Billy Connolly on Parkinson’s: “My life has changed radically”

The much loved Glasgow comedian has spoken candidly about how the disease has affected his life
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Billy Connolly has revealed his daily struggles with Parkinson’s disease which he was diagnosed with a decade ago.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he explained the issues which he faces such as forgetting his dogs name and that his wife Pamela now has to dress him.

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The Big Yin was last spotted in his hometown a year ago as he made the trip back to Scotland from Florida when he visited Castle Fine Arts, Mediterraneo Ristorante and Champagne Bar in Merchant City and visited Milngavie cafe Jessie Biscuit where he celebrated his 80th birthday.

He also stopped in at The Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha for a plate of mince n tatties which were made especially for him as they are no longer on the menu.

Speaking to the programme he said: “My life has changed radically since the diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

“I walk with a stick and at airports I have to get the wheelchair. I hate being dependent to that degree and I feel sorry for other people who are in wheelchairs and who have worse than me. But it’s a thing I just have to put up with.

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“My wife puts my clothes on in the morning. It’s not very manly. Your mum puts your clothes on. I’m clumsy and I lose my balance. I’m out of balance a lot and I fall. I’m fed up with it.

“I think I have a good attitude to it. I say to the disease ‘I’ll give you a break if you give me a break’. We’re nice to each other. My memory is short. I forgot the name of one of my dogs, which is really awkward when you’re shouting to it in the street.

“You have to say ‘Hey doggy doggy’, which is terrible. I felt embarrassed for the dog. You could tell it knew. I shake a bit. I don’t shake every day, all the time. But for about an hour or two I’ll shake and when I’m drawing it spoils it. Then I conquered it. I draw with shakes in it and it works.

“I think most things can be conquered and especially the depression. Depression is such a complex affair, but you have to conquer it, take it on face-to-face and refuse to be part of it.

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“I’ve always been easily made laugh. I am a lucky man with my sense of humour. I can laugh myself out of most things.”

Connolly had his new book Rambling Man published today (October 12) which explores his philosophy and how it has shaped him, and he shares hilarious new stories from his lifetime on the road from riding along America’s Route 66 to building an igloo in the Arctic.

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