Why I got Parkinson’s Disease: The Search for Clues

Eight years ago I was living in a beautiful house in Gloucestershire close to countryside with wonderful walks. We had a spring well to supply the house with water. Six months before I moved bullocks got in from a neighbouring field and trampled their usual shitty way over the source of the spring water. Life carried on as normal.

E. coli

Coming to sell the house I had the water checked and it was filled with E. coli bugs at unsafe levels. We must have been drinking the water for at least three months. I installed an ultraviolet steriliser and we cleared and sterilised the header tanks and the whole system with chlorine. But I didn’t check my own micro biome – i.e. gut parasites and bacteria – and nor did any others living in the house.

Sleep Disorders

As I work backwards I remembered that this was also the time I developed the type 2 REM sleep disorder which leads on to Parkinson’s disease in about 50% of people – men more than women. In my vivid dreams I was pursued by demons or Indians and on several occasions I shouted out unexpectedly in the night – often with a vivid swearword! This was more uncomfortable for my partner sharing a double bed with me as I was blissfully unaware! They say that dreams are the right road to the unconscious but sadly I cannot remember exactly what my dreams were about.

At the time I was also extremely stressed with family pressures. Did this set the scene for my diagnosis? When you remember your life backwards do you discover clues that may have lead to your illness?

2 thoughts on “Life Remembered Backwards

  1. Good observations Dr David.
    I have lived on well water for 45 years. 3 different locations here in California Of the USA. All next to or near water runoff from beef, dairy, sheep, goats, chickens… you name it.
    I love my rural life, oh and I lived, for about 10 years, next to row crops where arial spraying was common.
    And then when I was 44 I ran away from home- stress from a 29 year dysfunctional marriage. A 20 year old daughter who was following in my footsteps and pregnant on top of that. A wonderful job that I loved but which was incredibly demanding. And then I discovered an interesting part of my life that had been neglected. Forgive me for not elaborating on it just now. Suffice to say, it was the catalyst that led/forced/encouraged me to take a good hard look at the choices I’d made in my life. And then to begin making healthier choices. I was under extreme stress. Not getting much sleep. Thrilled at times at the prospect of what I could do with my life and at the same time petrified for the blank slate before me. I have often wondered if my dopamine began “draining” at this point in time?? When I say “extreme stress” I do mean it. I bounced in and out of depression for 6 years as I gained a foothold on my new life.
    The year I turned 50 I met my current husband. A gem of a fellow. When we had been seeing each other just 4 years I got hit head on by a drunk/drugged driver. My husband has never waivered in his care for me. I did not experience another bout of depression. Head injuries are suspect for PD.
    I had a few episodes of head tremor prior to the accident but they ceased afterwards. 2 years after the accident I didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t heal as I had anticipated. I was very active and just couldn’t get my old self back. It was then I was diagnosed with PD.
    So I do wonder just what caused it. No family history. Mom is 94 and has Alzheimer’s. No others in family history for her either.


  2. It is always interesting to ruminate on events in the past that may shed light on the present and specifically the cause of the onset of your Parkinson’s disease…. although I guess we must always be wary of self diagnosis .. Those naughty escaped bullocks fouling your drinking water with ecoli bugs could well have contaminated your system…. Your subsequent vivid dreams add weight to your hunch.. although you were also under considerable personal strain at the time. Yes interpreting our dreams can be personally so illuminating .. Freud called them ,” The royal road to the unconscious.”


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