To be honest, Parkinson’s Disease (PD) isn’t something I’d given much thought about until now. I guess I thought it was a bit like Alzheimer’s and something which affected the elderly. Of course, Terry Pratchett changed everyone’s perception of Alzheimer’s when he was diagnosed with an early-onset form of the disease.
Terry was the subject of our email newsletter in July 2008 and you can read about his achievements and challenges in our newsletter article.
More recently, I had the privilege of entering into email correspondence with Dr Jon Prinz, a top food scientist (he’s even worked with Heston Blumenthal!) and a serial expat. He’s a fascinating man and I was delighted when he agreed to be interviewed by me. I imagined we could talk about life as an expat or about food science (for our sister site Not Delia), the possibilities were endless. What I didn’t expect was for him to tell me he had Parkinson’s Disease and that that was what he wanted to talk about in our interview.
PD? Time for me to do some homework! The first stop, naturally, was Jon’s own blog, PD Unplugged. In this excellent blog, which he co-writes with his wife Marie, they talk about life with PD. In their own words:
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is many things. They say that when you’ve seen one case, you’ve seen one case. This is Jon’s case, for what it’s worth. We call this PD unplugged because we will tell the truth about Parkinson’s – uncut, unadorned, unplugged – without that pluckiness in the face of adversity that you often get when people write about chronic illness. Read about the moves and shakes, drugs and doctors, hopes and fears, tricks and traps, successes and failures of life in the shadow of PD.
I highly recommend this blog as entertaining reading as well as a source of an incredible amount of information. They tell it like it is and no subject is too delicate to mention. Despite the seriousness of the subject they’re writing about, Jon and Marie’s wit and humour shine through. I defy you to read the blog and not get a few laughs out of it.
But PD’s not a laughing matter. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition and there is currently no cure, although there are a range of medical treatments to control the symptoms and maintain the quality of life. There’s a vast amount of information on the Parkinson’s UK site, where you can download free publications, join in their forum, get advice, or learn how you can support the cause. I urge you to go and have a look. Meanwhile, I’d better get back to doing my homework so I can make the most of my opportunity to interview Dr Prinz.