By Nick van Bloss
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Extra info for Busy Body: My Life with Tourette's Syndrome
I have to. So what are these wonderful things that I have to touch? Well, before I answer that I’d better explain exactly what touch means for me, because it’s almost certainly different to your perception of it. I don’t touch something for just a fraction of a second, without thought or meaning. Nor do I gracefully let my fingers waft in an affected manner over the surface of something. My touch isn’t delicate or subtle. When I talk about touching something, I mean that I place all ten fingers on whatever it is that has caught my eye and either press it really hard if it’s a tough item, or grab it with all ten fingers and have a wonderfully satisfying squeeze if it’s in any way flexible.
They are nervous tics. We’ll start him on Valium. ’ I was eight years old, sentenced to Valium and toddled off, pills in hand, in the hope of miraculous results. In truth though, I never took the Valium, although I led everyone to believe I was giving it a go. The problem was I just couldn’t swallow the pills: they wouldn’t go down. I’d had no experience of downing pills and I simply didn’t know how to do it effectively; the harder I tried to swallow, the more bitter the taste of the dissolving pill became and I’d end up gagging.
The ‘barking’ tics can be at any pitch – high, medium or low. They are sharp and short (often loud) sounds that frequently make other people jump. It can be a quick ‘ooh’, ‘aah’, ‘oww’, ‘wah’, ‘pah’, ‘la’, ‘le’, ‘brrr’, ‘gaa’ or one of the countless other monosyllabic sounds the human voice can make. Unlike a dog, Touretty ‘barking’ does not usually begin with a growl or end in an ‘–oof’. Touretty barking is 42 Busy Body Book FINAL 24/2/06 1:16 pm Page 43 Woof, Woof never threatening. Yes, the occasional high-pitched Touretty bark could sort of resemble, say, a Yorkshire terrier’s ‘yap’, just as the odd low-pitched vocal tic might resemble the grumble of a Rottweiler.