Staying on track

Dr Jim Wilkinson, 61, has tried to stay busy while dealing with the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease

I was first introduced to Parkinson's disease back in medical school, when we all learned about the pill-rolling tremor, the shuffling gait, apathetic face and drooling saliva.

It was many years before we met again and this time it was personal. I was 49 and an anaesthetist with a busy private practice.

My first clear symptom was a funny ache in a shoulder one night. Various analgesics, physiotherapy and even an arthroscopic debridement later, I was sent to a neurologist who made the diagnosis. It had taken two years to get an answer.

My initial symptoms had been so atypical that