for Parkinson's patients, physiotherapy, senior's residences and aids, the Parkinson Research Consortium (PRC), and the Butterfly Project. The Butterfly Project is one of a few initiatives that 12 year old Rowan Parkinson has started. Her grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago, and she has been designing and making crafts, bookmarks, key chains with a butterfly picture on them to raise awareness, and funds for the PRC. She is quite an impressive young lady.
Each of the sessions started with an exercise led by someone from either a boxing organizations and a dance studio. Evan Siddell started the day, and introduced Davis Phinney. Evan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and runs the Growling Beaver bicycle fundraiser in Collingwood each year. This year they raised over four hundred thousand dollars, some of which was used to sponsor the event this weekend, making it free to attend.
Various doctors gave lectures and spoke during a moderated question and answer section on topics such as the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's, living better with Parkinson's, the necessity of exercise, the use of CBD.
One of the many thoughts that came to my mind during the day is the relationship between the primary MD and the specialist. It seems that my MD is reluctant to treat me for anything that is even distantly connected to Parkinson's but prefers I speak to my Movement Disorder Specialist. Because Parkinson's does affect almost every system in the body, it seems to me that what we really need a comprehensive medical team that includes doctors familiar with Parkinson's, but who specialize in each area. For instance, when I go for an appointment, I could see my MDS, and if necessary, within the clinic be referred to an optometrist, a skin cancer checkup, a nutritionist, urologist, social worker or psychologist, dentist, etc. I suppose they do not have to be in the same clinic, but it would be good for them to be part of the same team, able to share information, and all familiar with issues faced by Parkinson's patients.
I have no idea whether this would be possible within Canada's medical system, but I do believe it would improve health care for Parkinson's patients. By simplifying the process when dealing with the medical appointments, I believe it would help relieve some of the stress and make life better for Parkinson's patients.