John McPhee

Using the Beats Medical App keeps my legs moving smoothly. It’s like pouring oil on my rusty joints!

My name is John MacPhee, I’m originally from Inverness, but now live in a small village in Perthshire called Bankfoot. Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s came as a big shock. At 46, I considered myself to have years of good health ahead of me. I had always been relatively fit, and it never crossed my mind that something simple like getting out of a car would be a struggle before I turned 50.

Well now I am 50, and it is a struggle! Along with many other everyday things, in fact. It’s difficult to think of one physical activity that has not been compromised in one way or another by Parkinson’s.

There is one area that I am now stronger, self-belief! I am a more determined person now, and far more minded to take on new and exciting challenges. One of these challenges was the Long Straight Walk, walking the length of the U.K., following as straight a line as possible from Lands’ End to John O’ Groats, covering 630 miles in 30 days. It was in the run up to the walk that I discovered Beats Medical and I am really pleased that I did, as their app was part of my daily routine to help smooth out my gait. I am still using and still benefiting from use of the app today. I intend to keep on walking and no one is better pleased than my two dogs, Hamish and Fergus.

Just sometimes you wake up and take a look at the hand you have been dealt and you can choose your view point. There will be a mixture of cards, some aces, picture cards and a few of the rest of the pack too. Now my guess is that most people would consider being dealt the Parkinson’s card as perhaps a 3 or even 2 of clubs. A somewhat useless card and hardly likely to have been in your hopes and dreams. Nonetheless, there it is as part of your hand and it’s how you play it that matters. My long gone West coast granny used to teach me the nuances of card games, like whist and bridge, would say “every card can take a trick” the_two_of_clubs

So, with those words echoing through my mind, I think me and my duece of clubs did pretty well last month. Below is a summary of what a “bad hand” can do for you.

March was hardly a typical month. It had been looming for quite some time, in fact since the beginning of the Gregorian calendar in 1752 but thats just me being pedantic.

What I mean is that in my own diary the month of March 2016 had taken on a very complex look and was looming, fast.

There seemed to be a blitzkrieg of events rampaging across the dates. All jammed into the thirty one day frame of March. All seemingly independent of one another save for the tight timeline.

In no particular order the following had to take place; Trip to New York Final prep for music festival I was helping organise. Present at a TEDx event Attend a new product launch in Kent Meet with Parkinson’s UK chief executive Present to the Inner Wheel of Pitlochry Attend British Council reception re Parkinson’s research Lobby MSPs at Holyrood Did I miss out anything? Probably.

Let’s do some cherry picking of the above, the one event that stood out was the “March Into Pitlochry” It was an absolute blast to be involved setting up the inaugumip1ral festival. I am told the theme was loosely based on Americana music and if you didn’t hear about it or attend in 2016 you better get in the queue for 2017 tickets because 2016 was a belter and already gaining plaudits and promises of return revellers.

Already March had produced a lifetime experience or two and there was more to come. I had been lucky enough to be jetting to New York and even luckier that the flight was BA Business Class, you know when you are being looked after when snoozing with your feet up on the footstool and the stewardess pops an extra pillow behind your head to make sure you are comfy. Once awake you are offered another glass of ‘that wine you like os much, sir’ . There are very few times I wouldn’t have minded a slightly longer flight, let’s say the pilot decided to around one more time, I would have cheered. Let’s be honest, that has never occurred, ever! It is surely the way to travel and thank the good lord for the airmiles to make it happen.

So to New York City, so good they changed its name from New Amsterdam, who knew?

I don’t know how long I could stay in New York, I am a country boy at heart, a village person on a good day. New York was therefore the most alien of surroundings, I got a sore neck from looking up all the time, or turning to peek at the myriad of otherwise ignored strangeness all around. My imagination is way behind New York’s reality. Really very far behind indeed.

Two points I will take away and offer to you as sound advice. Firstly, never, and that is NEVER, try and get into yellow cab via the right hand back door, that is against all common decency. At least it is according to the taxi driver, who picked me up from the hotel, very likely to get you thrown out of the States. I think that is what he said, my guess is that this was no Brooklyn or Queens accent!