Sunday, November 28, 2010

A BIG Wii PROBLEM by David LeSueur

Another GREAT column - lol!! And be sure to visit Dave's Blog:


One of the problems sometimes caused by Multiple Sclerosis is impaired thinking, However, how do you know whether any diminished capacity is caused by MS rather than natural aging? When I was growing up, an uncle told me that when men got old, brain cells (which look like hair) start growing out of your ears. I was always skeptical, but now I think he might have been right. I figure I have trimmed over a foot of brain cells from my ears over the past decade and that would explain a lot.

At what age do we reach our mental peak? When does everything begin to head South? I can only speak for myself, but I know that at age 16 I pretty much knew everything. However, a more realistic self-assessment is that my IQ peaked around age 3 or 4.

I became worried recently because of an experience I had with our Wii. I consider myself technologically adept. I can program the DVR, play several kinds of Solitaire on my laptop, and figure out how to use our cell phones without even reading the instructions. I even sent four text messages this year. But I have had a big problem with our Wii. I wouldn't even have one except my neurologist suggested that playing bowling, tennis and baseball on a Wii would be a fun way to keep my arms strong and improve my coordination. I always follow my doctor's orders, so we ordered the Wii. I may even deduct it as a medical expense on my taxes.

We installed it using our upstairs television but soon decided that it would be better in the basement. So I unhooked it, took all the components downstairs and tried to install it just as I had upstairs. Unfortunately, after several hours of trying various fixes, I couldn't get it to work. I gave up, knowing I would have to consult an expert - my 13-year-old grandson, Matthew. The next time he was over, I asked him to look at what I had done. We went to the basement together. He walked over to the game console, reached for the cord in the back and plugged it into the outlet. Now everything worked! This was very embarrassing.
"You mean I forgot to plug it in?" I asked. Matthew nodded. I explained to him the importance of keeping this between him and me. I didn't want my reputation ruined. He explained to me the importance of a $20 bill to him and we soon reached an agreement.

Six months later, I went to the basement to use the WI and discovered the game controllers weren't working. This is the first time that had happened but I assumed they just needed charging. I looked around but I couldn't see anything that looked like a Wii charger, so I called Matthew to get some help. He wasn't home from school yet, so I asked my daughter what she knew about charging the controllers. She said "I don't know. Don't they just use batteries?"

Batteries! I hadn't even thought of that. I looked at the bottom of the controllers and sure enough, there was a compartment with two AA batteries. I replaced them and to my embarrassment, the controllers worked. I was going to explain to my daughter the importance of keeping secrets between her and me so my reputation would not be ruined, when she said "You've had a bad experience getting this Wii to work, haven't you? Matthew told me about how you forgot to plug it in earlier this year." I decided that I would have to ask Matthew for my money back.

The next time I saw my neurologist, I asked him if there was anything I could do to maintain my cognitive abilities. He gave me some exercises and suggestions but emphasized that I needed to actually do them, rather than just thinking about it. He challenged me to do something right when I got home. I accepted his challenge, and when I got home I took my first steps to maintaining my brainpower. I walked into the bathroom, opened a drawer, picked up the nose and hair clipper and threw it in the trash. You can never have too many brain cells.

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