Chapter 11: Why

Once the shock subsided, Double-Click asked the question everyone asks upon discovering they have a pathology that nothing seemed to predispose them to: WHY ME?

Double-Click searched the Web for statistics that would shed some light on why Old Hubert took a liking to him.

Amid the maze of scientific and medical sites, he came across a blog[1]written in true American fashion: well-documented and structured, up to date – and an award-winner.

Its author describes the type of person most likely to suffer from Parkinson’s:

Male, with blond hair. One of his ancestors got it…

“Wait!” Double-Click exclaims, “this reminds me of something. Why not look at it the other way around? Let me describe the person least likely to be a victim of Old Hubert.”

The anti-victim is a woman under 60, “non-Caucasian” (meaning anything but white-skinned), with brown hair and without a history of the disease among her parents. She is neither Amish nor a farmer. She never had head trauma, nor did she work in a manganese mine. She doesn’t do drugs. She is not a doctor, dentist, teacher, lawyer, scientist, computer programmer, or gamekeeper. She works in the fields of production or transport, but she is not a welder. She smokes and drinks coffee. If she’s American, she doesn’t live in Nebraska.

That’s all well and good, but… what conclusions is Double-Click supposed to draw from this? Not many, he muses while considering some very personal issues:

“Aure, can you cancel our trip to Nebraska. We don’t really need to go see the rednecksafter all, do we? Oh, and I’m not sure I want to visit the Amish country with our cousins from Philadelphia, I don’t feel like watching backward people dressed in black wash their laundry by hand.”

“Now that’s a good use of statistics,” he concludes, although not quite convinced. “In any case, a blog is a great idea! I’m going to write one too. I’m up early in the mornings, I should find the time. I wonder what San Antonio will think of that.


***

San Antonio is due to visit the Double-Clicks that weekend. Everyone is looking forward to it. San Antonio is Double-Click’s second cousin. Maybe they met when they were kids, but they don’t remember. They first got to know each other when San Antonio’s uncle, abbot and bishop of a Swiss abbey, invited them to prepare Aure and Double-Click’s marriage with his soon-to-be ordained nephew.

San Antonio had accepted the responsibility. It was his first marriage. There’s a first time for everything. To preserve his modesty and out of respect for his office, San Antonio had let Double-Click introduce him: “Bright, handsome, funny sometimes, and a true man of faith.” Aure had nodded in silence. She who had expected her marriage preparation to be led by an imposing bishop in an austere church found herself chatting with a good-looking and courteous man the same age as them, in the middle of a verdant meadowin Switzerland – as if immersed in her favorite series when she was a teenager: The Thorn Birds.

Aure had been so hanging on the cleric’s every word that Double-Click thought she might become a nun instead of marrying him. Fortunately, there was no convent in the abbey. San Antonio went on to play a recurrent part in the lives of the Double-Clicks, from christenings to first communions and confirmations, and all times four. Their initial wedding ceremony had become a reference.

When Max’s confirmation marked the last of the children’s sacraments, it didn’t put an end to San Antonio’s regular trips to Paris, where he had once lived as a student and which he loves. And whenever he visits, Aure always goes out to her way to make him feel welcome. The Double Clicks find San Antonio’s wit very uplifting. He started visiting more often when Double-Click got the bad news. He found the right words and texts to help Double-Click and Aure through their initial bewilderment. San Antonio became their confidant over time. They find his wise words soothing and appreciate his insights.

Naturally, San Antonio encourages Double-Click to create his blog – that’s all the latter needed to get started.

***

“What should I call it?” wonders Double-Click. “The Shakedown on Parkinson’s[SB1] ? The play on words is a bit grim. Parkin-Son of A…? Nah, my education won’t allow me. Let’s go for Son of P…arkin, I like the sound of it, and who knows I might even get an award for it!”

To start his blog, Double-Click searches the Web for more information on his condition. He first focuses on the disease’s general mechanisms.

Enthusiastic, Double-Click uploads his first post and decides to personify Parkinson’s disease as Old Hubert. Double-Click is pleased to present Son of P…arkin, the first blog dedicated to your most important asset, the black substance – the brain of your brain!

***

Son of P…arkinthe Mind-boggling Blog[SB2] : Who Am I?

I am at the heart of the nervous system, I integrate information, control movement and ensure cognitive functions.I am the most protected organin the body. I weigh about 1.3 kg. I am bathed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). My meninges refer to the three layers of protective tissue that cover me. I am made up of two cerebral hemispheres, the right and the leftunited by the corpus callosum (network of fibers), and the cerebellum, a kind of “little brain” located in the lower area of the brain that controls balance.

My main nutrient is glucose. I am highly vascularized and therefore highly oxygenated. My cerebral hemisphere is formed by the frontal lobe, associated with reasoning, language functions, and voluntary motor coordination; the parietal lobe, associated with consciousness of the body and its surroundings; the occipital lobe, involved in the integration of messages; and the temporal lobe that controls hearing, memory, and emotions.

I also have four cerebral ventriclescavities where the cerebrospinal fluid circulates. Lastly, my central grey nuclei are in the middle of all this. Also known as basal ganglia, they are associated with behavior control and learning.

I am Double-Click’s brain.

I must tell you that Old Hubert probably started tampering with my cognitive functions some fifteen years ago. I fought against him for a long time without Double-Click noticing – until it became impossible for me to make up for all the damage he had caused. Ideally, he should have been eradicatedthe moment he showed his ugly head, but his intrusion was undetectable.

***

Going over his first post, Double-Click looks perplexedit almost entirely plagiarizes a scientific website[2].To ease his guilt a little, he tells himself that his blog is there to inform his brothers and sisters in pathology. He had to set the scenefirst.

Son of P…arkin’s first five visitors identified by Google Analytics congratulate Double-Click: they are called Aure, Anaïs, César, Antonin, and Max. Being a prophet in one’s own country sounds like a good start.


[1]Parkinson’s Journeyby Sherri WoodbridgeawardedBest Parkinson’s DiseaseBlog of 2017.

[2]The Brain and Spine Institute website 


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