Inside the building the front desk personnel looked at my insurance cards, gave me a long medical questionnaire to fill out, a HIPPA briefing and an arm full of handouts. My therapist, Ron came out. He introduced himself and we walked back to an exam room where we reviewed my medical history.
I was impressed by Ron's knowledge of Parkinson's and his thorough reading of my medical record. He was really concerned that I wasn't using a chair when I take a shower. He told me that a lot of people only find out they have a balance problem when they fall in the tub and break an arm or fracture their skulls. He reminded me that falls are the number two cause of death of Parkinson's patients.
Next, I stripped to my briefs and Ron checked my strength and range of motion at a number of joints of my body. He recorded all this information in a laptop. Then he gave me a neurological exam that was as good as any neurologist has given me.
Finally he watched me walk and made some suggestions about how I could learn to take longer strides to eliminate the shuffle I have been developing. He pointed out that I was taking two striding steps but dragging my left foot on the third step. He said I would have to be aware of that drag which indicated the shortening of the stride so that I could step away from that drag to a normal pace.
Back at the desk Ron told me that he would design an exercise program for me. It would reduce my symptoms and allow me to do more physically. He gave me a twice weekly schedule for the next four weeks, told me to get some aquatic shoes, bring my swim suit and next week he'd start teaching me the exercises.