It’s fair to say that I am in the midst of a particularly bad flare up of Parkinson’s symptoms.  I’ve spent the majority of the last three days in bed; the cocoon of my duvet and the unrequited promise of sleep.  At times, I thought this hostile flare up might never come to an end.  Thankfully, today it has started to ease.  It is incredible just how you can be going contentedly about life with a usual level of symptoms; managing them well, and then BAM.  It can seem as if some great truck smashes into me.  I am knocked down by the sheer brute force of it.

     I’m a very easy going person.  I don’t grumble about it, particularly. I take more of an objective approach and I become my own observer.  I notice the way this pernicious disease has an effect upon me.  I tend to just take myself off to bed and sleep as much as possible.  Kevin, my husband, is always kind and supportive and I tend not to need or ask for much of anything.  I simply withdraw and become absent until the worst of it is over.

      Distraction helps. I read.  I watch videos on subjects of interest.  I watch tv shows and films.  I pick up my phone and dabble with creating digital art and, this time, I have been testing out a number of digital art and creativity apps.  My family will no doubt roll their eyes at the videos I’ve been sending them.  Videos using creativity apps such as JibJab; putting our faces from photos onto the bodies of dancers and singers.  Well, it made me chuckle.  A light hearted approach to the antagonism of Parkinson’s is, I find, the best approach.  Where the Parkinson’s is concerned, being creative in any way is a great distraction.  It helps me.  It is my lifeboat on days when I feel the ship is listing.  I thought I may as well give a review of some of the art and creativity apps I’ve used this challenging time, to explore.

Jib Jab. 
This app is amusing to use.  I found that it was enjoyable to put the faces of myself and family members into dance and music videos.  Silly fun, perhaps, but when your body is a hellish place to exist, it makes for a fun distraction.  That said, I concluded that there is really no value in subscribing to Jib Jab, for there is limited ability to share/post on your creations.  This is due to the fact that pretty much most of the music in the videos is subject to copyright.  When sharing the videos via Facebook, Messenger or You Tube, for example, I was just hit with messages informing me that my video would be blocked and not accessible to viewers due to music copyright.  Well, for anyone creative, if you cannot share the majority of your creations, then there is little value in creating them in the first place.  So, for me this app is really of little value and I deleted it.

Some of my cousins:

Cartoon Face.
Another app that offers a good creative experience for anyone looking to see how they can explore other ways to present their imagery from photos.  A good concept, offering a variety of cartoon styles.  This app also offered a nice distraction to my Parkinson’s symptoms but, for me, the length of time that it took for each photo to be ‘cartoonised’ rendered the app rather useless, overall.  I checked my available memory on my phone.  I have tons of available memory space and our internet connection was at its best, so there was no evident cause from my end, as to the slow process of the app.  In a nutshell, this app was not suitable for me, given how slow it performed.

My Talking Pet.
Another fun, light hearted app that is pretty much guaranteed to make even the most persistently poe-faced people chuckle!  It worked as a distraction so, if like me you have a chronic health condition or for those with mental health difficulties, as a distraction it worked well.  From a creative point of view, the app offers the chance to make simple, brief videos out of photos of a beloved pet.  I got Kevin to say something cheeky and added it to the picture of Digby, one of our dogs.  It was amusing and I posted it onto Facebook, where it has clearly caused a few people to have a smile or chuckle.  We need smiles and chuckles in our world, so that is a good outcome, I feel.  Simple to use, quick, efficient and fun.  I recommend this app and it offers a more creative way to make a fun post on social media.  For any pet lover, it is a great way to capture the character of your pet and that in itself will be a joy to look back on, long after the pet is no longer with us.

Digby: (Warning: swear words used).

Face App.
Once you dismiss the hysteria in the increasingly ludicrous ‘conspiracy’ based media which, in this case reports that this app is run by sinister Russians who use the app to access every detail about your life and may invade your life, home and country as a result of using it, you will no doubt find this is a very good app.  It offers a creative person, or frankly anyone interested in their photos of people’s faces, a simple, effective and clever way of making changes to a face.  You can, for example, add make-up, change a hairstyle, add spectacles, alter features and even advance the age of the subject.  Whether you are prone to believe every conspiracy theory you read or not, you really ought to give this app a go and play around with some of your photos.  I would add, as someone who enjoys making portraits, that this app is a great way to simply explore characteristics in the photo of any portrait subject you are intending to paint/draw.

     In the hours when the worst of my symptoms hit, exploring creative apps worked well in distracting me from the pain, discomfort and distress that Parkinson’s causes me on difficult days.  I find that I cannot only watch tv or only read.  I have an active mind and, when my body is not working or is suffering, I still need to occupy my mind.  I also like how you can use these apps as a way to stay in touch with people in your life, by creating something they may chuckle at, or roll their eyes at, too.  Well, at least they know I was thinking of them, whatever their reactions will be.

       Meanwhile, it is time to contact my Neurologist and let him know of my flare up of symptoms.  I have been unable to meet him, in-person, for my scheduled half yearly review.  This was conducted by telephone, instead and we had agreed that we would hold off reviewing my medication until we can meet in-person after the Cornoavirus lockdown.  I suspect that I may now need to seek a medication review.

(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2020.


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