It’s not a wombat

Is this a Wombat or not?

It’s not a wombat

Hello all:

Are you all up for a change of pace? Today’s information is from a direct observation, possibly more reliable but also open to interpretation.

We’ll meet a very knowledgeable person from Australia (Art) as well as a not so capable person from somewhere else (Mate, not his real name but that’s what he is called by Art). They both work for the BBC, If you want to hear the commentary as well as read it, just click on it. You may have to click 2x once on the icon and next on the long link. Only the BBC has people with the right, deep voice to provide running commentary during a nighttime observation. Just for the record, this is a compliment.

Mate: Hello, are you Art from the BBC?

Art: Right on mate, and who are you?

Mate: I am . . Uh

Art: that’s ok mate, we all have days like that

Mate: I’m here to see the wombat at night

Art: the wombat? where do you think we are?

Mate: in the Zoo in London, are we not?

Art: no, that was last week, this week we’re in Ontario,Canada reporting on Casus Huismanus Parkinsonius a.k.a. Parky

Mate: I want to see a real life Wombat! It’s got to be here. There must be tunnels here too. The BBC does not make mistakes like that

Art: let’s get started

Art: in his best BBC voice:
it’s about 11.30 at night, most of the lights are off, and the female is already in the nest. Here comes the male. He gets into the nest too, it looks pretty cozy and a few words are spoken. Our microphone is too far away to pick up the sounds. The picture is hazy. After a while the female seems to be asleep, and the male also dozes off.

Mate: how often do they mate?

Art: no one knows, they keep that pretty private. Take a break Mate.

2.00 a.m. It is now 2 1/2 hours later:

Art: watch his toes, they are having a party of their own. Up and down, up and down. He’s scratching as well. There is a theory that his dopamine level is very low. He is waking up. His body is very stiff. You take over Mate

Mate: I see him, he’s out of the nest; he’s walking on 2 legs, but he seems very wobbly, he holds on to a closet, then a dresser drawer, then the door. He does not have a tail. I didn’t know wombats could walk on 2 legs.

Art: it’s not a wombat!

Mate: He goes into another room, finds some more clothes, puts them on and now he goes downstairs. I didn’t know Wombats could lay out extra clothing ahead of time. They must be more intelligent than dolphins. I wonder if they can swim?

Art: They are reasonably smart, some can swim,  but he’s not a wombat!

Mate: now he goes downstairs, grabs a walking cane and goes into the kitchen. Turns on a nightlight. Looks around, checks the time and goes into yet another room. He sure knows where everything is. There is a humongous chair, what will he do? He goes right up to the chair, sits in it and then pushes some buttons and, I don’t believe it, the chair turns into a bed. The male goes to sleep again. Wombats can use push buttons; what a discovery, wait till the world hears about this! These wombats must be more intelligent than chimpanzees!

Art: it is not a wombat. Get me a coffee mate, it’s going to be a long night.

4.00 a.m. 2 hours later.

Mate: he’s on the move again, can’t stay in one place too long I guess.

Art: has to do with this illness called Parkinson’s. See how he is stretching to regain control of his body. He is walking quite stooped now. During the day, it’s not so bad because of dopamine based medication. Some of them also shake and have uncontrollable arm or head movements.

Mate: he’s back in the kitchen, o my, he opens the fridge and takes out a pudding. While the door was open I think I saw some hamburgers and milk. I thought Wombats were strictly herbivores?

Art: they are not herbivores, they are not Wombats

Mate: don’t get too close, they are pretty strong, look at their claws; see that, make great tunnels. But the claws are different in this one.

Art: Those are not claws, they don’t dig tunnels and THEY ARE NOT WOMBATS1

Mate: how do you know?

Art: I’m from Australia, I know my Wombats from my Wallabies

Mate: he’s just aimlessly wondering around. Now he sees something to read, he sits down, then quickly gets up again. He can’t concentrate. He is having a hard time, hanging on to the table, but there he is. Stands up against the door to try to stretch out again.

5.00 a.m. 1 hour later

Mate: the male has laid down several times but never for very long, couldn’t keep his legs from wanting to move. Until just now, now he is asleep again. Ok, we may as well get a few winks too.

6.30 a.m. 1 1/2 hours later

Art: Mate wake up. The male is up and looking for his pills, seems to still be dozy. Finally, the pill is in. He opens his IPad and checks the news along with email. Fiddles around for half an hour, goes upstairs in the spare bedroom, lays down. The clock says 7.15 a.m. lays down and goes to sleep.

Mate: this creature is totally different than what I thought about Wombats. What are they called?
Art: They are human beings just like you and I; only sometimes they shake, or make strange movements; there are other things. We treat them with respect and care, just like anyone else.

Mate: now I get it, so the only thing they have in common is that they are both marsupials, I wonder if there’s a Joey in that pouch

Art: no, no no. Listen up ……..

8.00 a.m. 45 minutes later

Art: see, he is awake again, but seems more alert and more steady. He takes another pill.: o.k. I’ll take the tape off your mouth, Don’t say a word or go anywhere near the humans

Art and Mate leave. A new day has arrived in Ontario. What’s for breakfast? Well, that is a whole other story.

I hope you enjoyed this way of learning a bit about the semi-insomnia many people with Parkinson’s experience on a daily basis for many years.

When Jan and I went to our first PD conference, we were in a room with a table full of PD experts and a room full of people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers. Jan asked a question about dealing with irregular sleep. The whole room burst out laughing and the moderator said something like “if you figure that out, please let us know.”

Since then, we learned that people with Parkinson’s almost always have problems with sleep, either too much or too little.There are many suggestions; in fact whole books have been written about what is called sleep hygiene. Off the top of my head I remember don’t go looking at your screens I.e. computer and smart phone, don’t eat during the night, use a reddish nightlight rather than a blue, don’t read or watch anything too exciting, let go of any thoughts through meditation or prayer, don’t sleep during the day.

Have I followed these guidelines? Yes, I mean no, I really mean sometimes. I try to but occasionally stumble, I think the hardest one is to let go of any thoughts. I have heard others speak about this too; if only our minds had an off switch. I probably sleep more during the day than I should, but it’s hard not to excuse that by saying something like “I’m just catching up with my sleep”. Anyway, good night to all. See you next time.

  1. Above is a picture of a real Wombat, maybe you learned something of them too.

About The Author

Casey Huisman

My name is Casey Huisman a.k.a. Cees Huisman. I live in Ontario, Canada. Married to Jan. Large family with several children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Siblings and mother are in the Netherlands. Retired from St. Clair College since 2016. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006. Participate in The Gathering Place Community Church. Supporter of Community Living’s goals of inclusion and empowerment. Usually easy to get along with.