Einstein, it took parkinson’s to understand you


For some reason, the thought of losing my freedom of movement fills me with particular dread. Why, I can’t quite put my finger on. When I try to imagine it, I picture myself in a room clad with dated wallpaper, sitting in a grimy chair with a not-so-fresh glass of water. With a straw. And, I’m waiting you see, just waiting.

Parkinson’s is gnawing away at my freedom of movement, slowly but certainly. I don’t have a fractured leg, a broken back or something so severe that it’s brought me to a sudden standstill. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have time to be afraid. But, since I have that luxury of time, I’ve got time to think.


My hands are my favourite hands. I’ve had them almost 50 years. Once, when I was tiny (1 year old), I trapped a tiny finger in a door. I lost the tip of that finger. It’s now the finger I love most. The other nine are great too, incidentally. And, what don’t you need your hands for! Kneading bread, dangling from a strap in the Tokyo metro, planting carrot seeds, having your groom slip on your wedding ring and holding our new-born children close. I think that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done with my hands. And comforting our children, cuddling them, feeding them, everything. Your hands are very much a part of you. Then, as parkinson’s sets in, my hands lose their wonderful fine dexterity. Terrible. Sometimes I feel sorry for my hands, sometimes for myself, and sometimes I just think, okay, I’ll get round it another way. My hands are losing their freedom of movement. How can I even begin to imagine what it’s like having to wait for my hands to do what I gently asked them to do?


Both feet on the ground. Yes, would love that. Your feet take you everywhere, albeit with the help of an accelerator or bike pedal. But they get you there in the end. Young feet sometimes try walking in platforms or high heels. It was always a no go for me, literally. Your feet are a long way from your brain, so I do understand why my foot now makes that occasional little shuffle. But imagine if… how would I…? No! Then I’ll come up with an alternative solution, because where there’s a will… but no feet? Well, I’ll just have to think of something. But still, you don’t want to have to consider waiting for someone else’s feet to show up, when there’s no end to waiting on your own.


Ah. These carry you, on those same trusty feet, the world over. Tirelessly. You’ve even been known to strap on two, long thin boards to the end of them and go careering down a mountainside. A lot of fun, I admit, arguably some of the best fun I ever had. Zig zag zig zagging your way down. Then cramp in your feet from those ridiculous boots, back in the ski lift and down you go again. These days, I’m the board. Okay, I’m exaggerating. I love exaggerating.


This is where all that loss of movement stems from. Something, somewhere in those two small cashew nuts that produce dopamine, something is silently giving up the ghost. Does this mean that I’m going to have to start waiting on my very own thoughts? As my internal brain traffic starts to slow down? I’m not going to sit around waiting for that! No, I need to move now. Regardless of what it might throw at you, you’ve simply got to keep moving. So, if your feet start to move a little less than before, your legs might have to work a little harder. If your feet, legs, and hands all move a little less than before, your brain will have to take up the slack. No matter what, you’ve got to keep moving in the right direction. Brave. Cheerful. Losing your freedom of motion isn’t pleasant, but I try not to dwell on it. I try not to sit and wait for it to happen.

The quantity of movement is always the same

Ah! Einstein. He was the one who figured out about the quantity of movement, devised a formula for it, rather a famous formula. And today, while writing this blog, today is the first time I really understand what you meant, dear Einstein. It’s surprisingly similar to my personal theory on the Amount of Movement in the world. I suspect, no, I almost know, that there’s a definitive, gigantic amount of Movement allocated to the world, a sort of extra dimension. The only thing is: the distribution isn’t quite right yet. Sort out the distribution, and that Loss of Movement will begin to make a move. Until they (‘they’) come up with a new formula, something like Einstein Brain + Loss of Movement = Cure. Come on, dear researchers, get your brains together and keep moving. Please…