I don’t remember anything about the film itself, though of course I have seen Dumbo again since then. The only memory of my first trip to the pictures is Pa trying to hurry me off the double-decker bus while I’m busy being travel sick over the conductor. So perhaps not the magical night he’d intended.
If only I’d had Dumbo’s feather, we could have flown home.
Or, indeed, if we’d had some newspaper. In my first year of teaching, the Deputy Head rolled up on the day of our trip to the British Museum clutching old copies of the Times Ed. Every child on the coach, including the hard cases at the back, meekly took a copy and proceeded to sit on it.
“What’s that for?” asked a Parent Helper.
“Travel sickness. You can’t get travel sick if you’re sitting on a newspaper. Isn’t that right, Mrs Jellywoman?”
“Absolutely,” I improvised. “It’s to do with the interaction with the – um – suspension of the coach and – er – the deadening of vibrations.”
The Parent Helper was dead impressed.
“I’ll have a copy too, then,” she said. “Just in case.”
“Can’t be too careful,” I agreed. “I’m going to take one myself.”
As it turned out, that Deputy Head knew her stuff when it came to travel arrangements. Not a child on that coach was sick. They attempted to add some extra choice language to the Rosetta Stone, they pocketed stuff from the museum shop and they made loud lewd comments about Greek athletes and the size of their javelins; but no-one was coach-sick. Come to that, neither was I.
The mind’s a funny thing.
There was an astonishing Horizon programme on Monday night about placebos. There’s a link here and it’s on catch-up until the 2nd March. It presented some pretty solid scientific evidence that placebos can actually improve a whole range of conditions: in some cases, even when the patient knows they are taking a placebo. It included a patient with pretty nasty Parkinson’s who had a brain scan before and after being “treated” with a placebo, and you could clearly see the difference even in the scan results. The power of thought certainly gives food for – well, thought.
After watching it, ActorLaddie and I mulled for a bit about when we’d get feedback from the drug trial I did last year. You’ll remember, Dr LaMancha and the neuro team at the Hammersmith were investigating whether the drug Deferiprone, which is currently used for another condition, would make any difference to the excess of iron us Parkie types apparently have in our brains. Also, whether removing that iron has any effect on the progress of the condition.
At the time, the drug seemed to have no noticeable impact on me at all, so I reckoned it must be a placebo. But just recently, I have been wondering about the remarkably slow progress of my condition, especially when I hear about what some coves have to cope with in terms of symptoms. Providing I get enough sleep, my Parkinson’s is still as mild as the day I was diagnosed, getting on for two years ago. I’ve even started to cut down on the medication – as yet, without problems. I have just been wondering whether I could actually have been on the full drug and whether this, perhaps, has indeed slowed down – or halted – the progress of the disease. Perhaps. Maybe. It would be pretty wonderful.
We decided I’d email Dr LaMancha and check for news. Then, blow me down, yesterday Ron the Postie brought us a letter from the hospital telling me the outcome of the trial.
Which I’ll share with you in my weekend blog.
Must fly now. Feathers away.
If you are not already signed up to GiveAsYouLive to help fund Parkinson’s research, please please do. It’s easy, it costs nothing and it will bring a cure nearer. Here’s the link.
The Jelly Chronicles Volume 1 is available as an e-book here. Profits to The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.