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Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on my Way Back from ........

We went to Laughlin Nevada to watch the National Karaoke Finals a few weeks ago and after the elimination rounds were over each evening, they did karaoke in the Casino lounge.  I know it sounds funny, but the contestants (I was NOT one of them) just couldn't wait to get into Party mode after spending hours being in Competition mode and they were fun to watch.  

I wanted to sing one of my humorous song parodies, but by 10 pm, I was worn out.  What happened to that Disco Queen that used to start partying at 10pm?  Oh, yeah, right, I forgot, duh, I have Parkinson's Disease.  I'm absolutely sure it has nothing to do with being 51 years old! 


The Emcee would play a "real" song every once in awhile and she played Thriller, by Michael Jackson.  I had gone to the Ladies Room and on my way back, I took a short cut across the dance floor, which was almost empty.  All of a sudden, people started clapping and cheering.  I looked around and they were cheering at me!

I didn't know it, but while I was in the Ladies Room, they had called an impromptu dance contest and the people thought I was dancing.  They were shouting "She's doing the Mummy" and "She looks like Lurch from the Addams Family".  


I wasn't dancing at all, I was just walking back to my chair, but being me, I got into the spirit of things and I tried to time my steps to the music (not easy).  Everyone was clapping and I was pronounced the winner!!!  

I stayed "in character" and stiffly climbed up on stage to take a bow and then "Lurched" my way back to my seat! 
  It's a good thing they didn't ask me to Moonwalk.......LOL!!

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, October 23, 2011

Living in a RV, what is it like?

For 16 years, my Wonderful Husband and I lived year-round in an RV (recreational vehicle) and traveled all over the USA and Canada.  I would still be doing it, if I did not have Parkinson's Disease.  Many people have expressed curiosity about RV's, mostly from other countries, but several Americans as well.  So here is the story...
 
Yuma Bev cooking eggs
We bought our first RV in 1991, a 21-foot long Motorhome (motorhome means that it has it's own engine and you drive it like a car) and took off on a three week trip.  There wasn't much room in it, you had to make a bed out of the sofa every night and you couldn't pass each other in the hallway, but after two weeks, we didn't want to go home, EVER, so, we traded it in on a 34-foot Motorhome and kept on traveling.


The 34 foot motorhome
This RV was small inside as well, but it had a full size bed in it (you had about 6 inches on either side to walk around) and a sofa and dinette, so we thought we were in heaven. We took this Motorhome from Florida to Colorado to Arizona and back all in one summer. Living in an RV requires a very good sense of humor.


Several years later, we got rid of the Motorhome and from then on, we had a variety of RV's that you towed behind or placed in the bed of a truck.  Sometimes, we would buy a very small one to take a specific trip and then sell it after we were done, it all depended on where we were going, but we lived in an RV of some kind or another year round. 


YumaBev and the truck camper
Aliner








We spent 5 months in the little Aliner above and 4 months in the truck camper! 

The last RV we owned was the biggest and we towed it behind a big pick up truck, however, it was still only about 200 square feet of living space!  For most RVers in America, this would be called a weekender, just big enough for 2 or 3 days, but we lived in it for 7 years!  I did 99% of the driving and could back it into the tightest spaces.

Truck and camper parked lakeside in Idaho
 
It was still very small inside, as the pictures below will show
and to give you some perspective, there is a photo of me standing by an inside door of the RV and one of me standing by an inside door of my house.  See how much narrower the RV one is?

YumaBev by RV door
YumaBev by house door

As you can see, the space is quite narrow in the bedroom and bathroom and as my Parkinson's symptoms progressed, it became increasingly difficult for me to manage without constantly bumping into things.  The entry steps to get in the camper were tricky as well and I didn't feel comfortable towing the RV anymore, so we gave up that life and started a new one.  Adapt, adapt, adapt.


Living room and sofa
TV across from sofa and hallway door

Bathroom sink
Tub and toilet

Dining area right  next to sofa
Bedroom area
Kitchen area

Do I miss it? Yes, very much.    


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!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

David and me

David is my brother. He is three years older and had bad luck before he was even born. Mom had pneumonia during her pregnancy and David got the mumps and measles when he was just weeks old. My grandmother didn't pay attention when she was changing his diaper and he rolled off the table.  He fell (or got pushed) off a two story building, fell off a motorcycle, got severe burns on his feet and got hit by a car.   

When Mom was seven months pregnant with me, she was told David was retarded and her age was probably a factor (she was 38 when he was born) and that the current baby (me) would probably be worse. I was born with a cold, but other than that, I was normal.  The Doctors told her to put David in an institution, but she said NO, he belonged at home.

I didn't know David was different until I got in grade school, when other kids called him names and threw rocks at him. Their parents weren't much better, they wouldn't let their children come to our house because he was different. I guess they thought their kids might "catch" it. Who would have thought adults could be so dumb?  

David was my playmate growing up. He liked Tonka trucks and I hated dolls, so we got along fine, playing in the dirt. I fought the jerks who teased and bullied him because no matter what they did to him, he wouldn't fight back. Most of David's problem was speech related, he understood exactly what you said to him, but when he tried to reply, the words got all garbled up on the way out.  He laughed at good jokes and managed some simple one syllable words, his favorites being Coke and truck, though it came out more like coe and truh, but I understood him.

When I was about six, Mom said she wished someone would teach David how to pee standing up and since I had taught him to tie his shoes and write his name with a crayon, I thought she was talking to me. She wasn't, but I didn't know that! While playing in the woods across the street from our house, I had to go and having seen little boys do it, I tried it myself. Then I showed David. He was much better at it than I was and Mom just laughed when I proudly told her what I had done.  

David had seizures in his sleep. I was about seven the first time I awoke and saw one. Mom showed me how to hold his head to the side until it was over. Many nights, I was the only one who heard him. I guess I should have been scared, but Mom made it seem normal, so I never was.

Nothing ever seemed to bother him. Oh, he got frustrated some times when people couldn't understand what he wanted, but usually he would figure out a way to make them understand. He was fearful of little kids and small yapping dogs, but could approach the most vicious big dogs and they would wag their tails and snuggle up to him. Cats seemed to have an affection for him, too. David was always happy, laughing or smiling.

Once, when we were adults, during Thanksgiving dinner at my home, a drink got knocked over. Everyone panicked, except David, he grabbed his napkin and mopped it up, even though he wasn't the one who spilled it, and then he gave a hearty laugh and grabbed some more turkey! Now, tell me, who was the smart one?

I have a special place in my heart for anyone who is different and my Parkinson's Disease seems minor compared to David's life. I taught David how to tie his shoes and pee like a man, but he taught me how to LIVE and LOVE and most of all LAUGH!


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, October 14, 2011

THANKS!

A big THANK YOU to all of you who have taken time out of your busy lives to read my stories.  When I wrote my first blog entry, about 90 days ago, I never could have dreamed I would have over 3300 hits and readers from 43 different countries on 6 continents in less than 3 months.  I'm not sure exactly WHERE some of these countries are or HOW they can understand my American English, but I am very happyyou all seem to be enjoying my stories.  As long as people keep reading them, I will keep writing them.
I know, for a fact, that I sing off-key, but I love to write song parodies and make people laugh, so I sing them whenever I get a chance.  So far, no one has thrown anything at me, they are usually laughing.  So, here is my most recent song parody: 
Sinemet   



You can find all my videos on my YouTube channel:
Hope you have a laugh or two.
Always,
YumaBev

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Does Parkinson's Disease hurt

Most medical Doctors will say Parkinson's Disease doesn't hurt, but they don't HAVE Parkinson's Disease.  Hmm, a Neurologist with PD, that would be humorous, unless she/he does brain surgery! The actual process of the neurons dying off in our brains is painless, however, the strange things Parkinson's makes our limbs and body parts do, CAN cause pain.  


Foot cramps are painful, no doubt about that!  Tremors are painful for our family and friends to watch, and are a big pain in the butt for us Parkies, but don't usually hurt, unless we spill hot coffee down the front of our shirt. Ouch!



My rigidity is usually painless, but very aggravating. I generally have two or more bruises on my arms or legs from bumping into doorways because I zigged when I should have zagged or from getting up awkwardly from the desk or table. They hurt, but can you say that it's Parkinson's? If I fall and break my leg, can I blame PD? What about back pain from being stuck in the same position all night?


I say YES, absolutely YES! But all kinds of things in life hurt. Having a baby hurts, but women have more than one. The death of your parents or spouse hurts. A hangover hurts, but most people don't quit drinking.  The reality is life, in general, involves some pain. 



When I am having a bad day, I ask myself, "Have you ever felt worse than this?" If the answer is YES, then I say to myself, "Then what are you complaining about?" and then I laugh and instantly feel better.  If the answer is NO, then I have something to compare the next bad day with.

Yes, I do argue with myself and sometimes, rarely, I win the argument!


SO DON'T BE AN DONKEY, HAVE A GREAT DAY!   









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, October 6, 2011

Pikes Peak adventure

We had been to Colorado Springs, Colorado several times, but never to the top of Pikes Peak, so it remained on my Bucket List until last week.  We had two choices:  drive up in our car, one way: 19 miles and 53 hairpin turns with no guardrails or we could sit back and take a narrated tour on the Cog Railway.  We elected for the train so we could both enjoy the scenery.  The narration was great but the guide's humor was awful.

Blue Spruce tree
I did not ask my Doctor whether the 14,110 ft altitude would affect my Parkinson's disease; I never gave it a thought.  I knew it would be cold up there, 30 degrees colder than where you boarded the train, so I packed two jackets each for my Wonderful Husband and me.  The ride to the top took approximately 1.5 hours and was absolutely beautiful, the aspens were bright yellow, the sky brilliant blue with white puffy clouds.  We saw deer, marmots, waterfalls, alpine lakes and my favorite tree, the Blue Spruce.  

Cabin at 12,129 ft
I felt fine, until we almost reached the top.  I had chosen the departure time to be the warmest part of the day, since cold aggravates my Parkinson's symptoms and to be in the 'best' part of a medicine cycle.  But all of a sudden, my left foot began to cramp and my neck stiffened.  I checked my pill container and yes, I HAD taken my pills right on time.  What was going on?  I should be as fluid as I get during a dosing period, but instead it was as if I hadn't taken any medicine at all.  By the time we reached the summit, ten minutes later, I was very rigid and both feet were cramping.  I felt like a 100 year old lady.

Only Big Horn Sheep I saw
I got off the train and slowly made my way into the gift shop and headed straight for the bathroom, along with every other woman on the train!  It took me forever to get there, shuffling along and of course, there was a long line, so I just took my place.  Soon someone was tapping me on my shoulder, it was an employee and she led me out of line and to a handicapped stall and said "I think this will be better for you".  I was thankful and a bit embarrassed.  I think some of the passengers probably thought I was faking, but I wasn't.  I could barely move. 

Posing inside a doughnut

After using the facilities, I managed to walk around a bit and snap some pictures, I ate a high altitude doughnut (yummy) and posed for a picture or two and then it was time (thankfully) to get back on the train for the ride down.  Once we got below the 10,000 ft point, I felt everything relaxing and the cramping disappeared.  I felt better by the time we reached the bottom, but was exhausted (your entire body contracting is very tiring).  We got dinner to go and went back to the hotel and went to bed early.



Proof that I was at the top


Would I do it all over again?  Absolutely!  The scenery was spectacular.  Just look at the photos, wouldn't you be willing to 'suffer' a bit to see something like this?


White tail deer
Lake Moraine
Aspens

Bev standing in snow

Pipe Falls

Snow at top

Minihaha Falls
More Aspens

Looking across valley
Down bound train
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, October 2, 2011

Life simplified

If there is one thing Parkinson's Disease has taught me, it is that life is simple.  I used to have earrings, shoes and handbags that matched all my outfits, now I can't put the earrings in, I only wear Velcro sneakers and my purse is a fanny pack.  Simple.  

I used to put on eyeliner and mascara, but the Goth look isn't flattering on a 50+ year old woman, so now I don't wear any.  Simple.

My clothes were home made, designed by me, with intricate buttons and ties and fit perfectly.  No more, now its jeans, tank tops and blouses knotted at the waist.  Simple.

I used to order steak, rice pilaf and veggies at restaurants, I still order steak, but my Wonderful Husband cuts it for me and I stick to side dishes that can be eaten with fingers.  Simple.


I used to wear jewelry, lots of it, but can't manipulate the clasps now and I don't miss it a bit.  The same can be said for styling my hair, it gets combed and that's about it.  Simple. 

 My days start at 4 or 5 am and end at 11 pm, during those 18+ hours, I go through a range of symptoms and I make my life as easy as possible for me.  I have chairs that fit me, not some grand design, my floors are rug free so I don't trip, I have a set of lightweight plastic dishes that I use and my pill bottles are lined up on the counter next to the fridge so I can get to them easily.  Simple.  

My Wonderful Husband understands when I take a nap at 9 am, when he's just got up and made the bed at 8.  Our days are not regimented except for my meds.  We generally 'wing it'.  Simple. 

You should try it.

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!