Monday, March 28, 2011

Traveling with Parkinson's, Part 2

Back home again; it was a bad reason to get together, but at least we WERE together, and we made the most of it.  My mom is doing much better, but she's very tired of being tired, and sore at being sore.  My dad is pretty exhausted too.

I took a redeye flight home; left my parents' house at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, took the 5 a.m. flight to North Carolina, then had to practically RUN to get to my connecting flight on the FAR END of the airport.  I made it just in time, but I was extremely shaky and stiff when I got to the plane.

More traveling tips/observations:

1.) Give yourself plenty of time. Don't book a connecting flight for less than an hour after arriving at the airport.  Better yet, fly nonstop.

2.) If you bring a cane with you, other people will understand that you may need help and will generally cut you some slack.  I didn't have mine, and I got shoved around quite a bit.  Nobody seemed to notice that I was shaky and a little less stable than some.

3.) Bring a small flashlight with you, if you're flying at night.  They sometimes make it so dark in the cabin that there is a real danger of tripping over someone's feet in the aisle.

4.) Get up at least a couple of times, even if it's just to stretch in place, but make sure you're holding on to something in case of turbulence.

In general, I'm pretty proud of myself.  I managed to get myself to my folks' house and back, so that nobody had to pick me up on the trip to NY.  I also managed to get around in unfamiliar territory in an unfamiliar car without getting too lost.  I was able to run errands and whatnot without having to get directions.   I even drove my brother and his wife back to Brooklyn after their visit the first weekend, and made it back to my parents' house on my own (o.k., I had a GPS, but it still counts!).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Planes, trains and automobiles: not much fun for parkies!

What a nightmare! Sitting in a cramped, stuffy, vastly uncomfortable chair for 5 hours used to be just annoying, but now it could be considered torture by some definitions... I left San Francisco at 12:30 a.m., tried to sleep on the plane, slouched over in my built-for-a-six-foot-tall-man seat with the headrest shoving my head forward. My last pill was at 6:00, so I wasn't feeling very well. Wave after wave of alternating tremors and muscle rigidity were crashing over my body. Finally, I decided to just take another pill, so I managed a couple of hours of sleep. Then, when we landed in North Carolina, I had to run to catch my connecting flight, or at least I thought I had to. I was practically running through the airport, staggering under the weight of my heavy carry-on and my winter coat. When I got to the gate, I found out that the flight was an hour later than I thought.. Doh!!!

Things I learned the hard way about traveling with just Old Man Parkinson for a traveling companion (so far):

1) Don't carry too much stuff; better to be bored than overloaded.
2) Put your medication in your carry-on in a readily accessible place.
3) If, like me, you need a cane occasionally, this is the occasion !
4) Don't forget that you're the one who's going to have to lug that suitcase to the rental car place or wherever, so don't overpack

Well the good news is that I got here safe and sound, and my dad and I moved my stepmom back home today; she's doing much better, though she gets tired very quickly, and has a lot of pain to deal with. We all feel very lucky; we could have lost her this time. She must have nine lives, like the proverbial cat! I just hope she continues to improve.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Traveling Alone With Parkinson's

Well, I'm off to New York state tonight; I need to go help my parents out .  To tell the truth, they probably don't really need my help all that much, but when there's an emergency in the family, I just feel better actually seeing people and reassuring myself that they're going to be o.k..  My mom just got out of the hospital, and I want to go and help my dad take care of her and the house and whatnot for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, it's going to be challenging; I leave just after midnight tonight, fly to North Carolina, change planes, then fly to New Jersey.  I get to NJ at around 11:30 in the morning east coast time.  In other words, it's a red-eye, and I'm going to be off my meds most of the time.  I also have to pick up my rental car and drive about an hour to my parents' house.  Thank goodness the snow has melted, and it will be daylight.  The last time I did this, I ended up crossing the George Washington Bridge accidentally and found myself in New York city at 1:00 in the morning.

I have my meds packed in my carry-on, and my cane folded up in my suitcase.  I hope this is going to go o.k.; it all depends on how good a travel companion Old Man Parkinson is. Wish me luck!

About Me

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I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.