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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

YumaBev goes Jeeping

I went Jeeping in the desert with my Wonderful Husband three days last week. Now, that may not sound like something worth writing about, but it is. You see, going out Jeeping is something I would never have attempted prior to my DBS  surgery. Why?
1. Climbing in and out of a Jeep would have been a near impossibility.
2. Bouncing around would have jarred my rigid body too much.
3. I would not have been able to relax, and my Parkinson's symptoms would be aggravated.

Driftwood Jeepers

Most of our Jeep group are couples and my Wonderful Husband is one of the few singles. I don't mind his going alone, but this past week was different. Valentine's Day fell on Thursday, which is Jeep day. I assumed they would cancel Jeeping, but no, they did just the opposite. They planned a special Cupid trip and they wanted ME to come along!

Large saguaro cactus
Jeeping is an all day event and I was worried, so we took a trial run with one of our neighbors on Tuesday. I did fine, until the last time I climbed back into the Jeep. I miscalculated and bonged my back on the door frame. Ouch! It left an ugly bruise, but I was fine by the next day.

Thursday morning arrived and I was ready; sort of. I was still nervous about spending ALL day in the desert. We packed some lunch and took off. The first part of the trip was fairly smooth. When we stopped for lunch; "Cupid" gave all us girls silk roses, heart shaped plastic rings and heart shaped candy. Then "Cupid" had another surprise; a cake! So, there we were, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sand and cacti, eating cake. It was fun.

Valentine's cake, in the desert

After lunch, the group split up. Most took the more challenging and bumpy route back home. We went back the way we came and another Jeep with first-timer passengers came with us. I had survived a whole day in the desert. An hour or so later, all 24 of us went out for dinner. It was a good day and I was glad to spend it with my Wonderful Husband and all our friends.

Others taking a bumpier route

A few days later, I went out again; just hubby and me, this time. They are building a new solar electrical plant in the desert nearby and he took me over to see it. It was interesting.

Our little jeep

Will I go again? Probably not for awhile. But it is nice to know that I CAN go.

PS This was the most exciting part of the trip. Look closely. Do you see the person climbing up the rock? No, it is NOT my Wonderful Husband, it's someone else's.
Rock climbing neighbor
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Young Onset Parkinson's Disease Awareness Film

As a person with Young Onset Parkinson's disease, it aggravates me when people, especially those in the medical profession, makes comments that I am too young to have Parkinson's. "NO, I AM NOT," I want to shout, at the top of my lungs. I know most people think of Parkinson's as an elderly person's disease. Many think Michael J. Fox is a rarity or quite possibly the only one, but he isn't. There are hundreds of thousands of Young Onsets in the world, maybe millions, and yet, we remain hidden and ignored. The sketch below is how Parkinson's is depicted in Medical an old man.

My goal for 2013 is to raise awareness of Young Onset Parkinson's disease, so I made a slide-show type film for the American Brain Foundation's 2013 Neuro Film Festival.  

I asked and received permission from 46 individuals to use their photographs and personal stories in my film. I was shocked by how long it took many of them to get diagnosed properly. I thought my eight year journey was unusual, but it seemed to be the norm. Many were told the exact same things: you drink too much caffeine, you are just under stress, you don't get enough sleep, you are too young to have Parkinson's or my favorite; it's all in your mind.

My film is simple: a slide show with narration, no fancy cinematography, no high tech graphics, no custom music, but I think it makes a good point. All those smiling faces are Young Onset Parkinson's patients. 

Please help me spread awareness about Young Onset Parkinson's disease by watching and sharing my film. 
To watch my film, use this link:  Not our Father's Parkinson's  or view it below.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Movie Night at YumaBev's

My Wonderful Husband and I both became Classic Movie fans in the mid to late-seventies, but for totally different reasons. He used to watch them to unwind AFTER work and I used to watch them to stay awake AT work. I worked as an attendant at the Orlando Airport parking lot. This was back in the days when the Orlando, Florida airport was about the size of the Yuma, Arizona one now, just four gates and a parking lot that held about 300 cars.

I used to work the overnight shift on Bob’s days off. The last flight came in around 2 am, and the first one in morning didn't leave until 6 am, so there were about four hours with nothing to do. We had to take inventory; write down the tag numbers of all the cars in the lot, but that only took 30 minutes. So, to stay awake, I watched Bob’s 12-inch TV. This was pre-cable or satellite dish and believe it or not, there was only one TV station in Orlando that ran anything but the test pattern after midnight. This station ran old movies; from the forties & fifties. Bob’s TV was black & white, but so were most of the movies, and so I became hooked.
TV station test pattern

Fast forward to 2013; all of my neighbors have owned RV's, some still do. One of them was telling a story recently about how his wife hauled almost 500 pounds of rocks back up north one year in their Motorhome. This reminded my Wonderful Husband and me of an old 1953 movie starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz called The Long, Long Trailer.

We ordered a DVD of it online and had a movie night at our house. There were 13 of us and even though I have seen this movie many times, most had only seen it once (probably when it was new) or not at all. They knew the premise of the movie; too many rocks in a camper, so they all showed up carrying rocks as their price of admission! This was going to be fun, and it was.
They brought rocks for tickets

Sharon brought a huge paper bag filled with fresh popped popcorn, Nancy brought traditional “Movie Theater” candy and Jeri brought peanuts. We made sure everyone could see and hear. The movie began and so did the laughter and squeals of “OH, NO!” “Look out!” and “These people are crazy!” I’m not sure which I enjoyed most; watching the movie or watching the others.

If laughter can extend your life, then we added quite a few years to each of ours in those 103 minutes. Keep an eye out for it, on one of the Classic Movie channels, and have a few laughs yourself; who knows, you might become a Classic Movie fan, too.

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