13/05/2015 11:41 BST | Updated 13/05/2016 06:59 BST

Bottoms Up!

Having dinner with friends, one of us made a toast saying "bottoms up" to which an amused American visitor quizzed us about this old English saying. A discussion on the origins then ensued and although I was pretty sure, I double checked on the Internet. What did we do before the Internet? It certainly resolves any argument quickly with a fortune of knowledge at our fingertips.

Although I enjoy the occasional glass of red wine with dinner at the weekend, or perhaps a cocktail (shaken, not stirred!) when celebrating a special occasion, I'm certainly no drinker. When I first started taking medication for Parkinson's disease, I followed strictly the directions inserted inside each packet of pills. Under "Warning" it clearly stated: "No alcohol" and therefore I diligently steered clear of alcohol, that is until one night, when I was driven to distraction by the unpleasant symptoms of Parkinson's.

I confess, at a loss what to do, throwing caution to the wind, I took a shot of vodka, which as you've probably guessed, did not get rid of the Parkinson symptoms. It did however relax me to a degree thereby making the situation a little more bearable with no adverse effect. Before I get myself in trouble I reiterate I'm not a doctor, just a patient sharing my personal experiences with you. In no way do I condone or suggest that you take a leaf out of my book and start doing vodka shots! The pharmaceutical companies warn against alcohol, no doubt for good reason, so please don't disregard their caution.

However, I'm sure fellow sufferers can relate, there are times when things get so bad, you are willing to try almost anything. If someone that night had suggested I dance naked around the garden at midnight, I probably would have given it a go, for sometimes desperation makes us do crazy things.

Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, instruction leaflets of medication, and countless articles in newspapers and magazines all tell us to drink plenty of water. What does "plenty" actually mean? Teas, coffees and juices don't count, and that drink at happy hour watching the sun going down, most definitely doesn't come into the equation. Water means literally just "water" pure and simple. A friend of mine was once of the opinion that water was not for drinking since fish swim in it, and she reserved it purely for bathing. How she didn't suffer from dehydration I will never know, but back to the question - "how much water should one drink?"

After speaking to several professionals on the subject, it appears the general consensus is to drink eight glasses of 8 oz. water per day. Sounds a lot to me, which would result in many laborious visits to the bathroom, but who am I to argue with specialists, for I'm merely a patient! And so I dutifully drink plenty of water, ensuring my intake is at least the recommended eight glasses a day.

I dream of waking one morning to find Parkinson's has magically disappeared, and these past eight years since diagnosis have simply been one long nightmare. How I would love to be rid of this lousy disease that has undeniably altered and will continue to affect my life and that of my family. In conclusion, I raise a glass to all fellow sufferers who wait as I do with baited breath for the illusive cure....bottoms up!