Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Mom and the Wii

This was my mother around 1959 - the same year she married my father. Isn't she a beauty? When she married she had a 19" waist. There was no way I was wearing that dress for my wedding in 1980. Even if I wasn't 4 months "along", it wouldn't have happened. I was small-boned and petite, but not that petite.

Fast forward to 2010. After 20+ years of living with Parkinson's Disease (PD), my mother had pretty much given up hope on any kind of medication helping her. The first prescription they gave her, called Requip, made her hallucinate terribly and do some crazy things. Each day she imagined certain relatives and friends sitting in her living room. She'd ask them questions, but they wouldn't respond — just sit there like zombies. She'd call and ask me why my cousin was in her living room refusing to speak to her. The answer was, my cousin wasn't there. Although she was aware of the possible side effects, it was still unnerving.

Requip also caused her to microwave a couple of TV remote controls. Another day she spread peanut butter on all the burners of her stove and turned on the heat. The burning smell of peanut butter snapped her back to reality. Then late one night she found herself wandering outside her apartment complex. She realized something had to be done. All these scary scenarios were worse than the PD.

Her doctor then prescribed Stalevo. It doesn't cause hallucinations, but it does make her nauseous. Not every day, but most days.

A couple of years ago we were hopeful when her neurology specialist convinced her to try a patch which would deliver the medication slowly, over the course of the day. She tolerated the patches very well, but after several months they were recalled by the manufacturer and she was forced to go back to Stalevo. Since she can't take a strong dosage, her mobility wasn't that great. She still stumbled and had trouble performing the simplest of tasks, like bathing and brushing her teeth. And then there were the bouts of nausea that would set her back for days at a time.

So when my mother saw a news piece on CNN about Parkinson's patients having more mobility after using the Wii, she told me about it. She sounded excited and hopeful. I hadn't heard that kind of excitement in her voice in a long time. It was right before Christmas and I had been agonizing over what to get her. I researched it online and found that studies did indeed suggest that the Wii could be extremely helpful for these patients. I was on board immediately. The Wii came just in time for Christmas, but there wasn't anyone available to help her set it up.

Finally, her sister, J, came over to set up her "Mii" last Sunday and show her how to use it. J called me that night and said how quickly my mom caught on to the game. She said my mom's face lit up and she looked like an 18 year old swinging the remote. Her favorite is the bowling game, and after only 6 days she is playing up to an hour at a time. She's been getting strikes and spares! She is moving around much better, getting compliments from people who haven't seen her in a while. They are astounded at the improvement in her gait and the lack of shaking in her hands.

I must give thanks to God for answered prayer. Many prayers have been lifted on her behalf and I'm convinced that His answer is the Wii. I would never have dreamed that my mother, at 71 years old, with PD, would be into video games. And that the games could help her. That is a true miracle.


Teresa Evangeline said...

LB, I am sooo happy for your mom. A wonderful answered prayer. My mom would have loved WII, especially the baseball game. She was such a fan. She had a Parkinson's like syndrome with an unpronounceable name. She passed in 2000. Very Best Thoughts to you and your mom.

Kittie Howard said...

Belle, you are so filled with love I get goose bumps and thank you for sharing. Your mother's 19" waist was like my mother's. How did they do it? I haven't heard any good stories about Requip and notice it's not advertised as much as before. I'm so happy the Wii helped. Prayers work! Your mother is still a beautiful woman. Hugs!

Heather said...

GOOSEBUMPS!! I work at an assisted living facility & they have a Wii for the residents to use. I've got to say bowling is a favorite of the people there. :o) It really is amazing what good the Wii can do for mobility AND mind! I'm so happy for your mom & the progress she's had in such a short period of time! I hope she continues to enjoy it & the benefits continue to... :o)

Louisiana Belle said...

Teresa, thank you for the kind thoughts. So sorry to hear about your mom; I bet you still miss her greatly. I don't know what to expect as this disease progresses, but anything to delay it, I will do.

Kittie, I don't know how the waists were so small back then. I know for my mom they ate fresh vegetables and fruits from their own gardens and did much more physical labor than we probably do.

Thanks, Heather! Good to know we're on the right track with the Wii. It is such an amazing device, we went out and bought one for ourselves tonight! We all hope and pray that she continues to improve.

I love all you guys. Thank you for the nice words.

Kimberly said...

That is so awesome. Many wishes for continued success of wellness to your mom.

Shelly Rayedeane said...

Thank God for video games. They are often a great way to focus one's thoughts on something else to help one to not dwell on the negative.

Kittie Howard said...

Belle, Mooost happy to hear about the honey cream. Can you send link or do I just Google name?? Left info about how I ordered oil after your's 100% oil...forgot to mention the percentage...Thanks for tip...I got so fed up my dermatologist triple booking, sending in a nurse practitioner (yet charging for full office visit) and so on, I told him I was NEVER returning...and I'm not...will walk barefoot to South Carolina first!

Louisiana Belle said...

Thank you, Kimberly and Shelly. Appreciate it!

Kittie, I posted the link on your last post. :)

Tiffany and the Munchkins said...

That's wonderful! I have heard that lots of people with limited mobility are seeing vast improvements with the Wii. I hope that it continues to help your Mom!

Louisiana Belle said...

Thanks, Tiffany. You are so kind. :)

I will pray for your step dad. Sorry you're having such a hard time right now. *hugs*