Houston TV reporter's battle

April 17, 2009 11:03:05 AM PDT
It was a difficult decision for former Houston TV reporter Dan Lauck to retire early. But the progression of his Parkinson's disease left him little choice. One year later, Lauck is still battling Parkinson's. How is he doing? "I take 10 medications. I was taking 13 at one point," said Lauck.

Most are for the Parkinson's that forced Lauck to retire early.

"The medications can really throw you for a loop," he said.

His daughter, Courtney, shot some video after Lauck took a new medicine that made him disoriented.

"I ended up saying, 'You just run over the bushes and get out of town' and I have no idea what that meant," said Lauck.

"I didn't think one medication could have such a dramatic effect on one's mental acuity," said his wife, Meg Lauck.

He stopped that medicine, but the whole family has been impacted by the Parkinson's, especially his wife, Meg. Dan met Meg when she worked at ABC sports. They are about to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

"They're sick of me," said Lauck.

"Are you sick of him?" we asked Meg.

"I have to say when he retired, when every wife goes through this, I married you for better or for worse, but not for lunch!" she laughed.

Lauck worked in TV for 20 years. Before that, he wrote for the Washington Post and Newsday. He had worked with Parkinson's for seven years, but it became more and more difficult.

"I have Parkinson's in my right hand and essential tremor in my left, which makes a race to see which hand can shake the fastest under stress," said Lauck.

He stayed exhausted, sometimes too tired to get out of the car at night.

"It reached a point where when he finally made the decision," said Meg. "We were both so relieved."

An unexpected benefit of retirement has been more time for Courtney. Lauck was a volunteer coach for her high school basketball team.

"I have so much more time with him and it's great," said Courtney.

Physically, he's coping better after work stress was reduced. His symptoms continue, but with the support of his family, Lauck is making the most of each day.

They're active in the Houston-area Parkinson's Society, which helps support Parkinson's patients and their families.

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Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter

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