The appointment in Southampton took several months to be scheduled. I was eventually assigned a slot at 9am in July, towards the end of the school term. Southampton is a good 50 miles away, and at that time in the morning I was likely to be battling with rush hour traffic.
I accepted the appointment. It could take ages to get another one.
My husband took the day off work so that he could get our son to school and look after our daughter, who didn’t have a preschool session that day. I decided that it would be nice to make a day of it; I had lived in Southampton for two years when I was younger and knew the city tolerably well (although I didn’t know where the hospitals were, never having had cause to visit them before). It is, in my opinion, a very nice city. There’s the remnants of the mediaeval walls to walk around, a lovely art gallery, plenty of parks and, of course, the common – a fantastic open space just on the edge of the city centre. There are a lot of shops, too, but I didn’t have anything much I wanted to buy.
So, off I went. I found the hospital, navigated its labyrinthine corridors to find the neurology department, and saw the senior consultant. Needless to say, he agreed with his colleague. We discussed medication (which I will talk about in another post) and also had an interesting talk about the speed of progression. There is an average rate of progress – which I appear to be following – but some people with Parkinson’s progress faster or slower. I was particularly interested in any factors which might assist a slower progression. I asked if there had been any research into lifestyles and rate of progression; neither the consultant nor his assistant nurse seemed to think that there had been. “Maybe,” the nurse suggested, “You could research it. I’m sure you’d be capable.” Well, I probably would be. I have a background in science – but not in medical science. I wonder how serious she was? The consultant made a few noises that sounded like agreement.
I wonder how to go about research of that kind? Surely I would need to be associated with some academic body in order for my research to be acknowledged, to be taken seriously and, most importantly, for the research to be disseminated properly. There wouldn’t be any point doing the research if nobody knew about it, would there?
Anyway, I was done at the hospital by 10am. I then had a lovely day revisiting old haunts in Southampton.