Friday, August 22, 2008

My HD Days Part I

I went to work for Home Depot 8.5 years ago. I started working in the Millwork Department selling  windows and doors. Because of my experience it was a good fit for them and for me. I had worked as a contractor for 15 years and prior to that spent 10 years running a super market in the Tremont area of Cleveland, which was just starting to gentrify. I was 59 yeas old. I'd had a coronary artery blockage corrected at the Cleveland Clinic a few years before. My health was good.

I enjoyed working at Home Depot and they liked me. I was promoted to Department Supervisor and headed several. At one period I managed a department and was also working as an inventory associate, performing two full time jobs at the same time. I was promoted to become a key-carrying manager. I ran the whole store on Monday afternoons when the salaried managers were meeting. The work hours were all over the clock. There was no set schedule. Sometimes I had to be back at work within 7 hours after concluding the previous shift.

About two years from the time I began work at Home Depot, I noticed that sometimes when falling asleep or waking I would have a sharp discrete pain, like being pricked by a very sharp pin somewhere in my torso, often my chest. I wasn't sure if it was neurological but it crossed my mind. In the beginning it would happen every two or three weeks. As time went by I would get the pains more often. That was the only symptom I had for about two years.

Then one day during a stressful situation with a customer I noticed my left thumb shaking just a little bit. The next instance was when I was giving a talk to 150 people at a store meeting and my whole body shook a little bit. That is when I considered that I probably had Parkinson's and made an appointment with my doctor, Dr. Roth my GP at Kaiser in Cleveland, Ohio. He thought it was PD but wasn't sure if it might not be Essential Tremor. So he referred me to a neurologist.

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