Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox Summary (Question and Answer)

Chapter Five

CHAPTER Five – Reality Bites



In January, 1990, Fox found himself in a desperate hurry to get to Vancouver. Why was this?

Fox found himself in this hurry because his father had just been rushed to hospital there. Though still alive, the outlook was not good.



Whilst planning the memorial service for their father, Fox and his four siblings found themselves in an argument following a careless throwaway line from Fox. Upon closer thought, what did Fox think had really upset his brother, Steve?

Steve had been at the house when their father was taken ill and he had made all of the arrangements as best he could. When he informed Fox of the situation, Steve was told by his brother that the family had to do the best they could for their father and if necessary that meant flying him to Seattle by private jet. Fox tells his readers that this cavalier approach to the problem, and to Steve’s attempts and capacity to deal with it, lay behind his brother’s justified anger toward him that evening.


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Less than two years later, and Fox has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease by two separate doctors and is now consulting a third. Based on Fox’s age, The doctor is extremely doubtful of the previous two diagnoses but agrees to inspect him nonetheless. Relieved that this doctor doubts the previous opinions, Fox is certain that he is going to learn the truth from this latest consultation. What is he told?

This doctor ultimately tells Fox that he is very sorry, but he does indeed have ‘Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.’



Fox begins by using Eldepryl to treat his condition but quickly moves on to Sinemot which proves far more effective in controlling the tremors he was experiencing in his left hand. Why did the success of Sinemot elicit ‘decidedly mixed feelings’ from Fox.

Fox has mixed feelings about the success of Sinemot because the doctors tell him that the success of the drug is proof positive that he has Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and yet its effectiveness in controlling the symptoms now made it possible for Fox to hide this fact from the outside world.



Why does Fox jump at an offer from Universal Studios which would lock him into a five year contract for three films?

The doctors have now told him that he only has ten years of good acting left. With the weight of that news, Fox was determined to make the most of it. Despite the drawback of signing with one studio at the expense of all others, Fox felt that this maximised his opportunity to make the most of his time professionally.



Faced with P.D, Fox decides to distract himself with a serious diet and fitness regime. Whilst the programme seems tough in many ways, what was the most difficult aspect for Fox?

The most difficult aspect of his new fitness and diet routine was that he had to limit his alcohol intake.



Fox quickly descended into further drink abuse as a way of coping with his diagnosis; however one series of events convinced him that he had to finally quit drinking. Outline Fox’s last night of drinking and how it made Fox feel.

Fox had been on an all night drinking binge when he returned home. Accidentally waking up his wife, he crept to the fridge to get a beer. He never finished this bear as sprayed all over him and Fox ended up spending the night asleep on the sofa. The next morning he was woken up by his three year old son. He expected Tracy to be angry but she was remarkably calm, almost ‘indifferent’ to his behaviour the night before. This reaction made Fox realise that he had hit rock bottom, at least as far as drinking was concerned.



1993 saw two films starring Fox open in cinemas, including the first of the three films that he had signed with Universal to make over the next five years. Both of these films received poor reviews and failed at the box-office. On top of these disappointments Fox was being sued. Explain why this was.

Fox was being sued by someone he had sold a house to. They claimed that there were serious pre-existing defects with the house which had caused serious emotional and physical distress. Accordingly the claimant was filing for a multimillion dollar lawsuit – many times the value of the house.



Whilst Fox’s defence lawyer was able to effectively argue against the charges, the process as a whole laid Fox’s everyday life bare to him for the first time. As a result he became deeply introspective and ended up writing a long rambling series of memos and letters to himself. What conclusion did he come to as a result?

Reading his own ramblings, Fox came to the conclusion that he was indeed in need of professional help and he decided to get in contact with a psychologist whose number Tracy had earlier given him when she had tried, unsuccessfully, to convince him to make contact with a professional.

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