Working Life: I've been living with Parkinson’s disease for the past 10 years 

Dr Noel Richardson, National Centre for Men’s Health Ireland, IT Carlow and HSE Health & Wellbeing
Working Life: I've been living with Parkinson’s disease for the past 10 years 

Dr Noel Richardson, National Centre for Men’s Health Ireland, IT Carlow and HSE Health & Wellbeing

7.15am

It’s more a crawl than a spring out of bed – 10 years of living with Parkinson’s disease has taken the edge off those fast-twitch fibres. Thankfully, my [prescription] Levodopa, a performance-enhancing drug,  kicks in pretty quickly and by the end of breakfast - cereals, fruit and yogurt - I’m beginning to feel wind in my sails.

8am

I power up the Apple Mac, check the calendar and emails. My time is divided between my academic role at IT Carlow and my HSE role in men’s health. Over the years, my academic role has evolved from mainly teaching undergraduate sport science students to an almost exclusively research function. I feel passionate about all my research projects ranging from farmers’ cardiovascular health to suicide prevention in the construction sector.

11am

After a quick coffee, I log onto a Teams meeting with the Institute’s EDI (equality, diversity and inclusivity) committee where I provide an update on Men’s Health Week activities (June 14-20), coordinated by the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland (MHFI). These will be promoted among staff/students within the Institute.

12.30pm

Having topped up on Levodopa, I jump on the bike and cycle to beautiful Castle Park in Kilkenny to join my friend Howard for a 35-minute run.

Howard is 6 ft 5ins and I’m 5ft 6ins so there’s a bit of the odd couple about us.

The pace is more modest these days, but there’s a simple joy about continuing to defy this disease by keeping the legs turning over.

2pm

Back to the virtual office. I’ve a close working relationship with the HSE for about 20 years – developing and, more recently, supporting the implementation of the National Men’s Health Policy. During a Zoom call with the HSE, Men’s Development Network and MHFI, we finalise preparations for a Train the Trainer programme in farmers’ health to be delivered to agricultural advisors.

4pm

Final Zoom – planning for the second of a series of men’s health webinars entitled Engaging Men, which goes out during Men’s Health Week.

6pm

My wife Niamh and I coach a middle-distance group with Kilkenny City Harriers - a highly committed, fun group of 14 to 22 year olds.

  • The HSE & the Men’s Health Forum are encouraging men and boys to ‘stay connected’ and look after their mental health/ health and wellbeing during Men’s Health Week. Info at: #MensHealthWeek #CheckItOut

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