Today was the May Day public holiday in the UK and my son, daughter-in-law and grandson came for lunch and stayed for nearly 6 hours. Usually 6 hours would be way past my limit for any form of social interaction without at least one, if not two, lengthy periods of bed rest. Amazingly my grandson exerts a power over my Parkinson’s symptoms that no one else, or no other event or medication, can achieve. I did take an hour’s rest prior to their arrival and immediately after their departure but I still think it is remarkable how, more often than not, he keeps my fatigue attacks at bay during his visits. Despite several lively games of bagatelle with him, played on a board that I was given as a Christmas present over 50 years ago, Parkinson’s disease did not rule the roost this afternoon. I have to confess that I now feel every bit a PD veteran of 10 years as I attempt to write this blog a couple of hours after my grandson has left, but for 6 lovely hours today I was the boss and not PD. My grandson is 3 years old next month and he is a very bright lad who is full of questions, full of non-stop activity and generally full of the joys of life. Combine that with the natural euphoria of being a grandparent and you get a mixture that just cannot be matched by any therapy or medication. However, just in case that is a highly emotional and unrealistic response, I did take my usual medication too!
We have been studying the poems of Thomas Hardy on my BA course at college for the past 3 months. In a week’s time we have a 2 hour exam to sit during which we have to write an essay answering an unseen question about 6 of his poems. Hardy was a deep, reflective soul who wrote a lot about his past and often had a negative view of the present. My daily dose of revision for the exam has not surprisingly dragged me into similar reflections about my past life without PD. I do not think it is such a bad thing to look back at particularly happy periods in our past as long as we do not wallow in self-pity with respect to our lives with PD. Anyway, my grandson provided a wonderful piece of counter-balance to my Hardy-induced journey down memory lane. His life lies ahead of him with a world to discover and savour – a statement of the obvious I know but a lovely refreshing thought that gave me much joy to contemplate.
A popular music group called ‘Everything but the Girl’, who enjoyed a fair bit of success in the 90s, wrote, recorded and performed some quite delightful songs. One of my favourites is called ‘These early Days’ and is sung by Tracy Thorn who has an amazing voice. A line from the song goes:
‘You are only two
And the whole wide world revolves around you
Nothing’s happened yet
That you might ever wish to forget
It doesn’t stay that way
If I could I’d make it stay that way
These early days
It has generally been a reasonably good week for me. Apart from my son and grandson visiting, I also had lunch with my other son at our local golf club and some dental treatment that wasn’t half as bad as I feared it would be. However, the highlight of the week has to be the long overdue return to the podium for our weekly pub quiz team. Yes, after two barren months, we managed to sneak a win again this week. Only by two points but a win is a win!
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in February 2004 at the age of 51 having experienced undiagnosed symptoms for at least 4 years prior to that. My wife and I have five adult children and three grandchildren. We are fortunate in that we live in a lovely rural part of the east of England, with King’s Forest situated nearby for my much needed, therapeutic dog walks. I spent most of my working life involved in electronic, mechanical manufacturing management within the Worldwide Broadcasting industry and I am extremely lucky to have travelled extensively through my work. Since I was diagnosed I have dedicated much of my time to researching all aspects of PD and trying to both support others with this illness and raise the profile of PD. As well as writing a blog on this website, I administer an internet patient forum for people with PD which I set up in September 2008 and it currently has over 150 members. I also administer the forum’s Facebook, Friends Reunited and Twitter pages. My younger son recently ran in a half marathon race to raise funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. I am currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English and History as a mature student.