Parkinson’s Specialist Nurses are highly trained and experienced nurses based in communities of need. They are dedicated to supporting local people living with Parkinson’s.
These Nurses are funded 50/50 by Parkinson’s NSW and the Local Health District in which they are based. This series of articles invites clients to talk about the value of Nurses to their local Parkinson’s community.
Peter and Lenore Dawson – Supported by Nina Digiglio
Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse Nina Digiglio was the key to Peter and Lenore Dawson being able to find the right specialist to deal with Peter’s unexpected diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
Almost two years ago the couple were living on acreage outside of Berry, in the Shoalhaven region of the South Coast.
“It was the evening of New Year’s Day and my heart began to race,” recalls Peter,
Lenore called an ambulance and Peter spent the night in hospital. They then saw a series of neurologists, and Parkinson’s was the eventual diagnosis.
“My specialist was at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, which was a long way for us to drive,” says Peter, a retired special-needs teacher.
“Fortunately, I happened to run into the mother of a child I once taught. Sadly, she also has Parkinson’s, but she asked if I knew about the Parkinson’s Specialist Nurses. I didn’t, but finding Nina was the start of being able to come to grips with Parkinson’s.”
Nina arranged for Peter to see a neurologist at Wollongong, who put Peter on a new medication. She has since been a much-appreciated source of knowledge, support and encouragement for both Peter and Lenore.
“She will come out and see Peter if needed, and she always gets back to you on the same day if you phone her up about anything,” says Lenore.
“Even if I’m confused about something the specialist has told Peter I can ask Nina and she knows the answer.”
“When you first get Parkinson’s, you don’t know anything about it really,” says Peter.
“Nina has so many different contacts for anything you might need. She’s also a wonderful support to the spouse of the person with Parkinson’s. The carer needs support as well or it all falls apart.
“We have moved into Berry now and we are still adjusting to traffic and neighbours, but we wanted to do it while we still had some independence. Anxiety can be a big problem with Parkinson’s, but Nina helps us both deal with all the changes.
“Parkinson’s came on very suddenly for me and I’ve never been the same since that night my heart started racing.
But we are very, very happy with the support and assistance Nina has provided us. She’s very caring and you can tell she cares.”
Parkinson’s NSW specialist Nurses can be contacted via the
InfoLine by calling 1800 644 189