Struggling with Parkinson’s, 49-y-o crawls and rolls home daily
For 15 years, a once-hearty west-rural St Andrew man has had a major challenge walking, the victim of a neurological dysfunction since diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease.
Anthony ‘Bradley’ Shaw, 49, struggles daily to move around, his illness placing him at risk outdoors and rendering him unable to work. Even with the help of a walking stick, a short journey that usually takes five minutes from his home in Stony Hill to the community square now runs him a staggering half-hour.
An enthused tiler by profession, the one-time biker and stuntman is a shadow of his former bravado.
Shaw, who is speech impaired because of his condition, said he first discovered signs of neurological degeneration almost two decades ago.
“I just find myself a shake so, but it did stop. My hands was shaking and I did an MRI, but they said I was too young to have this disease,” he told The Gleaner.
Not convinced that he was sufficiently well, Shaw said that he sought an alternative medical opinion, going from doctor to doctor and popping pills to calm his nerves.
According to Shaw, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s during a visit to the Kingston Public Hospital and has been taking medication, which he struggles to buy.
Ten thousand dollars’ worth gives him a month’s supply.
Although unemployment in Jamaica is at a record-low 7.2 per cent, Shaw bemoaned that he was unable to fulfil his passion as a tiler because no one was willing to hire him.
“Nobody wants to give me work because dem nuh want me drop down on the work, and they can’t supervise me. They sorry for me and just give me the money fi buy a food, or I just get a $1,000 or a $500. I don’t like to be begging,” Shaw told The Gleaner.
The Stony Hill resident laments his daily struggle, which, he said, was made worse by jokes made by his family about his disorder.
“To get to my house, I have to crawl go down the hillside, roll until I come to a stop. When mi coming up, I am on my knees. Church pray for me and some people recommend I use ganja. I don’t think that can work ‘cause I don’t want to start and can’t stop (smoking).”
Shaw is seeking assistance with medication and is also considering having a re-examination of his illness.
“Mi confuse, and it starting to affect me mentally. I just need the help really bad,” he said.
He said that he was fearful that his life was in danger of harm from incoming traffic. He also worries that motorists might be held liable.
“Dem tell me say is just a little shivering and it will go away. A next doctor in Portmore said no, it’s not just shivering.
“I got a referral to go to Public now and do the MRI again and then they said something wrong,” he said, referring to KPH.
What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson’s disease affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Parkinson’s disease symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait. After diagnosis, treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure.