By Judy Hazlett
I’m privileged to know Dr. Fahn as a compassionate physician, one who has treated me as a patient with respect and understanding. Dr. Fahn diagnosed me with Parkinson’s disease 31 years ago almost to the day, so we’ve known each other a long time. No matter how bizarre my behaviours became with Parkinson’s, Dr. Fahn has always been calm and unfazed.
For example, I remember one time I was being examined by a resident who wasn’t very comfortable with my violent dyskinesias. Dr. Fahn came in, sat down and calmly said, “Oh, you’re moving a lot today.” By relating to me as a person rather than dealing only with Parkinson’s he made me comfortable. I was able to relax and confide in him and get the care that I needed.
Another time, I was under a table, immobile, and Dr. Fahn came in the room and he looked at me under the table and got down and knelt beside me. I was amazed and he talked with me, so Dr. Fahn is a down-to-earth man.
Dr. Fahn has devoted his career to improving the plight of people living with this debilitating condition. He has given countless hours to observing and caring for us with compassion and hard work. His participation in the frontiers of Parkinson’s research has always added validity to his advice.
Personally, Dr. Fahn has always seemed to have all the time in the world for me. He’s been extremely curious about how I’ve been, about changes in my condition. Being the scientist that he is, he has insisted that information be gathered consistently and in the proper format. He asks about how I’m doing and about Roger, my husband. He has encouraged me to continue activities which I love, for as long as possible.
Never has he sugar-coated the difficulties which lie ahead, yet he has generally given me hope that a cure or, at least, a new treatment may be on the horizon. He has shared ideas that are taking shape and progress that is being made in research and reports on patients who are doing well.
I have always left my appointments with Dr. Fahn feeling encouraged and renewed. Once when I was really slow and couldn’t walk, he asked me if I would like to run. I said, yes. I ran down the hall and ran back to him. He asked me, “How does that feel?” I scared the whole waiting room myself, by resounding, “Wonderful!” There was a glint in his eye and a big grin on his face. Above all else, he has understood my need to move.
Dr. Fahn has been a remarkable partner, supporting me in facing the challenges of living with Parkinson’s. He has fundamentally bettered my life. Thank you Dr. Fahn.