Sunday 18 August 2019


There has been a long period of silence here. As mentioned in my last post, I have been experiencing difficulties in relation to my Parkinson's. Toward the end of May, through June and July until the start of August, things took a severe downward spiral. To digress a little, let me explain a few factors regarding Parkinson's. Having the disease affects people in a variety of different  ways. Some folk experience symptoms that others have very little difficulty with. It is the same regarding medication, some of us require higher and more frequent dosages than other sufferers. One common symptom is constipation. It can be severe, with all the complications that are associated with it. For me, an added problem that I have experienced for a long period of time are continuous spells of bladder infections.
That, in many respects, was the root cause of of the severe illness I recently experienced. In a nutshell, to combat the infection, I was prescribed a variety of differing antibiotics. One or two brought on a rapid negative reaction  which made me quite ill. Eventually there was a severe clash between the the high dosages of antibiotics and my regular medications. It was a frightening experience. Everything went haywire. A variety of alarming and sometimes bizarre things were experienced. At one point my whole body began twitching, convulsing with violent spasms over which I had no control. With some difficulty, I dialled the NHS non emergency number. It was surprising that the phone survived. It was dropped a few times. An added problem was that my speech was slurred and and disjointed, making it difficult to communicate with the doctor. An ambulance was sent and the paramedics promptly put me on oxygen as by then I was struggling to breath. Apparently all my vital signs where way out of kilter. Doctors were somewhat baffled. The diagnose given was a reaction due to a chest and bladder infection?
Over the next couple of months other strange things were experienced. Nightmares, hallucinations, feeling I was going be sick at any moment, with dry heaves that, at times, went on through the night and well into the next day. My balance went out of sync, totally at times. Needing some shopping, I struggled over to the local supermarket. People stared at me, obviously assuming I was drunk! Being a regular at the shop, most of the women working at the tills recognise me. Blurred speech  made thing even more difficult. One of the ladies, finally realising it was it was a Parkinson's problem not a drink one, quickly put my stuff through checkout and sorted out my cash. It would be another full week before I left the flat to try shopping once more. Again with difficulties. At one point I was really concerned that I was heading for some kind of a breakdown!
Three trips to hospital and admittance to an old folks ward (geriatric!) for a week, a review of my medications and finally an acknowledgement that one of the root causes of all this had been the antibiotics, has seen a very slow improvement in things.
Apologies if all that seemed a little long winded. Hopefully though it will clarify a little of where things are at in regards to my outdoor activities!
Just recently I finally let most of bushcraft  and wood carving stuff go. That hurt, some things were like old friends, we had done much together. Not in a Bear Grylls, madcap survival sensational sort of way. More in a Ray Mears manner of things. Going solo, spending the night in woodland under a tarp and being barked at by a Muntjac deer standing close to me. Waking up in the early hours of a winters morning in the New Forest, surrounded by sleeping and dozing ponies. Foxes walking unconcerned, past me as I sat by an old tree. Having badgers almost stumbling over me as I sat quietly blending into the scenery under a full moon. Waking up in a Highland glen and looking out from  under a tarp to find myself surrounded by grazing deer. Every so often, heads would turn in my direction, ears flicking forward, checking me out. Obviously I was no threat to them. Visiting various Scottish islands, cooking over a fire on the beach. Those days have passed. It is obvious  I am now much more limited in my abilities. The tools have gone to a good home and hopefully they will give someone else much pleasure and enjoyment!
Mike recently spent a few nights at an almost deserted  small campsite in the Scottish Borders. As much as I wanted to go, there was no way I could have managed it. Desperate for a break and having consulted with Mike, a lodge situated next to Loch Leven was booked for the second week of August. With continuing bowel and bladder problems, I was limited in what I could actually do. Often it was just a case of sitting on the terrace and doing a spot of bird watching. Being right next to a loch, swimming was high on my wish list. Unfortunately, notices warned of blue and green algae blooms that posed a threat to health. A line of thick, grey scum along a sluice outlet wall also looked  a wee bit discouraging. Given my internal state of affairs, I decided it was best not to take to the water. On the Thursday, I really wanted to go for at least a short walk. Against instructions not to take Imodium unless it was an emergency, I took one to settle things down a bit. Mike had suggested a flat, easy walk around Loch Ore, part of the Lomond Hills regional park. A cafe half way around allowed me a quick dash to the loo and to pick up a bar of chocolate for a quick energy boost. Mike estimates we covered in the region of four miles. On the last wee bit I was rapidly running out of steam. However, it  is more than I have done for a long while. Things have levelled out a bit, it is now a case of managing the ongoing problems. Currently I am waiting for an appointment to have yet more tests carried out.  Hopefully I will be able to spend a night or two at a campsite before too long?

A few photos from the trip.
It was raining on arrival.

What a difference a day makes!

Evening sky

River Leven sluice house

Swans, Loch Ore

Loch Ore