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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2018 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Live each day as if it's your last

9 May 2018

Last week I went to the doctor.

It was actually the missus who dragged me along, I wasn't keen to go myself.

As well as getting the usual seasonal flu shot, the doctor took a while to re-evaluate my Parkinson's symptoms.

Although I've noticed an increased progression of the disease, my wife has noticed the effects far more-so and she was concerned as to the increased rate of change.

After some discussion, I have been put on full-time medication with drugs that will attempt to hike the level of dopamine in my brain, a treatment which is purely to deal with the symptoms, since there is no "cure" for this condition.

From where I stand, this was a watershed moment, a milestone so to speak.

Until last week, I was able to forget that I had this affliction, at least at times.

On a good day, the symptoms, such as a tremor in my hands and momentary loss of balance were easily ignored. They could have as easily be caused by too much coffee or just a transient glitch in the nervous system.

Today however, I can't ignore things any longer. A routine of regular pill-taking will see to that.

Even more worrying is the fact that once on this medication, I'm essentially stealing from my future to improve the present. Apparently the drugs only work for a finite amount of time and the dose must be increased progressively as the disease progresses -- until they no longer have any significant or lingering effect.

Naturally, this has caused me to step back for a moment and re-evaluate my priorities, my goals and my short to medium-term plans.

I'm not depressed by the prospect of losing all useful dexterity within a few short years -- although I am somewhat saddened by the inevitability of this. Like most people, I'd much rather die in my sleep of old age whilst being otherwise perfectly healthy and functional. The prospect of a future in which my physical function is severely compromised before I shuffle my mortal coil is not an enjoyable one -- but I'm a fatalist so my thoughts are "never mind, let's just get on".

Having spent a while grieving for my long-term future I'm now re-invigorated and focused on making the most of the "useful" time I have left. It's time to cram a couple of decades worth of fun and contributions to society into the span of just a few short years. That requires some planning, and risk taking.

The most frustrating aspect of things is that on bad days I'm now actually having trouble using a computer. Uncontrolled movements mean that on those days my typing falls from its usual 120 words per minute to just a tiny fraction of that -- with a *lot* of backspaces (thank goodness the backspace key is bigger than the rest). Even the task of accurately moving the mouse becomes a challenge, something which can make tasks such as editing my videos a real frustration.

For the time being, these challenges can be addressed by careful scheduling. When the pills kick in and I regain my dexterity, I can rush out another daily dose and cobble together a few minutes of raw footage into another cinematic masterpiece (cough, cough) then, when I'm not so "in control", I can play a game which is very similar to the old Atari Missile Command -- by simply attempting to navigate the web by clicking on the hyperlinks which make up much of its content.

As if they're not already limited enough, my opportunities to enjoy flying my RC models are also going to diminish significantly. Can't fly at the airfield on most "good days" because I don't have someone to act as a spotter (required under CAA regulations) and can't fly under the trees in the park because "the Mayor says so".

As a result, I'm now making plans to do a nation-wide tour, with drones and RC models onboard. I'll use what flying-time I have left to try and get as much aerial footage of New Zealand's natural splendor as I can and then edit all up into a Vlog which, I hope, will show others just what a fantastic country we live in -- as well as showing that flying these things safely isn't just about "rules and regulation".

I'm pretty sure I'll get "busted" by authorities at some stage (or stages) of this journey but hey... I'm now here for a good time, not a long time and I can guarantee that no person or property will be put at risk by my flying activities -- even if/when they do violate the rules created by an army of desk-pilots who've never actually done this stuff themselves.

Sadly, my ambition to create an international model park where people from around the country and around the globe can come to learn about and enjoy RC flight and where others can be trained to safely fly drones is never going to happen -- but recognising such inevitabilities is part of adapting to what the world throws at you. And, let's be honest, with the bunch of self-interested clowns we have running this district, it was never going to happen anyway, regardless of what effort or money I put into it.

Right now I'm contemplating moving to a different district -- so that I can maximise the time I have -- but that probably won't happen either because moving from the cheapest place in the country to *any* other place is a fiscal hurdle that's hard to jump, especially when your ability to earn will be declining at a steady rate.

So all I can say is "watch this space".

You may see some very interesting stuff appearing on your Daily Dose, as well as in my videos. Not having to worry quite so much about the future is kind of empowering and opens doors to things that one might not otherwise consider.

Remember... the focus is now on "a good time, not a long time" so that kind of changes the whole landscape.

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