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Friday, September 30, 2011

Will Parkinson's disease Kill Me

The short answer is NO, you will die WITH Parkinson's disease not OF Parkinson's disease, or so I am told. I'm not going to worry about it since I might get run over by a truck next week, or go to the dentist.

My Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease when he was 82 and he also had some dementia, but it was a trip to the dentist or eating lunch that probably killed him. He was doing great; we went to the dentist and to the podiatrist and then out for lunch. He was climbing in and out of the car better than I could. I didn't know it at the time, but I already had Parkinson's symptoms for several years and in some ways, I was in worse condition than he was. 

Nachos for lunch

Less than 24 hours later, he was in the hospital with a high temperature, a virus of some kind. The virus knocked the heck out of him and the folks at the hospital didn't help any. They wanted him to stay in bed, but he kept forgetting and he would get out of bed to use the bathroom, so they secured him and he fought back.   They asked me to bring his wheel chair, I said he doesn't have one, yesterday he was walking better than me, but they didn't believe me.


The day before we had eaten a nice lunch at casual restaurant and Dad had no problems chewing his food, but the folks at the hospital insisted on a swallow test, which he failed and then they would only feed him baby food, and he fought back.   

They wouldn't let me take him home, they insisted on re-hab, until he could walk again; another disaster. My Wonderful Husband and I rented a place a mile from the re-hab place and I went there four and five times a day to take care of him. He refused the baby food, so I would take him for a ride in the wheelchair and we would go two blocks away to a fast food place where he would happily eat two cheese burgers, fries and a milkshake, never choking once. I would tell them to give him real food, but they could not. 



The combination of the virus and the forced immobility took its toll and his dementia got worse and he refused to eat. He thought he was back in the service or in school and I would try to correct him.  One day he said to me "I'm happy, why are you sad?" That changed my perspective and I accepted HIS reality and we both had a great time after that! He even introduced me as his wife or his son George sometimes and I would say "Daaaddddd" and he would laugh! So my Dad died of complications of a virus, the Parkinson's was the least of his problems.

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller.  Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good things about having Parkinson's Disease

I asked several of my fellow Parkies to come up with good things about having Parkinson's Disease, turns out they have a sense of humor, too.  Here are some of their replies and a few of my own:

My husband dusts the knick-knacks in the china cabinet, I was breaking too many of them.

I don't even notice when the batteries die in the electric toothbrush, because I shake so much.

I get new dishes every few months because I break so many of them.

I got all new shirts with snaps instead of buttons.

No one thinks twice when I drink wine in a sippy cup.

I get a parking permit.

Elastic waist pants and over-sized T shirts.

They send me to watch football with the guys on Thanksgiving instead of helping in the kitchen.

I have a great excuse to not shave my legs anymore.

When I fall down, while I am laying on the floor, I check for dust bunnies under the furniture.








Someone else checks the eggs at the grocery store and picks the oranges off the fancy pyramid stacker.


I don't need a blender to make a margarita, I shake enough on my own.

I never get asked to pour the wine or champagne or even the iced tea at dinner. 

No one will open the can of beer or cola I just got from the refrigerator.  

I don't get asked to change diapers or feed babies.

Velcro shoes.

The young kids want to learn how I do "The Shake" dance.

I can ShakeNBake like no body else. This particular comment, inspired a new song parody:



video

You can find all my videos on my YouTube channel:





Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Parkinson's Disease.............. A Big Deal or Not

My Mom and Dad had strange senses of humor and liked to be silly but they were also very calm and mellow.  Nothing was ever a big deal at our house.  Nothing!   
 
Moomer & YumaBev 
When Moomer (a nickname we called my Mom) went into labor with me, it was 2 pm and she was baking cookies for a boy scout meeting.  She calmly finished baking the cookies, made Kool-Aid, arranged a sitter for the younger two kids, took the cookies and drinks to the Den Mother and asked her to keep the older two kids for awhile, then drove to the base, picked up Dad and went to the hospital.  I was born at 4:44 pm.  She said she had done it four times before, so it was no big deal. 

It was the same with the accidents.  When I was 13, I saw my brother get hit by a car and yelled "David just got hit by a car". This was Moomer's very calm reply:  "Call the ambulance (911 wasn't invented yet),  then go down the street and ask Mr. G to please come over, and then come back and help me." It was as if she was reciting chores.  She told Mr G what to do and then told me to calm down the driver (a 16 year old).  The police and ambulances showed up and the trouble started.  The car was in the county but 
Ambulances filled our street
David landed in the city, the center line in the road was the divider.  The police started arguing as to who had jurisdiction and who should do what.  That got my Mom mad and in a drill sergeant voice, Moomer ordered Mr G and one of the paramedics to move David to our driveway (county) and then she told the city cops and ambulance to get the hell out of there!  David had a broken leg but he was fine.  No big deal.  

Both Dad and Moomer liked to enter contests and often they won.  The DJ on the radio would be whooping and hollering and Moomer would say "that's nice" about the prize.  Dad hit the lottery for several thousands of dollars and barely broke a smile.  It was no big deal.

YumaBev's  Dad 
Dad's job in the Air Force was a weatherman and he usually worked in the control tower giving weather reports to pilots.  His last assignment was at Andrews AFB, home of Air Force One, the President's plane, so he frequently gave reports to those pilots.  A big deal, I thought, but not to him, just another day at work.  I guess that's why, when I bumped my head on the side of that UPS truck and got flown by helicopter to Walter Reed Military Hospital, I ended up, at age 6, embarrassing both my parents.  You see, it just so happened that former President Eisenhower was in the hospital at the same time, and since I was a serviceman's child with a big crack in my skull, someone decided that I should get to meet the former President.  So, they wheeled me into his room and asked me if I knew who he was.  I said no.  Then they said "This is the former President of the United States, Mr. Eisenhower".  And I said "so what" or "who cares" or something like that.  Mom and Dad were mortified, but it was no big deal to me.  

When my first husband died in a car crash when I was 23, they said "everything will be fine" and pretended it was no big deal.  When Moomer was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer a few months later, it was no big deal, she said, I'll always be with you.  A few years later I married my wonderful husband and everything WAS fine and Moomer IS with me everyday in my heart, so, when I got diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at the age of 47, it really was NO BIG DEAL!


Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Sturdy New Desk


tiny desk in RV
My Wonderful Husband and I lived and traveled in a RV (recreational vehicle) for 16 years and the total living space was about 200 square feet, so my computer desk was very small.  Everything was small, but we were fine until my strange unknown illness made it difficult to navigate the tight hallways and I could no longer safely drive the truck and tow the RV.  


We then moved into a Park Model RV (a park model is a small manufactured home designed to be set up in a RV Park) which has about 400 sq ft of living space and my computer desk was still small.  I was living here when I finally got diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and stayed until those tight hallways and entrance steps became problematic.  


I now live in a normal size home, but I was still using the tiny homemade computer desk and normally that wouldn't be a problem, but I wobble, I really wobble, and I needed something much sturdier for a desk. 


I went shopping and found nothing I liked.  The desks were too big or not sturdy enough.  The Thrift Store Queen in me took over and I went to my favorite store, The Salvation Army, and found the perfect desk for me. It was real wood, so I bought it and got it home.


There are 2 things that I have always been good at:  Directions (GPS - 'girl passenger speaks' is a nickname) and Wiring (you name it, I can figure out how to wire it so it works). 


New desk 
I got down on the floor and started unhooking all the wires for the computer and everything else in that corner.  My Wonderful Husband then moved the old desk and put the new desk in place.  It fit, yippee, but it was 8 pm and I was worn out, so we decided to leave the rest until morning.


Guess what folks? Yup, I woke up at 4 am as usual and decided not to wait for Wonderful Hubby to wake up.  Heck, I was feeling limber, and I missed being online, so I got down on the floor and crawled under the desk and started wiring everything back.  Normally, that is a 5 minute job (keyboard, monitor and mouse), but not in our house.  My computer is connected to the usual items, plus a mixer, amp, karaoke machine, big flat panel TV, wireless speakers and 4 regular speakers.  The Wonderful Hubby and I share a printer, router and modem, and our computers are inter-connected as well, so it looks like wiring for the space shuttle back in that corner.
  
Sleeping by desk
I got everything hooked up and all the wires nice and neat and it was only 5 am, so I decided to go back to bed.  OOPS! I can't get up off floor; I've been down there too long.  I can't even pull myself up using the new desk.  Fortunately, I had put the nice thick bathroom rug down before I started and I could grab the pillow off my chair, so I just curled up and went to sleep. 



My Wonderful Hubby came in and took the picture (he knew it would make a blog story), then woke me up, got me up and all was well.  He even found a spot for the old desk; I use it for the Chat Room with a laptop.


PS Below is a picture of our RV and truck.





Clicking on the colored words will open a new window and take you to a different story or link.

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Parkinson's disease Drug Side Effects

I am different than most Young Onset Parkinson's disease patients and that difference may explain my sense of humor.  I went eight years without a diagnosis or any medicines to relieve my symptoms and as I got worse and the Doctors kept saying "I don't know," I was still optimistic.  Just before diagnosis, my symptoms were very similar to Muhammad Ali, I was almost frozen like a statue (Liberty, Venus, David?), but I was still alive, whatever I had wasn't fatal, so what was there to be sad about?

Yes, it's a coffin.
Most Parkies take drugs early on, when a tremor is their only symptom and some don't realize they are getting worse, and therefore, don't appreciate how much the medicines are working.  Some even say "I'd have to quit taking them to tell if there is any difference."  I know, absolutely, that mine are helping me AND causing some of my problems.
 

They help my stiffness and shakes, but cause my sleepless nights and 2 really aggravating things: dyskinesia and dystonia, big words that are hard to spell and even harder to pronounce. (Parkinson's Vocabulary)

Dyskinesia is a dopamine side effect and is a jerky, dance-like movement of the arms, legs and or head.  In other words, I wiggle around like Michael J Fox.  I call it doing the "Parkie Disco" and I do a good job of timing the movements to music.

Foot cramp
Dystonia is severe muscle contractions and are also a medication side effect.  In other words, severe cramps that cause your foot to try to turn itself inside out and tend to happen while crossing a busy street!  These have been helped recently by eating bananas and doing stretches, advice I got from a Physical Therapist who took time to visit a Parkinson's Chat Room and answer questions we had (Thanks Barbara G). 

I was going to write a song parody about dystonia, to the tune of My Sharona, but haven't gotten around to it.  Sorry, now you have that song in your head, don't you?  You see, the whole trick is to figure out how to relieve some symptoms without causing worse ones and it's like standing on someone's shoulders as they ride a bike across a tightrope.  It ain't easy!  But it can be done!

Little Bev with watering can
I am lucky, so far, I have not showed any signs of the obsessive /compulsive disorders that plague many who take the medicines (Mayo Clinic - Parkinson's disease and OCD).  Unless, making people laugh is my OCD........nope, been doing that all my life!  So, Don't Worry, Be Happy!  Now you have this song stuck in your head instead!!

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Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Parkinson's Disease and Sleep

There is one thing many Parkies have in common; sleep abnormalities.  I had Parkinson's disease for at least eight years before getting diagnosed and NEVER had trouble sleeping, in fact, sleeping was the one thing I could do to relieve my symptoms.  Exactly three months after I started taking Sinemet (carbi/levodopa) for my symptoms, I started waking up early, very early, like before Mr. Sunshine even thinks about peeking his bright face over the mountains to my east.  This lack of eight plus hours should have made me grumpy, but it did not.  My humor was intact, maybe more so.

The first morning I awoke early was New Years Day and I got a crazy idea.  I had a bench in my yard that I put Bears on (more thrift store goodies), dressed up for the holidays and I had Bears dressed in formal wear for New Year's Eve, the night before. It was about 4 am and I knew that none of my neighbors would be stirring at this hour, heck, most had just gone to bed.  

So, I started searching for what I needed.  I went down to the community hall and found empty beer cans and party favors,  then I raided my own closet, the costume box and some household items.  By 5 am, I had all I needed and re-set the Bears for the neighbors to wake up to.  And what a wake-up it was..........their laughter and hooting woke up my Wonderful Husband about 7 am, poor fellow.  By noon, cars from the neighboring communities were driving through, taking pictures.   

You see, my Bears had a wild night, they were in their undies, Mr. Bear was hanging upside down with a lampshade on his head and Mrs. Bear was passed out with Mr. Bears pants on her head.  OH, my!!!  It was shocking.  Especially since the Bears owners did not drink, at all.  Some people thought that someone else had done it and that I would be upset.  Boy, did I have them fooled!  Many more Holiday "mornings after" followed and neighbors began to look forward to what I would come up with next.  I had a blast, while everyone else slept.

PS I still do most of my creative stuff while everyone else is sleeping.......like writing this blog story.

Clicking on colored words in a story will open another window and take you to a different story or link.

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My wild and crazy Mother

Mom in 1936
My humor came from my Dad, but I got my craziness from my Mom.  Moomer (that's what everyone called her) was the most outrageous person I ever knew.  She got scolded as a teen for 'jazzing' up the hymns on the church organ and caused a scandal by showing up at the town pool in a home made bikini.  It was no big deal to her, but in 1936, it was shocking to everyone else! 

She was ahead of her time, she listened to  pop and rock radio and won tickets to a Rolling Stones concert in 1981.  She went to the concert and had a blast, she was only 62!  While everyone else was getting stoned, she was drinking coke spiked with Geritol. 

She bought me wigs, crocheted me bikinis, made me wild outfits and called the school officials "old fuddy-duddies" when I did something inappropriate at school.  She made 2 sets of clothes for me, wild ones and plain ones and told people I was twins.  One day, she couldn't pick me up at school, so she sent a cop friend to get me.  He showed up lights flashing and took me out in handcuffs and put me in the back of the cruiser.  They laughed about it for hours and I was 'totally cool' the next day at school!


She might have been 'older', but she was the 'coolest' Mom around.  She loved to laugh, dance and make silly faces and all my friends wished their Mom was like mine.  She is the reason I feel comfortable singing my wacky song parodies, dressing up in silly costumes and writing these stories!  I wish she was here to read them.

I miss you, Moomer. 

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Christmas Cards from the ER

My parents were older than my friends parents, older than their grandparents in some cases, and I only remember them with gray hair, probably caused by 5 accident prone kids of which I was the youngest.  

We did not have 'normal' accidents, we were creative, we did things like fall off two story buildings and the back of motorcycles,  we roller-skated carrying bags of glass bottles and fell down (thereby not only breaking bones but also getting cut badly) and we came home with our pockets full of poisonous snakes, scorpions, etc., you name it and one of us got bit or stung by it.  

We got hit by cars and burned by fires and we rode our bicycles, ......... into telephone pole guy wires, closed gates, off the roof of the house and the best one ...... performed by yours truly .......... headfirst into the side of a UPS truck.  That little stunt earned me my first flight in a helicopter, but I was out cold and missed the whole ride.  I also got to meet a former US President due to that trick, but that's another story. 

Mom, however, always planned ahead, and each time we moved to a new base (Dad was in the Air Force), she would bake a bunch of goodies and go introduce herself to the Emergency Room staff of the hospital, since she knew she'd be a regular.  Within months, they knew her by name and would cringe when she came through the door dragging one of us along.  

We were such memorable patients,  that Mom got Christmas cards from them for years after!  Not the normal, "I hope all is well" Christmas cards, these were "Are the kids still alive? and "I am glad you got transferred to another base" kinds of cards!

Amazingly enough, all us survived childhood. 

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Humor also runs in the family

Not only did my Dad have Parkinson's Disease, too, but he could be just as wacky as I am.  This is a photo of my Dad, jumping out of a present at an office Christmas Party.  I was about 10 at the time and Mom and I thought it was hilarious.  He had a very dry sense of humor and loved to embarrass and
Click on pic to enlarge, hit X in corner to return
tease me.  He would introduce me as his wife....or say I was his son George, both of which would elicit a piercing "Daaaadddd" from me, which would just make him laugh.  

When I complained about being called "Beverly Hillbillies" by the kids in school, my Dad would say "I wanted to name you Chrysanthemum, but I couldn't spell it and your Mom didn't like Marigold Petunia, so I wouldn't complain about Beverly,"

Giving me away......
Dad and Bev in 2002
Years later, when I married my Wonderful Husband and became step-mom to 2 kids almost my age, my Dad quickly figured out that if he would marry Lynn, my step-daughter,  then I would become his mother-in-law and he could be his own grandfather! 


PS She said NO.......


Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from Amazon.com or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!