The other night we had the most wonderful evening with good friends who had invited a charming couple we'd met once before. The husband and I share much in common; yes you've guessed correctly - we both live with Parkinson's. We naturally compared symptoms and medications, which must have bored the pants off the other guests, but when a Parkinson's patient meets another, these questions are almost mandatory, feeling akin and understanding one another is of great comfort. Like many of us, I found that this gentleman suffers from insomnia. Most who endure this irritating, not to mention debilitating symptom, find something of interest to do with these hours in the middle of the night, when we'd rather be tucked up snugly in our beds blissfully asleep in the land of sweet dreams.
I write in the middle of the night, and sometimes my best writing is done in the wee hours of the morning. I discovered that this gentleman bakes in the middle of the night, and after tasting his ginger biscuits that were divine, (one biscuit was simply not enough!) he has become quite the baker. His wife often wakes in the morning to the delightful smell of freshly made home baked goods, maybe some midnight muffins; how great is that? Although his wife protests at the calorie filled goodies one could do without, it's hard to refuse tempting treats that have been whisked up in the night. In my eyes, she was a vision of beauty and need not worry of an extra pound or two. The warmth and love they exude clearly demonstrate how a husband and wife can battle Parkinson's together and prevail the difficulties they incur along the way.
Sitting on my other side was a gentleman from Australia, and after he heard a little of what I have been doing for the last few years, he asked if he said something of interest, would he end up finding himself in my blog? Well - the answer is "Yes". He asked me a very pertinent question, "Do I receive payment for articles I've written for The Huffington Post or other newspapers or magazines?" The answer is "No". I don't get paid for any articles and my public speaking is done voluntarily, although if far away, or abroad then travelling expenses are covered. He then went on to ask if I make any money from my website and blogging, to which I again said "No". I've had companies in the past asking if they could pay to advertise their various products on my website, and although they have mostly been related to ill health or disability in some way, I have keep a strict policy of not accepting any, for I don't want my website smothered in adverts. The only recompense I receive is if someone buys my books, but after Amazon handling fees and taxes have been deducted, this small amount is enough to buy a cup of coffee! Of course I would be thrilled to sell more books, and the modest income would no doubt be of great help, but I'm not running a business or an advertising campaign. My main objective is to offer support and reach out to fellow sufferers, caregivers and doctors in the field, along with bringing greater awareness as an advocate of Gaucher and Parkinson's.