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April is Parkinson's awareness month.

I probably have had PD for over 10 years. Parkinson's usually affects people over 60 but some can get it earlier. In my case I have found the care available today to be in short supply and of low quality.

Syracuse has very few doctors familiar with PD. Rochester has many but most are more interested in the research end. Many patients are left to self maintenance like myself.

A typical appointment lasts about a half-hour twice a year. It is a example of how medicine operates today. The patient has become the customer.

Drug companies like Pfizer use to spend a paltry sum of $8 million on research for both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. After getting a $40 billion tax cut, they dropped even that stating a lack of funds. Kudos to the Trump tax scam. Lol.

One thing that we also need is good government candidates like Dana Balter. I have talked to her and she will represent us, not the big drug and insurance companies. She supports a single-payer plan that would go along way in getting better care for all. I have worked on our local Democratic committee since I was diagnosed with PD. It is a great way to fight PD — nothing better than purpose-driven life.

Having health insurance doesn't always equate to getting good care. In my case I have two full plans, one through my federal retirement and the other full VA care. But I still can't get good care. As bothersome my PD can be I know many others who are far worse off and need a better system. Many are moved into facilities far too soon. For me I doubt it will ever happen.

The bright side of all this I have found developing a will-driven approach has been my lifesaver. Thinking about others first keeps the PD blues away.

If you want to do something that will help more than anything, get involved in your community and work for a better tomorrow for all of us.

John Hoefen

Marion

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