Total Pageviews

Monday, June 20, 2016

An Interesting Surprise for Father's Day

My Wonderful Husband and I had just finished eating our breakfast yesterday morning, which was Father's Day here in the USA. I had my usual bowl of cereal and he had eggs and toast. As I was washing the dishes, a strange site greeted me. I saw THIS as I looked out through the kitchen window blinds.

What is it?
Is that a snake in the middle of our street? Or something else? I kept looking as I finished the dishes. A car came around the corner and suddenly stopped. The object was right in front of the car and never moved. I thought they were going to get out but they just looked at my neighbors cacti in bloom and then drove off. I was surprised they did not run over it, whatever "it" was.

Curiosity got the best of me, I had to go look and, of course, I brought my camera and a broomstick with me. It WAS a snake and it was dead. Good thing, because it was a western diamondback rattlesnake! I snapped a quick photo and then decided to move it out of the street, before we both got run over. I used the broomstick, I may be a bit crazy, but I'm not insane. I'm not going to touch a rattlesnake, not even a dead one. 

I've always been sort of a tomboy and am quite curious about all sorts of critters. Once I got it out of the street, I could take a closer look. I have no idea how it died. It was not squashed, so it hadn't been run over. Maybe a roadrunner got it (yes, roadrunners will kill snakes.)   

Roadrunner looking for food
So, how did I know what kind of snake it was? I looked at the tail. See those black and white rings just above the rattles? Those are the markings of a western diamondback. They are quite common in Arizona, although this is the first one I've seen in at least 10 years. 

I measured it and it was just over 2 feet long. They can be as long as 7 feet. After I took photos, I made sure it was out of the way, so any curious children wouldn't find it and came back inside to work on this story.

I went back out this morning to see if it was still there, and there was nothing left, except some scales and the rattles. I don't know what happened to the rest of it. Perhaps an animal hauled it off over night, or maybe an early morning walker took it for its skin, all I know is it's gone. 

The rattles are made of keratin, they same stuff our fingernails are made of. The snakes gain a new rattle each time they shed their skin. Rattlers can shake their rattles 50 times per second and continue it for several hours! And we thought Parkinson's tremors were bad? 

I hope it's at least 10 more years before I see another one, at least one that close to home. 

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali: The Fight He Could Not Win

Yesterday evening, June 3, 2016, I heard the sad news; Muhammad Ali had lost his fight with Parkinson's disease. It had been a very long bout, 32 years long. He had fought a good fight, had always maintained his dignity and he's now at peace. I'm not sure he really lost, I think I would call it a draw.

I credit the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona, for this Parkinson's Humor blog I write. I never met the man, or visited the center named after him, but the staff came to Yuma at the end of March, in 2011 and put on a two-day seminar they called PD-101. I still have my big binder.

I learned more in those two days than I ever heard from my Doctors. I first heard the term "Parkie" at that seminar and I loved it. There were several people with tee-shirts that said "Have you Hugged a Parkie Today?" This made me decide to become a Happy Parkie. 

I also found out Yuma had a support group, which I joined and now lead.

I learned that being wide awake in the middle of the night was a common medication side effect and that there were chat rooms dedicated to Parkinson's where you could talk with other Parkies. Finding one of these chat rooms changed my life. I connected with Parkies from around the world and one in Australia, Karyn, suggested I write down the funny stories I would tell in the chat room and share them online. Hence, this Parkinson's Humor blog was born. 

I actually had an appointment, once, to see a Movement Disorder Specialist (Dr. Santiago) at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. It took several months to get in and my appointment was for January 6th. Unfortunately, in December, my Medicare Advantage provider decided to drop the Muhammad Ali Center from their list of in-network physicians. Without insurance coverage, I could not afford to go and cancelled my appointment. 

Thank you, Mr. Ali, for all you did to help raise awareness of Parkinson's disease, and thanks to the Center named after you for changing my life. Rest in Peace.

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