But that’s not why I mention the dog – it’s because she has eaten one of the gingerbread houses that was standing on the kitchen worktop. If she appreciated the length of time put into the house, surely she wouldn’t have scoffed it? And since there were two houses why did she leave the other untouched? Perhaps a cat got in through the cat flap, but we haven’t got a cat flap any more.
But let’s get back to PD…..
After diagnosis I kept my Parkinson’s secret, afraid of what people might think; and generally people fall into two or three tribes when you finally admit to the ailment:
1. Heard of it but little idea of what it is: may have some erroneous ideas eg it’s a form of dementia
2. Have an older relative who has / had it (and frequently died with it)
3. Not heard of or unclear about what it is
Now everyone I know or meet seems to know about it and has heard of it since I went public: why keep it secret when your right arm is doing its own shaky thing? Best to own up and get it out of the way.
People do ask how I am and I tend to answer that ‘I’m fine’ which wards off further probes in the main.
But some people give helpful advice the latest of which is to try drugs. At a dinner party I was beset by two (inebriated) guests who insisted that drugs would make me feel a darned sight better. So I’ve looked into it. The Observer, for example, had a lengthy article (08.11.15) entitled ‘Dreaming of the billion-dollar high: How medicinal cannabis sparked a green rush in Silicon Valley’. The main import of the story is that legislation to allow consumer use of cannabis is spreading across the US, following the legalisation of medical marijuana.
In California, for example, you can get same-day delivery (within the hour!) of medicinal marijuana and voters are to consider the legalisation of marijuana for recreational use in 2016. Marijuana is unlikely to lead to a cure for PD but it may have a prophylactic (preventative) or acute therapeutic use, for example, for migraines.
Trouble is, my middle class aversion to risk and drugs makes it sound like dangerous ground and my only experience of drugs was in about 1970 in my first London flat when I tried some weed or grass – anyway it was green and soggy – and my flatmate rolled a lump up into a cigarette paper and we smoked it and got the giggles and that’s about all we got. A strong aversion to smoking didn’t help me tune in to the drugs. In any case it could have been dandelion leaves for all I knew.
Cannabis can affect learning, memory and sometimes anxiety levels, I’ve read, so watch this space.
Anyway the chicken we cooked tasted good and certainly not of coconuts.
My friends at the pub are convinced that a good quota of real ale helps alleviate my shakes and in the Autumn edition of the research magazine of Parkinson’s UK, Progress, there is a short piece entitled ‘Can beer have benefits?’. It states:
‘…a chemical in hops…could slow or even prevent conditions like Parkinson’s. Unfortunately there’s no evidence that drinking a pint a day could prevent Parkinson’s, but this interesting finding could lead to new ideas for treatments.’
Please assume that I’m first in line for clinical trials.
And I’m up for a pint of Old Shaky when the time comes.
AT THE PUB
My friend Tony has read that red hair (his colour in youth, before becoming silvery grey) can show a leaning towards PD and is absolutely convinced that drinking beer can help ward it off.
Topics of discussion at the pub included: the Paris atrocities, of course, Bloody Sunday, Heart of Midlothian and Wojtek the bear – from Wikipedia: Wojtek 1942 1963; was a Syrian brown bear found in Iran and adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. He was later officially enlisted as a soldier of the company with the rank of Private, and subsequently became a Corporal. During the Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek helped to move crates of ammunition. The name “Wojtek” is a diminutive form of “Wojciech”, an old Slavic name that is still common in Poland today and means “he who enjoys war” or “joyful warrior”. Graham who is a Scot and Hearts supporter had attended the unveiling of a statue of Wojtek.
AT THE BATHS
The naked men discussed the bankers, the Aims market, Tony Blair and George Bush (2).
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