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Monday, November 28, 2011

A Face of Stone - Parkinson's Disease

I sometimes have, what might be described as a Stone Face, in other words, a blank look.  The technical term for it, when it happens to us Parkinson's disease people is Masking, I guess because our faces seem rigid like a mask.  I think I'm smiling but might actually be frowning, which can be embarrassing when a humorous story has just been told at a party.  Of course, doing just the opposite can be worse.  

We had several neighbors over for dinner recently and as I was washing up the dishes afterwards, I noticed my cheeks were aching.  They felt really strange, so I stopped what I was doing and went and looked in the bathroom mirror and this was what my face was doing:
Click on any pic to enlarge it





Yup, I looked like Garfield, the cartoon cat.  No wonder my cheeks hurt.  How long has my face been doing this, I wondered?  I asked my Wonderful Husband, but he didn't know.  The next morning, I asked one of the neighbors if I had been grinning all during our get together the night before and she said "Yes, but I thought you were just having fun".  

Geez, that's great, I'd spent 2 hours grinning like a crazed cartoon cat at our dinner party.  It's a good thing they all know I have Parkinson's.  What if I had been at a funeral?  Or in court?  Yikes!  

But what if I was playing Poker?  I bet I could really have the other players confused, they wouldn't know if I was bluffing or not!  Hmm, sounds promising, but my hands would give me away.  They'd shake like crazy if I got Four of a Kind or a Royal Flush.  Oh, well, guess I'll stick to Solitaire.


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 or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Friday, the day after Thanksgiving

Here's a new song parody I wrote about Thanksgiving.  It's meant to be funny.  Enjoy! 

Just click the > in the middle of the picture below and it should play it for you.


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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!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for?


Clicking on any pic will enlarge it
It's 4 am on Thanksgiving morning and I am wide awake.  It's dark outside and very quiet, the coyotes aren't howling and even our neighborhood owls aren't hooting.  Everyone seems to be sleeping, except me, but I am not complaining.  As I sit here in the darkness, I am thinking, not about funny stories or new song parodies, but what all I am thankful for, and the list is long....

My Wonderful Husband:  He wakes up alone every morning and hates it, but never complains.  He makes sure I get a good meal every day and is a great cook.  He goes to karaoke with me, even though being in a noisy bar type atmosphere is the last thing he wants to do because that's what he did for a living.  I don't know how I got so lucky, but I'm glad I did and I love him very much.  Thanks for being my best friend.

My Good Neighbors:  Mr & Mrs George walk with me most mornings, Phil & Ruth are always smiling, Willie & Sharon invite me to all their social functions and bring over home-made desserts and all the others who wave and say hello when I stagger past. Thanks for being my friends and making this such a nice neighborhood.

My Parkie Friends:  They live in Canada, all over the USA, Australia, Europe and the rest of the world.  We talk online and I can always count on them to "know" what I am feeling like.  Plus, they will even listen to my latest song parodies and sometimes even request them.  Thanks for being there.

My other friends:  I am so lucky to have met so many nice people over the years and most keep in touch.  If I run into any of them, I can be guaranteed a big hug.  I love hugs, the whole world could use more hugs.  Thanks for all the hugs.


My Facebook friends who make me smile, my Twitter friends who cheer me up 140 characters at a time, the people at karaoke who laugh at my songs and don't throw tomatoes at me. Thanks!

I am thankful that I just have Parkinson's Disease and not something more serious, that my Doctors really seem to care about me, that I haven't lost my sense of humor, that my step-daughter and grandson are good people, and that I live in America.
 
I am thankful that I live in Yuma, Arizona where the sun is always shining and it never snows and occasionally, because I am always up early, and because it's taken several hours to write this, I get treated to beautiful sunrises like this one I just saw.


What are you thankful for?


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, November 20, 2011

I re-write the songs

I have a knack for re-writing the words to songs, it's easy for me and I have been doing it since my teens. I hear a song and new words pop into my head immediately. I will admit that the words I came up with years ago were not always designed for family audiences, but hey, I was a teenager. 


I kept these lyrics to myself, singing only to the radio when I was alone. You see, I know that I can't sing. I entered a school talent show when I was in sixth grade and my teacher took me aside afterwards and gently said "Beverly, I am sorry, but you hit every note off-key" and she was right, I couldn't carry a tune.


But that didn't stop me from composing new parodies, like the one I wrote a few years ago, about RV'ers heading back home after spending the winter in Yuma. I was living in an RV Park at the time and overheard the manager say "Another one left the park today" and that was all it took. I went home and wrote Another One Leaves the Park to the tune of Another One Bites the Dust by Queen. I surprised everyone, including myself, by showing up at karaoke and singing it. It was the first time I had sang in public since the sixth grade and no one booed. My song made people laugh. If I had a perfect voice, it probably wouldn't have been as funny. 

Since then I am unstoppable, I write songs about everything and anything, most of them funny. Sometimes all it takes is a comment to inspire a song, or a saying on a t-shirt. I written songs for WWII Veterans, Birthdays, Anniversaries and even a song about Angels (one of the few serious songs I've written). I've even written a few about Parkinson's. I use karaoke versions for the music and copyright my lyrics.  

They all have one thing in common, they are humorous.  Since I cannot upload the songs by themselves to Facebook, Twitter or on here, I make music videos to go along with the new lyrics.  I enjoy taking the silly and sometimes unflattering pictures that I use to illustrate the lyrics.  Here are three of my songs about Parkinson's, have a laugh on me.  Just click the > and it should play the video for you.


video

                      Laughing at Parkinson's


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                            My Dopamine 


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                  Just Another Day of Parkinson's

I've often wondered what Mrs. Serles, my sixth grade teacher, would say now.

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!





Saturday, November 12, 2011

Helpful Advice for My Friends and Family

Dear friends and family,

With the big holidays approaching, here is some advice from a person living with Parkinson's Disease to all my friends and family who don't know exactly what I go through each day.   Please invite me to join you for whatever you have planned.  Don't assume that I won't feel well enough to attend, but please try to understand why I MAY say no.

I have difficulty with fine motor skills, so please stop and think before you ask me to serve liquids or help put away those crystal wine glasses, there is nothing humorous about breaking glass or spilled gravy.  I have trouble cutting meat into bite size pieces and maneuvering peas from the plate to my mouth, so I do much better with finger foods and stuff that won't fall off the fork when my hands won't cooperate.  I feel uncomfortable eating around strangers, they tend to stare, and I know they can't help it, I find myself staring at people, too.  

I really should take my 'dopamine' medicine on an empty stomach.  Pretty much my entire daily routine is dictated by taking my medicines.  
Here is a sample day:  
4:30 am  woke up, took empty stomach, first thing of the day meds
6:00 am  ate a banana, need the potassium to prevent foot cramps
6:45 am   took dopamine medicine, stomach should be empty now 
7:30 am  ate some crackers, to settle my gurgling stomach
8:30 am  walked with neighbor
9:00 am  finally eating my breakfast, a big bowl of cereal
12:30 pm   ate lunch, which is usually my biggest meal of the day
2:00 pm   take dose of dopamine medicine, stomach empty again
3:00 pm   took a nap, have been up 11 hours already  
6:00 pm  ate dinner, which usually consists of a salad and sandwich
9:00 pm  ate a snack and another banana
11:00 pm take last dose of dopamine and go to sleep 

As you can see, eating a huge meal at 2 pm will just throw my day out of whack, but sometimes I do it anyway. 

I can go from "on" (which is when my meds are working their best and I feel my best) to "off" (which means they aren't) in 10 minutes or less.  This explains why I walked into the restaurant just fine, but moved slowly going out. 

Stress and excitement aggravate my symptoms.  Even good stuff, like weddings or other emotional parties can adversely affect me.  An argument or shouting will have me shaking from head to toe.  

This is why I usually spend the holidays with just my Wonderful Husband.  We have a simple meal and a very calm day.  It's not that I don't enjoy your company, it's just that I do better in more casual situations with smaller groups of people.

Happy Holidays,
YumaBev


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, November 8, 2011

How do I explain Parkinson's Disease to a ............. Cat ?

Cat is a beautiful young lady from West Virginia, USA, who contacted me through Twitter and asked if I could answer some questions about Parkinson's Disease.  I said yes and the emails began, but there was just one problem, Cat is blind, she has been since birth, so describing Parkinson's Disease became a challenge. 

Cat and I have some things in common:  We both have a wicked sense of humor, she wants a T-shirt that says "Don't stare at me, I can't stare back" and I want one that says "What's shaking? besides me?".  We both like Michael J. Fox and would like to meet him someday.  She refers to him as Mr. Fox, because her parents taught her manners and I refer to him as Michael J, because I am older than him. 

We have our differences as well:  She is shy and self-conscious about her looks and I am definitely not shy and don't give a hoot what people think about me, but that comes with age.  I am old enough to be her Mother.
   
Cat "reads" what's on her computer by using software that vocalizes what is on the screen, kind of like Books on Tape.  She read some of my early blog stories and her question was about tremors, were they caused by the Parkinson's or the medicines we take and what is the difference between tremors and dyskinesia?  (There's that really big word, again) 

The first part of the question was easy, tremors are caused by the Parkinson's.  Describing the difference was going to be harder.  This is what I came up with:  

Tremors are like when your hands shake because you are nervous or scared and can be similar to shivering or having the chills when you get a fever.  Shaking hands or fingers can be stopped by sitting on them or if someone else holds them still.

Dyskinesia or The Wiggles, as I call them, are caused by the medicines we take to stop the tremors and are sort of like trying to hold on to a squirming child that does NOT want to be held.  You can't stop it!  If my wonderful husband grabs my moving hand and holds it still, the movement goes to my arm and if he holds both my arm and hand still, the movement goes to my upper body.  Your body is going to move, usually in a rhythmic fashion, almost like rocking, so I just go with it.  Fortunately, it doesn't last long, at least not for me.

A pretty good explanation, right? 


You can find both of us on Twitter, I am @YumaBev and Cat is @gilman_gal.  Give us a Tweet, but be sure to mention this story, so we know how you found us.

By the way,  if any of you know Mr. Michael J. Fox personally, please tell him we said Hello.

PS Cat says that she thinks she prefers blindness over Parkinson's.

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, November 2, 2011

The Halloween Party

I often mention a Parkinson's Disease Chat Room on here and there is a really good reason.  The people on there like to have fun.  They had a party for Halloween night, an online party, anyone with a computer and internet could attend and you didn't even have to leave home.  The host of the party, Steve, played YouTube clips of the Monster Mash and Teen Wolf with Michael J Fox.  We told silly jokes and laughed at our real or Photoshop created costumes and for a little while, we were able to forget we had Parkinson's Disease and just have fun.  


As some of you know, I like to re-write the words to songs, so I wrote a humorous one about a Halloween Party and I picked out costumes for a whole bunch of my online friends.  Then, using their Facebook profile photos and Photoshop, I "put" them in the costumes and made a music video of my song and played it at the Party.  We had some great laughs and I think they all enjoyed it.  Here it is, just for you:


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!