Bloody Parkinsons: HOW ABOUT JENGA?

This dog is my latest subscriber / reader and is an Australian cross breed called Buzz, friend of Sissie and Jack. He doesn’t know I’ve got Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Symptoms are movement-related, including shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait. Later, cognitive and behavioural problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease.


A tremor is an involuntary shaking movement in a part of your body, such as your hand. There are many different causes of tremor, but the most common type is an ‘essential tremor’. This is most noticeable when you’re moving. A Parkinson’s tremor is more likely to be a ‘resting tremor’, which happens when your body is relaxed. Anxiety or stress can make a tremor worse, so it’s important to find ways to relax.

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I’ve still got PD! But I keep trying to fight it off and have recently tried singing lessons, sort of; of which more in a week or two. But in the meantime the excellent speech therapist has suggested crosswords, Sudoku, and quizzes as ways to keep the old brain cell active. Which is where Jenga, or the Tumbling Tower game, comes in. Physical dexterity combined with use of the brain.

We were at a family wedding drinking into the early hours (I’d retired to bed) and a group of my relatives were playing Jenga when a young man, a stranger, joined them and played with what he jokingly described as PD. It was generally deemed best not to correct him since I wasn’t actually present. However, it is interesting to speculate how I’d have felt or whether I would have said anything. Funny isn’t it, that I myself moan about having PD, yet joke about the shake in my right hand.

Well the next day the family played Jenga in a pub and I had a bash, with the rules amended to allow me to use two hands, while the others used one hand only. And although I lost (fifth of five) I coped all right to my own surprise. Which is where the resting tremor comes in. My hand tends to shake when it has no task to undertake. Pardon the pun but with a task to fulfill it doesn’t shake, it rests. I guess that I’d win a small victory if I could only give it a continuous task that I could fob it off with.

Sitting in the cinema watching the amazing film Carol my right hand jitter bugs more or less continuously. I can suppress the jitters by placing my hand under my left arm pit, squeezing a rubber ball, sitting on my hand or simply by moving positions, but nothing lasts! Not until my wife sits on my hand which controls me for longer. It helps if the film is as good as Carol. It also helps if the bottom is as appealing as Mrs Jackson’s.

Incidentally, I shake when Mrs J comes close to me or when I meet strangers. Guilt?


The old curmudgeons were joined by a guest French curmudgeon who, referring to the French regional elections, seemed to have some sympathy for various Le Pen family members. Takes all sorts I guess.

Other topics: children, weddings, Scottish independence, Thailand, Seb Coe and Nike, the spending review, M. Hollande, beer quality, customer service, tumble dryers. The usual stuff.

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