Dad and I visited his neurologist three weeks ago, and I came away from that visit hoping we didn’t end up in jail for the journey we were about to take.
Dad has Parkinson’s, and his tremors are becoming more pronounced. He’s always looking for the magic pill that will halt this disease and also make him 25 years old again. I’m the realist, and I keep telling him things like “we all get older, Dad. We all decline. You have to come to terms with your limitations.” He never concurs.
When Dr. Neurologist (not revealing his name, in case we end up in legal trouble) shared with us that he’d been doing research and wanted to suggest to Dad a new treatment, Dad was all aflutter.
Dr. N. started out by saying this natural supplement is controversial, and it’s unfortunate that it has been hijacked and abused by the public, when it really is a wonderful treatment for cancer patients, pain control and tremors.
I began to get a feeling where he was headed, but I was kind of hoping he would surprise me.
He didn’t. When he said “medical cannabis,” I had to fight a smile. Oh. My. Gosh.
Dr. N. added immediately that he does not condone cannabis for recreational use, as it harms the brain. The medicinal cannabis comes from a purified compound (called CBD) in the hemp plant that is then diluted in olive oil. No smoking needed.
I asked him if insurance covered it, and he replied, “no, because it’s illegal.”
My thoughts ran amok. Where do we buy an illegal substance? How can we even be talking about this? I looked at Dad, who calmly said, “Where do we get it?”
Dr. N. kept talking. “Smoke shops sell it. I can’t get it for you, but you can purchase it yourself. It comes in a dropper bottle and you take three drops in the morning and three drops at night. It works on the nervous system, calms everything down.” He looked directly at me and added, “the more I read about it, the more I thought of your dad. I think he’s a perfect candidate.”
“Uh-huh,” I said, mind still spinning.
Dr. N. continued. “Medical cannabis is very safe. My mother takes it for pain. I wouldn’t give it to her, if I didn’t believe that.”
“Does your mother live here?” I asked.
“No,” he replied. “She’s in Columbia (his native country). It’s legal there.” He chuckled a bit. “When I visit, my brother urges me to take bottles home with me for my patients, but I tell him I can’t bring that into the U.S. I’d be arrested.”
I looked at Dad, who’s sold. I’m the only one in room who is torn between laughing out loud and changing doctors.
“How much is this stuff?” I asked.
“I have a patient who found a bottle for $30.” He pulled out his phone and scrolled through images. He handed me his phone, and I looked at a small, dark dropper bottle that looked like a bottle of essential oil. Small enough to hide behind the Ensure drinks on the bathroom shelf.
Because Dad was on board, I told Dr. N. we’d try to find some. He told me to call him if we needed any further guidance. I wondered if he’d post bail money.
On the ride home, I asked Dad how he felt about using marijuana.
“I don’t care what it is,” he said. “If it gets rid of this tremor.”
“I’m a little nervous about it,” I admitted. “I don’t think Brookdale (his ALF) will give it to you with your other meds, so we’ll have to handle it ourselves.”
He nodded. “We shouldn’t even tell ’em we have it.”
And so it begins. The sneaking around, the hiding, the BIG secret.
I can’t believe we’re gonna do this.
Part two coming up: on the hunt for CBD oil…(I think I’ve lost my mind.)