Like everyone else I have wondered if this is necessary. Promoting mens health, well I just take a look around the office I work in, to see a bunch of the healthiest fittest men you could imagine. Looking around more closely I had a revelation”Oh my god. I need new glasses” So after having been to Specsavers I had another look and admit some of us are more prone to athletes foot than taking exercise. So I investigated further and found the aims of International Mens Day all worthy and as well as improving health there are promoting male role models and improving gender relations.
A message went out in my workplace that this year we would celebrate it. So I put aside my usual rule of not volunteering and offered my services. I was congratulated on being the first volunteer and as the cogs slowly aligned in my head I realised I was the only volunteer. After contributing ideas about a quiz sheet and nominating colleagues as role models I agreed to be one of the speakers or what would later become the only speaker.
I produced a wordsearch with words linking to Mens Health and provided a copy of the Michael J Fox book Lucky man as a prize. Chosen as he can be regarded as a role model and the book is inspiring. I also prepared my talk. So I wrote my story . I am not saying I had the answers for anyone else but if I accidentally include anything useful then that was a bonus.
I detailed the past twenty or so years where as well as my job and family reponsibilities I also had ten years as a school governor, twenty year serving the local Civil Service Sports and Leisure Committee, a spell as a Union Rep and plenty of fund raising. This done whilst at times life throwed challenges at me. Including my diagnosis of Parkinson’s and the breakup of my marriage.
In the next few years after my diagnosis I faced my condition and raised about £8000, placed a couple of dozen articles in the local papers, and ran activities for others with Parkinsons. I was even in contact with the marketing manager for Parkinsons UK and was able to get my voice heard when campaigns were in the formative stage.The keys to my success confidence, communication and co-operation. My apologies as that was not a planned 3 C moment but is pure coincidence. A different 3Cs being a management tool in my office.
My successes all had help and support from friends and colleagues but without my own self belief would not have happened.
As I have already said life throws challenges at you and in 2013 it became apparent something was wrong between Liz and I and we separated. I was unprepared for this but managed to cope but needed the support of friends. Rebecca and Mandy colleagues were particularly important. We both have new partners now but we separated with the children remaining loyal, understanding and loving to the both of us. I have discovered that society is biased against fathers during separation but have not suffered for it. This is largely due to Liz who accepts my love of the children is as important as hers. We truly share parenting and although society expects conflict we trust each other and the children benefit and trust us as well. We will divorce but we will work together to ensure the best overall outcome.
I am still here in my after 23 years and I have many bosses and colleagues that I owe thanks. I need to highlight one in particular. Avril who was my manager when I fell apart after the separation. She was very patient and allowed me time but when I needed it encouraged and pushed. Her faith in me made a difference and allowed me to recover. My managers since then Jackie, Paul and now Shaun have all been supportive.
So here I am writing for International Mens Day without a rhyme in sight. Everything I have achieved has benefited from others help, from listening and from my own self belief so I give you three words:-. Confidence, Comunication, Co-operation.
My talk was successful and gave me a boost. It showed I am still respected and I have experience and talents that are valued. I have Parkinson’s but I still have much to offer. International Mens Day won’t reach most that need it but will reach some. Addressing male issues is not a threat but just common sense.
In my new blog i will be considering tips for people with Parkinson’s
1) Pee before cleaning bathroom. This is because of the need to wash your hands before handling personal sensitive bodyparts. Some of those with bladder urgency will know what happens when you run a tap.
2)Dont hold a conversation while walking with a cup of tea
3)When using a hammer dont hold the nail with your shaking hand you might hit your fingers. Actually don’t hold the hammer with your shaky hand you kmight hit your other hand not just the fingers. Forget that and just get a nail gun.
Although this is a Parkinson’s blog I cannot read the news without reaction and I find it easier to be coherent in poetry form. For all those who lost a loved one in France my heart is with you.
My first blog which I guess was inevitable and surprising it has taken so long. This will be a personal and Parkinson’s blog . It may feature some poetry as well as prose. I am going to start with a question.
Do you feel lucky?
Thats a question for those with Parkinson’s. I am not asking if you feel lucky to have Parkinson’s but whether you you feel lucky to have a condition although misunderstood by many, that is very common. There is strength in numbers and the possibility to be part of a community. There is money for research and here in the UK specialist nurses to help support us.
Other rare conditions don’t have this. facility so you have a choice you can try a consultant usually unable to discuss practical solutions to symptoms or advice from a GP who wants to refer any potential problem linked to the conditon back to the consultant.
Other factors we have a recognised condition when filling in benefit claims and a charity will support us through appeals. A charity that lobbies the politicians.
Why am I thinking about this? I know people with rare autoimmmune conditions who don’t get the support we do. One of those people is my stepdaughter. There is always someone worse off than you. Bye for now