Parkinson

Bloody Parkinsons: COMBATING PARKINSON’S: BY LEARNING FRENCH

My name is Peter Jackson and in June 2013 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, or Bloody Parkinson’s as I call it. And in case you hadn’t noticed, Bloody Parkinson’s is also the name of this blog. Note too that the opinions are all mine and therefore not entirely reliable. 


Parkinson’s attacks the central nervous system, reducing the brain’s ability to control movement. PD is something most of us have heard of: associated with tremors and stiffness, incurable and crippling with lots to look forward to, like blindness, deafness, squeaky voice, choking and a wheelchair (actually, haha, it’s not as bad as all that!).

However, there is also a risk that my cognitive and memory functions will deteriorate as PD progresses; so you have to use these functions and stretch them, just as muscles need a stretch too. 

PD is like experiencing an accelerated old age. So with the support of wife and family I drew up a strategy to fight back at this shadowy enemy. Monday became fitness boot camp and a pub quiz, Wednesday Tai Chi and the pub old curmudgeons’ debating or grumbling society, Thursday circuit training, Friday swimming. Saturday and Sunday take care of themselves! Which still left a gap in the week to fit in a brain stretching activity on Tuesdays – advancing rusty school French so that I could go beyond ‘deux bieres, s’il vous plait’.

On the phone the local college reassured me that French 3 was about right for me, but that I could adjust up or down when I’d attended a session or two. What can I say but that classes have far exceeded my expectations. The teaching is amazingly good: effective, lively and fun. The class comprises an eclectic mix of friendly, funny people with a wide spread of backgrounds. My French has improved in leaps and bounds. And by the way, I can now order (but not carry) three beers in French!

I may yet renovate my remaining brain cell….

MEANWHILE AT THE PUB

At the pub last night we talked of many things, most of which I forget. But what made it memorable was the train crash which occurred at around 8pm. Not a real train crash, but there is a model train that ‘flies’ round a rail circuit above the drinkers’ heads in the main bar. The engine for once, tired of circling the hubbub, continued round and round as its only carriage was thrown out into thin air, narrowly avoiding the heads of the throng of drinkers, some of whom required another drink to aid recovery.

I’m not sure what Health and Safety would say, but for the rest of the evening the little engine steamed round the track unencumbered by his carriage and the throng went back to their beer, still muttering.


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