CARSON AND HIS SHAKY PAWS GRAMPA
(Book 1 in the Shaky Paws Grampa Series)
Carson and His Shaky Paws Grampa, the first book in the Shaky Paws Grampa series, is a story about the relationship and love between a grandfather who has Parkinson's Disease / Essential Tremor and his seven-year-old grandson. The story is designed to help parents and grandparents comfortably talk about the initial symptoms of Parkinson's and address common questions and concerns children may express.
Carson and His Shaky Paws Grampa was conceived and written by Kirk Hall and illustrated by Alison Paolini, PD patients who also are parents and grandparents. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to support Parkinson's and Essential Tremor research and awareness.
“Wonderful story. So warm, thoughtful, and heartfelt. Loved it! A must read for anyone with ET or PD.”
Catherine S. Rice - Executive Director
International Essential Tremor Foundation
“…a charming story that provides helpful guidance to PD patients for answering their grandchildren’s innocent questions.”
Margaret Anne Coles - Program Manager
Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center/Barrow Neurological Institute
“…a fabulous book with remarkable illustrations.”
Cheryl Siefert - Executive Director
Parkinson Association of the Rockies
“Great story that touches on DBS surgery and its dramatic positive effects.”
Ben Petrick - former Rockies/Tigers baseball player
Parkinson’s patient who has had DBS surgery
“…demystifies Parkinson’s for the youngsters in your family.”
Joel Havemann - retired Los Angeles Times editor
Author of A Life Shaken: My Encounter with Parkinson’s Disease
About the Author:
Kirk "Shaky Paws" Hall lives in Colorado with his wife of 42 years, Linda. Their two sons and their families live nearby. He was diagnosed with ET in 1991 and PD in 2008 and had successful DBS surgery for tremor stemming from both conditions in 2011. Kirk has participated in a variety of clinical research studies at the University of Colorado hospital and the National Institute of Health in Bethesda. Kirk and Linda are active members in the Parkinson's Association of the Rockies.
He is also a member of TeamFox. Their active lifestyle includes skiing, camping, hiking, golf, tennis, workouts at the local recreation center, bike riding, babysitting, watching grandkids play sports and more. They are also involved in the life of their church where Kirk is a member of the choir. He recently tried zip-lining in Costa Rica and loved it!
About the Illustrator:
Alison Paolini lives in Northern California where she enjoys a multitude of creative activities.
Alison is a published illustrator and poet. She studied acting and set design in New York and fine art with illustration at California State University at Northridge. She also taught "Drawing On Your Imagination" for eight years at The Paradise Art Center and shows her work at local art galleries.
Alison was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1999 and believes firmly that staying creatively active is crucial in coping with the disease. She is an active member of the Parkinson's Association of Northern California. She and her husband have two children and three grandchildren. They have enjoyed living in and visiting many parts of the world.
With Many Thanks to the Essential Tremor & Parkinson's Communities for Their Tireless Research, Treatment, Support Groups, Donations, and More:
10. For a referral to a movement disorder specialist in your area:
The Movement Disorder Society
As adults, it is not easy to decide what to tell your children or grandchildren regarding serious illness in the family. Not telling them anything may be a mistake. Children are very intuitive and often pick up on signals that something is wrong. So if we say nothing, they might ask before we have decided what to share, or they may not say anything and imagine the worst. On the other hand, telling them too much can be confusing or frightening. As parents and grandparents, you know your children and grandchildren best and are best equipped to decide what to tell them in these situations. My hope is that reading this book together with your child will provide a natural opportunity for you to broach these subjects.
My approach was to try to keep it as light as possible and to use terminology that my young grandson could understand without causing undue concern. For him, the most obvious symptom of my disease was my shaky hands. So when Carson asked why my hands shook, I just said that I have "shaky paws". He seemed to accept that, at least for the time being.
When the decision was made to proceed with deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery to eliminate the shakiness, I talked to my son about telling Carson. I decided to share with my grandson that I was excited because the doctors were going to give me a "special procedure" so I wouldn't shake any more. With this information, Carson was aware and knew that I felt good about it.
For now, I think he knows as much as he needs to know. Although DBS is not a cure (there isn't a cure at this time), it should effectively eliminate my shakiness for years to come. By the time Carson is older, other symptoms may become noticeable. At that time, I will share more with him.
Finally, I am open about my faith and how it helps me. By doing this, I am able to share the miraculous gift with which we have all been blessed. Here is the prayer to which I refer in the book and that I wrote for our Easter family dinner:
Thank You for the gifts of hope and blessed assurance that we are reminded of on this day. As I sat with the church choir this morning, it seemed to me that perhaps it was not coincidental that I was feeling "reborn" in a way as I start a new chapter in my life. Thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on this family. Thank You for the knowledge that we can live life to the fullest, without fear, simply by placing our lives in Your hands.