Do you know anyone with Parkinson’s disease? Have you heard of the DBS surgery that helps Parkinson’s patients?
Since lately I have been spending a lot of time in the hospital, it has helped me realize the wonders of modern medicine. The one type of modern medicine I have chosen to write about is the DBS surgery. DBS stands for Deep Brain Stimulation, which is for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The reason individuals have this elective surgery is because it helps stop the tremors.
DBS is a procedure where surgeons implant a device called a brain pacemaker, which is the size of a stopwatch. It sends electrical signals to the brain. Some individuals may think that it damages healthy brain tissue, but in reality it just blocks electrical signals to certain part of the brains.
This surgery consists of three parts. First, the lead, which is an isolated wire that is implanted in the brain. The next part is the extension, which is an insulated wire that passes under the skin of the head to the shoulder and then to the battery pack. The final stage is the battery pack that is implanted under the skin near the collarbone. Then the battery pack is turned on. Many individuals still have to take medicine after this procedure, but it decreases their symptoms. Prognosis varies from patient to patient.
I am the daughter of someone that has Parkinson’s and has gone through the surgery twice. After the first surgery and the battery pack was turned on, I observed the tremor of his left hand stop. Recently he has gone through the surgery a second time to stop the tremor of his right hand. The surgery is about a four-hour procedure.
After the first surgery, I asked my mom about when she saw a difference with my father’s tremor, and she said she saw a difference as soon as they turned the battery pack on. I realized that after they turned the battery pack on, I had difficulty remembering him without his tremor.
The DBS surgery has helped him in more ways than the medicine he was on ever did. Now that he has had part of his second surgery, all he has left is have the battery pack put in later this month. After he has the battery pack put in and turned on, then he will be able to do more things than he had been able to do with the Parkinson’s disease.
Now that my father has had this surgery, he will be able to do many things that he hasn’t been able to do. He can now be able to plant his garden easier. He can also work on his computer without shaking as bad. One other thing that he can do now is that he can work in his studio without getting frustrated.
Modern medicine has helped my family in many ways.
Dominique Dobson is a student at Mabel-Canton High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its eighteenth year.