Thursday 21st January 1993 Morning surgery 11:00

“I think I may have a smidgin of Parkinson’s.”
“Parkinson’s?”
“Yes. I know that I haven’t slowed down in general but my walking’s not as good. I’m certainly not striding out like I used to. Now and again, something comes over me and I shuffle along very quickly. I don’t seem to have any control over that. I’ve got a mild tremor. It has only affected my right hand. You’ve probably noticed that I am quite adept at supressing it.” Mrs Vaughan looked down at her hands. They were clasped together in her lap. She leaned forward, towards my Dad and whispered. “Between you and me, I have been suffering with constipation for the last few months. Before that, I was as regular as clockwork.”
“Mrs Vaughan . . .”
“My writing has become very small and untidy. It is now worse than my doctor’s.”
“I don’t think . . .”
“My sense of smell is not quite right. Looking back, that started before everything else, 4 or 5 years ago.”
“You have always suffered from sinus . . .”
Mrs Vaughan ignored my Dad again. “I have been reading about impulse control disorders.” She turned to us. “They can be caused by the treatment for Parkinson’s disease. As I’ve got older, I’ve started to gain more and more pleasure from shopping expeditions. Vera, my sister, and I love to go on a spending spree in Manchester. Of course, Vernon doesn’t approve. He has always kept a tight rein on the purse strings. We are lucky if we get away twice a year. It would be nice to have an excuse, a medical reason verified by my doctor. I am sure that I would only need the tiniest dose of dopamine.”
“Mrs Vaughan, if you did develop an impulse control disorder, it wouldn’t necessarily be a shopping addiction. You might become a compulsive gambler.”
“That would be impossible, Desmond. I hate gambling. I have never even been into a bookmakers.” Valerie Vaughan looked distastefully at my Dad, then turned to me and continued. “Before you say anything, Dennis, I don’t think I could become a sex maniac either. If I was still in my 20s, I might give Dilys a run for her money but I couldn’t do anything like that at my age. No, it would be shopping for me and maybe an extra glass of sherry on a Friday evening.”

Impulse control disorders.