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[back] Why not Hot Air Balloons? Engr. Sivaraman Kannan - 12 April 2008

WHY NOT HOT AIR BALLOONS?

Hot air balloon rides?? Isn't it dangerous for the People with Parkinson's (PwP)?? This was the reaction amongst some people when we decided to include this in our itinerary for the celebrations of World Parkinson's Day. As a PwP, I would like to dispel this notion and share with you my experiences, both emotional and physical.

To me, asking a non PwP what is suitable for a PwP is like asking me about the pain of child birth - I have heard a lot and probably talk a lot BUT I have no idea! The Parkinson's Centre was set up to encourage PwP to come out from their over protective cocoons at home and try to live a "normal" life as possible within their ability. This is a golden opportunity probably in their life time for going up in a Hot Air Balloon. With the progressive degenerating nature of Parkinson's Disease, even if we repeat the event next year, some of us would have deteriorated over this period and be unable to utilize the second chance! The excitement of seeing other PwP going up will kindle their enthusiasm and make them try a little harder and be a little more confident in themselves and their ability .

Just visiting the Parkinson Centre once or twice a week for an hour or two makes no practical difference to the PwP! I believe that I am in my present physical condition because of my daily strenuous exercises and activities. My body does have its share of disability, aches and pains but nobody knows it because my smile camouflages the discomforts. This is to encourage the other PwP to try harder. We must in fact introduce more challenges in their activities. The last thing a PwP requires is an overprotective care giver. This attitude of protecting PwP from the real world is probably outdated by 50 to 100 years.

PWP DO NOT WANT SYMPHATHY OR PITY , BUT THEY DO NEED ALL THE SUPPORT AND CHANCES YOU CAN GIVE THEM TO LEAD A "NORMAL" LIFE AS LONG AS THEY CAN BEFORE THEY ARE COMPLETELY BED RIDDEN! UNTIL THEN SUPPORT THEM FULLY, ENCOURAGE THEM AND ALLOW THEM TO DO WHAT THEY CAN BY THEMSELVES .

Let them lead a life with a soaring spirit instead of being caged in the so called safety of the home under your watchful eyes 24 hours a day. Most patients do not want to trouble their caregivers by asking for what they want and just accept what is given. Encourage them to do the little extra at all times .Let them take the normal risks associated with normal life. Let them live instead of just exist .

Engr. Sivaraman Kannan
Vice President
Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association