125. New week new symptom

‘Cynthia was drooling over the rugged be-leatheretted motor bike delivery guy.’

There are two dictionary definitions of drooling and I wager that most of you (I am required to say ‘most’ as there will always be ‘one’) will be imagining Cynthia lusting after him and not dribbling on him. 

 ‘… with great pleasure, perhaps in an exaggerated or ridiculous way’



‘ … with saliva drops slowly from their mouth.’


You might ask ‘what the flip is ‘she’ on about now.   Where ‘she’ is me, a person with Young Onset Parkinson’s disease.

So I’ll write it quickly …

drooling is one of my new Parkinson’s symptoms.

So what’s ‘Cynthia’ got to do with it?

Well, in an attempt to keep your interest  I am continually trying to jazz up Disease. But as things progress it is getting more difficult. In the early days twas simply, the (yawn) ole classic ‘Parkinson’s diagnosis? Career change to cocktail waiter or shaker maker tester’.

If I’d put  sialorrhea (medical word for drooling) as the main heading, then drooling at the top underlined in bold would you have read any further?  Most of you wouldn’t (I know ‘one’ of you would).

But jazzing up drooling … it’s not great.

Okay enough ‘jazzing’ lets ‘cut to the chase’ *

  • This phrase apparently originates from the days of silent films when the audience would shout out ‘cut to the chase’, ie the end exciting sequence of the film, often the chase, and cut out the long winding story. get straight to the point.’

Drooling, a word I usually associate with slobbery dogs is now being assigned to me (rude).

I understand when selecting a dog breed, you can now type in your specific requirements; so, for example, non shedding, non drooling, sociable.

Different when picking a friend  …

Now I only shed a little, I am sociable and but now apparently I occasionally drool.

Not befitting a fifty two year old ‘young lady’.

Confused?  Let’s go back in time and I’ll tell you how it started…

The other week, I suddenly found saliva dripping from my mouth. and leaking out of the sides of my mouth (sorry).

Oh flip. 

Now I had ‘read’ through the grapevine that drooling could be a PD symptom.

My reaction? In my mind I imagined making a papier-mâché head of myself (bear with me).    Then I imagined, due to travel restrictions due to lockdown. that I googled, ordered and obtained delivery of a sand pit and plunged my papier-mâché head into it (not to be recommended, hence the much safer papier-mâché.  NB I made it doubly safe by making it imaginary).  

It would have been quicker, safer and cheaper, rather than ‘burying my (imaginary papier-mâché) head in the (imaginary) sand’,to have asked my medical professional.  

This was worrying me and delaying talking about this new worry achieved nothing.   In my experience the worry wouldn’t just go away.

Then I read the other day via social media that the EPDA (European Parkinson’s Disease Association) were doing a survey on drooling and Parkinson’s — I realised that the grapevine must be true.

So, if I am going to write about this then, with my grown up fedora on, I thought I had better have a little peak at the EPDA site, as I knew they would give me the information in a non-scary factual way.

I was glad I did, lots of information and advice.

The drooling in PD (now bearing in mind at time of writing I have only read the first bit) is sometimes down to too much saliva (which is required for food digestion), or/and not enough swallowing to remove the saliva from the mouth.  Oh and leaky lips.

Not enough swallowing/leaky lips?  We know that PD is the breakdown of communication between brain and muscles. Swallowing and mouth operation is a combination of muscles which automatically get rid of the saliva from the mouth.

It is an automatic action like walking which my brain has decided to give up on intermittently.

Flip… so one piece of advice is to practise.  To swallow before I speak to get into the habit of swallowing.

say no more.

In fact, rather than me misleading you,  I will ‘say no more’ and leave it to the EPDA to eloquently and accurately describe and advise.  Also if you have worries then speak to your medical professionals

The ‘burying my head in the sand thing’ doesn’t stop a symptom, merely delays learning to help yourself and live with it.

So as not to go into a spiral of worry, I will think rationally.  I am taking action when my body is whispering* (we will ignore the brief ‘burying the head in-the sand’ thing, albeit imaginary) so I can start to do something about it.

  • I should explain that in my experience I find that before introducing a new symptom, PD whispers a symptom, ie it happens intermittently, I am aware of it but it happens only once in a while.  Then in time the occurrence of the symptoms appears to build up gradually to become a full bonafide symptom. 

So one two three …. swallow …. or is it a wren (sorry)

Unfortunately I cannot give you any top tips about how to manage drooling.  Neither do I have any anecdotes written with a sprinkling of humour, disguising an undertone of fed up ness.

You, much like a wildlife presenter when they first spot a ‘less spotted star jumping bird’ doing star jumps, are ‘lucky’ to be joining me on the first step of my ‘drooling journey’

Plan of action

Don’t panic … do something. Talk to someone.

Speak to your medical professional

Read …

Epda https://www.epda.eu.com/about-parkinsons/symptoms/motor-symptoms/eating-swallowing-and-saliva-control/

And complete the EPDA survey on drooling if you would like to help.  Information on this link. … https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/EPDA_sial_EN


Ps back to Cynthia.   Of course Cynthia could be carrying out both drooling dictionary definitions simultaneously…