If you know me, you know I am a "Sci-Fi" nerd - when others in the 70's were watching shows like The Brady Bunch, The Walton's and Love Boat, our family watched reruns of Star Trek, Lost in Space, The Outer Limits, and such... So you can see how I became a Sci-Fi "freak"!
One of the things I really love about Science Fiction is the concept of time travel - you know, going backward or forward in time. And since I am a logical person (hah!), the concept of time "paradoxes" like the "Grandfather Paradox" is something that fascinates me... Hold up a minute, what's that you say? You don't know what the "Grandfather Paradox" is? Well, pull up a chair and let me give you a short explanation:
(Now pay attention kiddies - this gets complicated)
Let's say - for laughs sake - I discover a means to travel backward in time... either via some kind of machine or process. So I decide to travel back to the late 1800's and meet my grandfather (maternal, paternal, doesn't really matter). So I meet up with my grandfather when he was a kid, and either through my direct action (heaven forbid!) or inaction, I cause my grandfather to be killed. Now at that point, since my grandfather is dead, that means that one of my parents never gets born; and as a result "I" can never be born. Now here's the "paradox" - but if I were never born, how could I create a time machine in the future? And therefore if I never existed to even create that time machine, I could never go back in the past to cause my grandfather's death in the first place. (Here's where it gets really weird) But if I were never born and didn't create a time machine, and therefore couldn't go into the past, that means my grandfather lived after all, my parent was born, and therefore I was born... But then (since I was born after all) I would have created the time machine in the future, went into the past, met my grandfather, causing him to die. But then that takes us right back to the beginning again - if I caused him to die, my parent wasn't born and neither was I, so no time machine was created; but then my grandfather would have lived, I would have been born, created a time machine, and..... Well, you can see the paradox, seemingly going into an endless loop. Ugh, thinking about this stuff too much can cause your brain to explode!!
So what's the point of all this time travel discussion in relation to Parkinson's? Well, I got to thinking, what if I could travel into the future - say 10 years from now - and meet up with myself? That could be pretty interesting - I could see how I am doing; how fast my disease is progressing; and how close medical technology has advanced us toward a cure.
But the thing to consider here is this: Would I (or you) even want to meet up with your future self? At first this might seem fun - barring that I'm not going 10 years forward to see the winning numbers from the 2029 $995 million dollar lottery!! (Well that just might be fun too... but let's stay focused now, people!!) And being a 'techie' it might be fun to see the advancements in technology and the medical field during that time.
But let's consider this, though: What if things aren't going well? For instance, I go forward 10 years and try to look myself up, only to find I'm not there... which of course means I... well, passed on - via accident, disease progression, or whatever - somewhere during those 10 years. Would I really want to know that? Ask yourself - would you want to know exactly when you were going leave this world? Some might say sure - you could then plan on getting things done before that occurs, and maybe even prevent it... But what if you found it was tomorrow?? And if you're gone because of the disease itself, and no cure had yet been found, there would be basically nothing you could do to prevent it anyway! Talk about depressing...
As far as future medical technology goes... sure if I found that in 5 years a PD cure was going to be developed - well, that would be good thing. But what if you found that NO CURE AT ALL has been developed in 10 years? Or that a cure was developed, but you had advanced in the disease so much that the cure was too late for you? If once I found this out and then had to return back to the present time (2019) - man, talk about being depressed and having no hope!!
So after I considered all this, I began to realize that - at least for me - I would rather stay here in the present. I think it's better this way, because I don't know when my time is up, and I can have hope for the future. If I already knew the future, how could I have hope or optimism about it?? I think this is the way we who have an incurable (at least for now) disease can better cope with it.
Now, I know that not everyone will agree with me on this - some might want to know what happens to them in the future no matter what. And that's OK - I just wanted to give my thoughts on this and what, for me, I consider a better course of action. But, after some more consideration, what I think I would like to do is leave short note to my future self - kinda like a time capsule containing items that would only be opened at a future date.
So I'd like to conclude today's blog entry with a letter I might leave for me in the future - i.e. to Future Tom. So, without further ado, here is what I might say to my future self:
Dear Future Tom,
Hey bro! Yeah, it's me, your past self... I'm assuming you really are reading this, which of course means we're still around (as opposed to the other side of the coin)!
Well, I guess the first thing I want to know is... did those crazy Detroit Lions ever get into a Super Bowl? (OK, OK, stop the loud and uncontrollable laughter, man - after all, it's possible, right? Right?? Well...) And let's not even talk about the Tigers...
Anyway, I don't know what shape we are currently in nor what has transpired in the last 10 years... but I wanted to leave you with a few thoughts from me in the past, in the form of what I would call my (or should I say our) "Hopes for the Future". So here goes....
I'm hoping that in the last 10 years a cure for PD has been discovered!. Now I know that the chances of getting a complete cure (stop the progression and restore the brain cells) may be somewhat remote - but not impossible! But I hope that at least they've found a way to stop the disease from progressing, and that it happened at a time where our symptoms were not beyond help.
I hope that we are still a bit mobile - you know, so that we've been able to get out of the house, meet people, and do things. I hope that we've been able to travel and see the sites that we've wanted to see. I know that in my time we had quite a bit of things on our "bucket" list - and I'm sure you've added to that list in the intervening 10 years! I hope we've been able to hit the majority of those and even the extra ones.
I hope that we've maintained our current friendships and made new ones during this time - life can be pretty boring without others there to talk to and lean on.
But at the same time, I hope we've not been too much of a pain in the 'arss' to those people - but especially to our dear wife! I'm sure we've been an increasing burden on her during these years - so I hope she's been able to 'put up with us' and still enjoy her own life and interests!
But most important of all, I hope that we've been inspiration to others, and helped others along the journey. I hope that those we've interacted with during these years remember us not for our material possessions or how smart we are (ha!) or how much of a name we've tried to make of ourselves, but rather for our love of family and friends, and our commitment with trying to helping others along this journey called Parkinson's. Let's face it, life with PD can be pretty rocky, and having others to help and inspire you can make that road a little easier to travel!
So, I guess that's it, dude... I'm sure I could come up with an endless list of "hopes" but I think I hit the major ones; after all, this was supposed to be a "short" note! Anyway, I'm hoping and praying that at this time in our life things may be better or at least looking up. But most of all I hope we've lived well, laughed long and loud, inspired others, and had fun!
So... See you in another 10 years!
P.S. Oh, by the way, what where those winning lottery ticket numbers again??