"My condition is not and act to get help or sympathy"

Name: Naomi Smith
Date of visit: May/04 Home: Alice Springs, Australia
Parkinson's Status: Patient
Diagnosed 1994
Major Symptoms: Weakness, balance

Naomi Smith and Todd Borgie
Naomi Smith & Todd Borgie, 2004

Naomi Smith first came to Australia in 1951. Working as a nurse, she moved to Sydney from the UK, and then finally made her way to Alice Springs.

Looking back, her first indicator of an onset of Parkinson's was 14 years ago when she was brushing her teeth. She found that her hand would no longer obey her desires to produce the normal up-and-down and side-to-side brush movements required for proper brushing. She didn't know anyone else who had Parkinson's Disease when she was officially diagnosed with it 10 years ago.

She has a somewhat confusing case of Parkinson's that has been labeled "Fluctuating Parkinson's Disease." She feels almost no affects of the disease (besides the weakness) in the morning between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., but then she feels more tired and weaker as the day wears on. Other signs of her disease include her fleeting voice, lack of depth perception, and declining ability to use her facial muscles, giving off the false impression she is disinterested or bored.

Parkinson's disease has weakened her body, slowly taking away her ability to read. Although her eyes are fine, she does not have the strength to hold a book in her hand, and when she can, she struggles to turn the pages. Although she misses reading, she loves to watch movies, two of her favorites being "Thelma and Louise" and "Out of Africa."

Strongly independent, as shown by her life choices, she wants the public to know that this disease is real and is not an act. She would be happy to do everything herself if she just had the strength to do it. Now, she needs help.