Traveling with Parkinson’s


Some of you know that we just got back from a car trip to Washington State. That poses a few problems when you’re traveling with Parkinson’s Disease.

The first thing we had to do was decide how many miles we thought we could comfortably do in one day, since sitting for long stretches of time is very uncomfortable for me — and my buddy Parkinson’s.

I get to hurting all over and get antsy and have to get out and do something. We decided we could do 200 miles and get out often. Sometimes, especially on interstates, the rest stops are few and far between, so we had to go long distances without stopping. We used to go as far and in whatever direction we wanted and then jump out and find a motel to stay in.

For the past several years I’ve booked motels ahead of time and I know where they are beforehand, so we can go right to them at the end of the 200 miles. It’s worked out pretty well from that aspect. We only had one bad motel out of the lot and we stayed in about 12 or so motels on this last trip.

On the first day out we stopped in Cameron on the Navajo reservation. There is a trading post there and a motel and restaurant also. That was one of the cleanest, most pleasant rooms we booked the whole trip, so we decided to stay there on the way home also. The people were great, the food was delicious, and the room was spacious and clean. On one side was a garden and the other was the canyon of the Little Colorado River.

We forgot and left a phone charging cord there in the room and they sent it on to me, so when we got to where we were going, it was there ahead of me. If you’ve never been to Cameron, you owe it to yourself to do it sometime. Just take a weekend to rest and relax. It’s the land of “time enough and room enough.”

A few days into the trip I had my second encounter with how nice and helpful most everyone in the world is. I was having a great deal of difficulty getting around (which sometimes happens when I get too tired) and Manuel was having to walk everywhere with me so I wouldn’t fall down. We stopped at a rest stop to use the facilities, and as usual he took me up to the women’s restroom and opened the door for me to go in and—then—I froze in the doorway and couldn’t go any farther without someone to hold me up. (Freezing in doorways is a common problem with Parkinson’s.)

He couldn’t go in because there were women in there. As luck would have it, there were a couple of young ladies, probably in their 30’s in the restroom and they saw my predicament. They both came over to me and asked if I needed help and I said I did, so one of them grabbed my arm on one side and one on the other and they proceeded to march me over to the handicap stall and then into it and plunk me down.

Then they told me that when I was ready, they would come get me. I hollered at them and they came right away. Once again one grabbed my arm from either side and proceeded to march me over to wash my hands and then laughing and talking a blue streak to me about anything and everything they proceeded to march me back out of the restroom (I didn’t even have time to freeze in the doorway), and after asking me which car was mine they took me back to the car with Manuel following along behind.

They were so nice and helpful, and they didn’t make me think I was pitiful or anything. They were just super people. They told me their names too, but I’ve forgotten them. I don’t know anything else about them except how nice they were to me. There really are a lot of kind people in the world. I’m finding that out more all the time.

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