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My Parkinson's Journey

In which Terri shares a humorous look at her journey with Parkinson's disease and Dystonia:

For me, illness and health are not opposites but exist together. Everyone has something that is challenging to them. Mine just simply has a recognizable name. My life will take a different path because of this but that's okay. Everyone has changes in their lives that create their path.  I'm learning how to enjoy whatever path I'm on.

Ikea Overload

Terri Reinhart

We needed a new light fixture for our kitchen and had tried most of the stores in our area without finding what we wanted or could afford. Then we looked at the Ikea store website. Good selection, affordable, this looked like our best bet. We had heard a lot about this store and there was certainly a lot of excitement when it opened in Centennial, south of Denver.

I suggested we pack a lunch, some blankets, a flashlight, and a tent. I told the kids they would most likely be on their own for dinner. We also brought my mobility scooter, which was good. Walking continues to be my most challenging activity. For those of you who shop at Ikea often, you know how much walking is required. It was our first time. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Chris drove. I told him where to go.

Twenty-two miles down the highway and around numerous twisting roads, we finally pulled into the huge parking garage belonging to Ikea.

Twenty feet inside the door, my remaining dopamine producing cells (DPC's) went on strike. They do this sometimes, usually when I need them the most. This time I was ready. I took some Sinemet. Though this medication usually slips in unnoticed and gets the work done, today it was no go. The DPC's were patrolling and the Sinemet was caught picking the lock. Today the DPC's were in no mood to allow a SCAB across the picket lines. 

Unfortunately, as most of us with Parkinson's know, there are times when the meds don't work. It's anyone's guess why this happens. Stress? Fatigue? Stores the size of small towns? DPC's are fickle, especially when there aren't enough of them. They decide when to work and when to tell me to take a hike – or not.

I was in trouble. I knew if I stayed on course, I was on my own. The tightness in my chest was not going to go away, my eyes would steadfastly refuse to blink, and I was at risk for falling asleep in the middle of the store. However, I did not come 22 miles to be thwarted by my own substantia nigra. After all, I had my husband AND my scooter with me.

All things considered, we did well. Having come for just one item, we made it out with less than ten. We found a nice light fixture for our kitchen, another light for over the sink, toilet brushes, a ceramic pot for Chris' Norfolk pine tree, and at least one more thing I can't remember. It took about three days to get from one end of the store to the other. Had I not brought the scooter, we'd still be there.

I think I need to go back. We forgot the light bulbs... and there was this cute little kitchen greenhouse, and candles, vases, pictures...

Better pack a lunch.