The Beat Goes On

Pianist Rita MacFee thought she’d never play again.

“Fourteen years ago my left hand stopped working properly. I learned I have a form of Parkinson’s. I remember sobbing with my duet partner that day.”

Rita resolved to do everything she could to keep active, keep playing the piano and doing everything she loves.

“I researched like crazy. I was searching for hope there was a cure in sight. Looking back, the most valuable thing I started in those early days was exercise. I’ve tried a lot of programs, and they’re all helpful. I still walk or take a class every day. Exercise works!”

Rita, now 80, recognizes it’s also important to accept help. “I’ve always been fiercely independent. Things that don’t fit that vision are hard for me to swallow, but I have people I can count on. My husband is proud I take responsibility for myself, but he’s always ready to help. Also my daughter is nearby and we chat every morning. If either of us needs or wants company, we’re there for each other. I do need to slow down a little bit more now. Lately my back is giving me some trouble and I have to stop and rest. I hate that, but I can do it.”

She’s appreciative of MMC. “Dr. Iyer never gives up. For example, I love to read and I was having double vision. He found a solution involving prisms in my glasses. Who’d have thought? But it works! He’s committed to helping me maintain my quality of life.”

Rita still plays the piano every day, writes poems and journals regularly. “I don’t pretend I don’t have Parkinson’s – I do. But I feel very fortunate, really. Life is good.”

Rita, her daughter and granddaughter

A Note from MMC

This story reinforces a major theme in our care. We focus on what is working in the lives of patients, not what is lost. Joy and purpose are possible if we look in the right place.