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Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Story from KSWT TV News

I did a TV interview about Parkinson's Disease. 

Sorry, but the video is no longer available.

So, here is the print story:


One local blogger affected by Parkinson's in the Desert Southwest helps thousands of people across the world cope with the disease by using humor. Some call this blogger YumaBev while others call her the jewel in the desert.

Her name is Beverly Ribaudo, a year round Yuma resident who has been diagnosed with young onset Parkinson's disease and writes about her experiences in a comical way.

Her blogsite is called Parkinson's Humor.

Telling tub story
"Instead of telling them the story about me getting stuck in a bath tub, and making it scary, I decided to make it funny. So I told them how the fire men that came to rescue me were all good looking and how I was looking forward to getting a bath everyday, so all the good looking fire men could come and rescue me," says Ribaudo. (Link to the tub story Rub a dub dub)
Ribaudo says initially she only shared her stories with about 6 people, and they forwarded her blogs to more friends and before she knew it, thousands of people worldwide were logging on and reading her stories.
"It seems like lately I've had a lot of readers from Europe and Eastern Europe, like Russia and it's strange because every time I see a new country, sometimes I have to look it up on a map to see where it is," says Ribaudo.

Ribaudo says she blogs about twice a week but says typing is difficult and can be time consuming for her because of the disease, but says the readers keep her motivated.

"They write to me and they contact me and they tell me that it made them laugh, or that they were having a really bad day and when they read one of my stories it made them feel better. So when you get inspiration like that, it's hard to not keep doing it," says Ribaudo.

Ribaudo is not only a blogger but also a song writer.

Friends of hers say they look forward to karaoke at local bars because Ribaudo writes funny lyrics to sing to common tunes.

Even people who don't suffer from Parkinson's also follow Ribaudo's blog. She says people going through any hard time or just people who need a laugh often read her stories.

Ribaudo encourages any one who is suffering from Parkinson's to join the Yuma Parkinson's support group. The group meets the first Monday of the month. 

Marie Hamill, KSWT news


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, January 24, 2012

Singing for Parkinson's Disease

Sylvia singing
Monday afternoon is karaoke time for me. Bob & Sylvia host it at a 55+ RV park not far from my home. I am under 55, but since it is open to the public, I am allowed to join in. I am the only Parkie who comes, but there is a lady with Essential Tremor who also attends, so I am not the only singer with shaking hands.

Bob wearing a halo
The people seem to look forward to my humorous song parodies and I have done 1 or 2 that I wrote about Parkinson's disease. Bob will usually say "Here comes YumaBev, I wonder what surprise she has for us today".  Last week I shocked everyone by singing the real words to a song. They clapped, but I think they were a tad disappointed. I will sing my song parodies from now on.

I sing at karaoke for several reasons.  

1. It gets me out socially. Too many Parkies hide from people because they are self-conscience. No one has ever said anything mean to me, most are supportive.
2. Singing is good exercise for our voices.
3. Singing is fun. Fun is good for everyone.
4. No one sings like the professionals do and no one cares that I sing off-key.  I have never been booed nor had tomatoes thrown at me.  
Every one claps for everyone. We dance and Bob puts on silly costumes to fit the song being sung. We laugh and have a great time!


Here is the video clip of me singing at karaoke. The song is about a runaway golf cart and it based on a true story. If you look, you can see both of my hands are shaking badly, and afterwards, the woman approaching me asks if a music stand would help me.  They all now know I have Parkinson's and encourage me, not discourage me.

  

I advise every Parkie to sing everyday. You don't need karaoke discs, just turn on the radio or type a song you like into an internet search engine and sing along.  Sing loud, sing strong, sing in the shower and sing while you do laundry. Singing will help you keep the ability to speak. Sing! Sing! Sing!  

PS And its FUN!

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!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Exercise helps Parkinson's Disease

Do I exercise?  Exercise is a "four letter word" to me and I really don't know how to answer this question when I am asked. 

Morning stretches
I walk around the house early in the morning standing on my tiptoes with my arms stretched towards the ceiling, but I wouldn't call it exercise.  I'm just trying to un-kink all the tightness in my body caused by the Parkinson's Disease and sleeping in the same position all night. 




I dance to music, but that's fun, not exercise.  

I usually park my car at the far end of the parking lot and grab the nearest cart to help me get to the store, but that's because I don't want the car to get dinged, not for exercise.  

At night, while we watch TV, I stretch my arms above my head and out to the side with fingers stretched wide, to un-kink myself before I go to bed, but not for exercise. 

Walking with neighbors
I walk every morning with my neighbors, but I don't consider it exercise.  We talk and laugh and stop to visit with anyone who is outside so it's more like a social outing.  



I walk from room to room in my house, a LOT, but it's because I can't remember WHY I went into the kitchen, not for exercise.  

So, I guess the answer is no, I don't exercise, but I know I should.  I will start tomorrow, I won't have time today, I have to walk with the neighbors, do
Dancing with Erv
laundry, go grocery shopping, and I promised my 80+ something neighbor Erv that I'd teach him how to waltz (he thinks it will help him pick up gals at the senior center) and later is karaoke, but tomorrow, I will start exercising tomorrow, I promise!


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, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. Muhammad Ali

Dear Mr. Muhammad Ali,


Happy Birthday!  I hope you have a wonderful day.  You live just a few hours away from me, in Phoenix Arizona, and I doubt that I will ever meet you, but you are my inspiration.  You have never complained about having Parkinson's Disease.  You take it in stride and go with the flow.  You seem upbeat and have a sense of humor.  The way you handle being a Parkie is exactly the way I try to handle it and it is an honor to be included in the same Club Parkinson's as you.

Sincerely yours,

Yuma Bev Ribaudo

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, January 14, 2012

How do I describe a Fox to a Cat?

I talked to Cat today.  She is my Twitter friend who is blind.  Cat had a birthday recently, she is 25 and I am almost 52, but when we talk or Tweet, I don't feel any age difference.  Maybe it's because the numbers are the same?

Cat wearing sunglasses
I often wonder what she looks like and I have a picture in my head.  Her Mom could send me a photo and then I would know for sure, but even though my "face" is all over in this blog, Cat can only guess what I look like. 

Despite the fact that I am old enough to be her Mom and we live on opposite sides of the country and I have Parkinson's Disease and she is blind, we have a lot in common.

We hate it when people feel sorry for us, being blind is normal for her and being a Parkie is now normal for me, so please help us get up if we fall down, but don't feel sorry for us.  

We don't understand people who whisper behind our backs, things like "Oh, I think she's blind" or "Look at her arm jerking".  Hey, you rude morons, we are NOT DEAF!

We think political correctness has gone too far.  She's blind, not visually challenged and I'm a Parkie, not movement challenged.  

We both have bad days but prefer to laugh them off and have fun and we both sing, though I think she can actually carry a tune. 

Cat is curious about Parkinson's and I answer all her questions as best I can.  One of the funniest questions she asked me was "Could a person with Parkinson's guide a blind person?"  She had read about my dyskinesia and wondered whether a Parkie would be able to steer her safely.  I laughed and promised that I would not "guide" her into a telephone pole and that I only wobble sometimes.  

One of the hardest questions she asked was "Can you describe what Mr. Fox (Michael J) looks like?"  Now folks, this is the truth, I am the least observant person I know.  A good friend shaved his beard off and I did not notice.  I don't notice new glasses or haircuts.  I can't even tell you what my Wonderful Husband is wearing and I just ate lunch with him sitting right across from me.  So, describing Mr. Fox was going to be a challenge. 

I found a video of him doing a recent TV guest spot and I paused it on a close up of him.  I described the shape of his face, nose, mouth and eyes.  I said he was short and still looked like a 20-something kid.  I described his hair as straight and it was in a normal man's style.  She wrote back and said that now she knows exactly what he looks like.  It's a good thing, because if I had to describe him right now, to a sketch artist, the drawing might come out looking like this!


Cat calls me her Parkie Guide and I like it.  Only problem is people keep asking her what kind of dog a Parkie is.  I always thought of myself as a cat or a horse, not a dog, but I can bark if needed.  Woof!

PS Look up Cat on Twitter and say hello, she is @gilman_gal.

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, January 8, 2012

What if Elvis had been a Parkie?

Today is Elvis' birthday and, as far as I know, he did NOT have Parkinson's Disease.  Yesterday, my friend Mickie had an Elvis party in the chat room and last night at my neighbor George's birthday party we were talking about Elvis.  So, I woke up this morning and wondered what his songs would have been like if he had Parkinson's and I came up with some humorous results.  See for yourself.

ALL SHOOK UP - original lyrics

A well I bless my soul               
What's wrong with me?  
I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree          
My friends say I'm actin wild as a bug          
I'm in love                      
I'm all shook up                      
Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!          

My hands are shaky and my knees are weak      
I can't seem to stand on my own two feet          
Who do you thank when you have such luck?      
I'm in love                  
I'm all shook up                      
Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah!      

ALL SHOOK UP - Parkie version

Oh my goodness
What's wrong with me?
My hands are shaking like leaves on a tree
My friends say I'm walking like I'm a drunk
I'm a Parkie
I'm all shook up
Mm mm oh oh yeah yeah

My legs are wobbly and my voice is weak
I can't seem to coordinate my two feet
What do you think is causing all this junk?
I'm a Parkie
I'm all shook up
Mm mm oh oh yeah yeah


ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT - original lyrics

Are you lonesome tonight?               
Do you miss me tonight?              
Are you sorry we drifted apart?              
Does your memory stray               
to a brighter sunny day?                  
When I kissed you and called you sweetheart?  

ARE YOU TREMBLING TONIGHT - Parkie version

Am I trembling tonight?
Does it give you a fright?
Are you sorry that you married me?
Do my wiggling arms
cause you much harm
when I kiss you and miss you completely?


BLUE SUEDE SHOES - original version

Well, it's one for the money              
Two for the show                  
Three to get ready                  
Now go, cat, go                      

But don't you      
Step on my blue suede shoes          
Well, you can do anything              
But lay off of my blue suede shoes          

Well, you can knock me down              
Step in my face                  
Slander my name                  
All over the place                  

Well, do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh      
Honey, lay off of my shoes          
And don't you                  
Step on my blue suede shoes              
Well, you can do anything              
But lay off of my blue suede shoes      

VELCRO SHOES - Parkie version

Well, it's one pill at seven
Two more at eight
Three more at noon
and I still shake

So won't you
Put on my Velcro shoes
Well, I can't do anything
so put on my Velcro shoes

I can't comb my hair
or shave my face
my hands are shaking
all over the place

I used to do anything I wanted to do but uh uh
Honey, help me with my shoes
Please help me
put on my Velcro shoes
I can't do anything
so help me put on my Velcro shoes



Yes, I could have come up with more, but I think you get the picture.  Hmm, maybe that wild jerky dancing he did was Parkinson's........ nah, he would have been too young.


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, January 6, 2012

Thank You

getting my hair done
Thank You.  Those are two words that we use a lot in our daily lives.  We say it to strangers who open doors for us, we say it to the person who styles our hair, our neighbors and even our Doctors, but how often do you say it to your family?

When is the last time you said Thank You to your spouse, partner, or caregiver and really meant it? 

When my Wonderful Husband and I got married 26 years ago, we decided to treat each other as best friends as well as spouses.  We never say bad things about each other to anyone and we say Thank You to each other often.    

Since this thing called Parkinson's Disease entered our lives, many things have changed, but our appreciation for each other hasn't.  He Thanks me for still being able to take care of the laundry and bills and I Thank him for taking out the trash and helping with the floors (both of which were my jobs before PD).  I also Thank him for cooking (which he is excellent at) and all the other tons of stuff he does.  

Neither one of us contemplated that I would be the one who needed taking care of.  I am 20 years younger than him.  But he never complains and neither do I.  I know couples who are in similar situations and the care giver feels cheated and the one needing care is mean and hateful and yet both of them would never be that way to a friend.  It's no ones fault that a serious illness comes into your lives, so don't blame anyone, especially the person you married. 

Yesterday, a neighbor said to my Wonderful Husband that he is amazed at how optimistic I am and last night, my Wonderful Husband said he wondered how life would be if I wasn't.  I said "I hope we never find out".  Now, go and say Thank You to your care partner and give them a great big Hug while you are at it.  

And Thank You to everyone who reads this.

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, January 3, 2012

Charting Parkinson's Disease

Most of us with Parkinson's Disease make the same mistake when we go to see our Neurologist.  We have a conversation like this:
Doctor:  How are you doing?    Patient:  Fine   
Doctor: (to himself, then why are you here?)  

Sounds like the start of a humorous joke, doesn't it?  It does, but it's not funny.

I used to have conversations like this with my Neurologist until I realized that I have to know EXACTLY what is going on with my body so that I can report properly.  

About a week before my last appointment, I made a symptom chart and marked on it every hour or so as to what exactly was going on with me.  To make it simple, I made columns that depicted my various problems and chose a number between 1 and 10 to depict how I felt.  I also noted when I woke up, took meds, ate, napped, and other general feelings.   

This is what my blank chart looked like:
Clicking on this pic will make it larger


I made it using Works, which is the database software on my old PC, but you can use anything.  There might even be an app for your phone.  I would have written it on a piece of paper, but my writing is worse than any Doctor's.

After a few days, I noticed some unusual things:  

I would get a headache when my medicine started wearing OFF, then a stiff neck.  These both disappeared when I was ON. (if you don't know what ON & OFF mean, read Learning the Parkie Lingo)

I was wearing OFF after about 4 hours but taking doses 6 hours apart and it was taking about 90 minutes after a pill to feel ON again, so I was OFF about 7-8 hrs a day.  

When I was OFF, my nose would be all clogged up but I could breathe just fine when I was ON.  

I always felt better right after sleeping or eating a chocolate chip cookie.  I thought about just eating cookies, but then I'd get fat and my Wonderful Husband would leave me for a skinny Parkie.

I  might not have ever noticed these things had I not taken the time to chart exactly how I felt during the day.

I reported all of this (well, I left out the cookie part) to my Neurologist (who was very impressed) and we, yes we, decided to lower the strength of the medicine I was taking and increase the number of pills I take.  I went from taking three 150's a day (6 hrs apart) to taking five 100's a day (4 hrs apart) and I increased my ON time to almost the whole day and I am only taking 50mg more dopamine type medicine.

Consider charting yourself before your next Neurology visit and pay real close attention to how you feel after eating a chocolate chip cookie (maybe I have found a cure).


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!

Monday, January 2, 2012

How this Parkie ended 2011

My final day of 2011 started when I woke up at 2:30 am, so I went online and watched it turn 2012 in Samoa while I chatted with Kevin in Australia, Cat in West Virginia and Samantha in England.  After about an hour, I got sleepy and went back to bed and zonked out.  I didn't wake up until 8:15 am, so I missed my first batch of pills for the day by over 2 hours and for the first time in years, I missed getting to see the sunrise.  

My Wonderful Husband took me out to lunch at my favorite restaurant, Famous Dave's BBQ and we had the best meal and then Mimi, the manager, stopped by to say hello and wish us a Happy New Year.  Mimi is the greatest.

On the way home, my Wonderful Husband said, Why don't we have a party tonight and invite the neighbors over?  This surprised me because we both always worked on New Year's Eve, so a party was usually the last thing either one of us wanted to do.  I said sure, but it's kind of last minute, they probably all have plans.  He gave them a call and all said yes, they'd love to come for a party. 


Pizza, pizza, pizza
We had pizza and beer and wine and it looked like a frat party when it started.  But then we all got full and just sat around talking.  Next thing we knew, Dick Clark came on TV and the ball started to drop.  We had eaten all the pizza, polished off a bottle of wine and more than a few beers and stayed awake until it was midnight in New York.  
We all
Dick Clark
hugged each other and said Happy New Year and clinked our glasses.  Then we realized that we were all tired, so our guests headed off toward their various homes. 

On his way out, a new neighbor said to me "I think you might have had a little too much tonight".  He thought that my staggering walk was because I was drunk!  I just winked at him and said "You might be right!"  He doesn't know about the Parkinson's Disease yet and he'll be surprised, if he reads this story, to find out all I drank all night was plain old water!

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!