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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.

..nor disappearing bus stops, nor missing buses, nor missed flights...

Terri Reinhart

Day 3 of the Tale of the Two Intrepid Travelers by Terri and Emma Reinhart


Terri: Up at 6 am to wash bedding and towels, eat breakfast, and check on bus service and flight status. All seems to be a go. From the window, I have already seen 3 buses go by Ronnie's House. The 308 is obviously running today. Should be no problem getting to the airport on time. We'll leave as early as possible, just in case.

Emma: Maybe we should call a cab.

Terri: The bus costs $4 and we still have the transit card. A cab would be $40. No brainer.

 Emma: Fair enough. And we have seen buses go by so all should be well.

9:15 am

Terri: We've been waiting for half an hour and have not seen the bus. So far, two bus stops have vanished, or at least have apparently ceased to be bus stops. After arriving at the first one, we were told (by other waiting passengers) the 308 would not stop there today. We were escorted to the proper bus stop by an older gentleman who offered to show us the short cut through Veterans Hospital. There we waited for 20 minutes before an official looking man came by to tell us the bus was not stopping at that particular stop today. Now we're being escorted to the real proper bus stop.

 Emma: Maybe we should call a cab?

9:45 am

Terri: I've called the bus company and they've assured me the bus will be arriving at 9:49 am. Four minutes. We should still be okay. It's a very short ride, 5 to 10 minutes, to the transit center, then we'll be on the train. That part is easy.

Emma: Ok! Good, the bus should be here any minute now. Annnnny minute at this immediate time it should be appearing. Please?

9:55 am

Terri: No bus. A nice man with a golf cart shuttle came by and told us he wasn't sure the bus would stop there today. He would take us to the stop by the front gate because the bus always comes there. It seems the bus route has changed due to some construction work. Also, it comes one way if the gates are open and another way if the gates are closed. How do we know if it's an open or closed gate time? No one could tell us.

Emma: I’m getting rather cold. Brrrr. It wasn’t this cold yesterday. It was raining heavily but not cold. I. Do. Not. Like. The. Cold.

10:15 am

Terri: Two 331 buses have come by, but no 308's. I finally spotted the 301 on Roosevelt Ave. We ran and the bus stopped and the driver let us on. I asked if he was going to the transit station. He laughed nervously and said, “We'll see.”

Emma: One of the worst feelings is running to catch a bus. But we made it! Mom had a long conversation and I caught my breath and watched as we went by the lake cemetery. The ride to the station was supposed to take 5 to at most 10 minutes. We made it there in 45 because of traffic due to flooding.  

11:00 am

Terri: After a delightful 45 minute ride on the bus, talking to a lovely lady named Harriet, we finally arrived at the transit center. It is normally a 5 minute ride, but many streets are still closed due to flooding.

Shook hands with Harriet and wished her luck on her test. She's another 50 something going back to university classes. If the ride had lasted another 10 minutes, we probably would have exchanged email addresses.

We will not make our flight.

11:15 am

Terri: We're on the train... and it finally started to move.

Emma: I rather enjoy the train. It doesn’t get caught in traffic.


Terri: Changing to orange line... we had to exit the transit system to transfer to the Orange line. This means, of course, having to pay again. Didn't expect this. We have $2.50 on our transit card – not enough for both of us. We can put more money on the card, but the machine only takes cash and won't give change. I have a $20. Asked the attendant if there was anywhere to get change or use a debit card to pay for transit. Answer? “Not here.” He opened the gate for us and let us in free.

Another rule of traveling:

8. Never pass up an opportunity to ask for suggestions, directions, help.

Emma: Thank you wonderfully nice transit station attendant!

12:30 pm

 Terri: We arrived at Midway in time to see our plane taking off. We waved.

A nice attendant at the Frontier counter let us know we could catch the next flight – at 6:45 pm. We can either fly standby, which would be free but wouldn't guarantee our seats, or secure our seats by paying an additional $25.00/each. I paid. We want to go home.

Emma: So, would a cab have gotten us here any quicker?

Terri: I don’t think so, what with the floods, road closures, and lots of traffic. Then we would have paid a lot for the cab AND still had to change our flight. And I wouldn't have met Harriet.

Emma: True. Harriet was pretty cool.

Terri: We have another 6 hours to wait. No worries. There are still shops and we still have a credit card.

1:30 pm

Terri: Bought two slices of pizza and some water. Went down to concourse to find seats and some quiet. Ate pizza and rested.

Emma: Foood! Good food. I’m feeling slightly better. Now to wait…

3:00 pm

Terri: We started feeling just a little glum. This won't do. Went to shop. Bought a cherry coke, a Sudoku book, a neck pillow, and a travel blanket. On the whole, not bad, considering how much we could have bought.

Emma: The chair is getting hard, is the floor any softer? Not really, but it’s nice to be horizontal for a bit. “Cabin Pressure” Time!

7:09 pm Denver time – on the plane

Emma: I’d listened to enough “Cabin Pressure” now that I half expected after getting on the airplane to hear, “bing-bong. ‘Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking…’” I was a bit disappointed when this didn’t happen.

Terri: We're over Nebraska now, not Denver, but I'm already thinking in Denver time. Chris will meet us at the airport. We were going to take the Skyride again, but the timing would be tight. Timing has not been in our favor this trip. Feeling mildly guilty for my extravagant purchases.  Can't wait to be home.

Emma: Come flyyy with meee…

                   And let this adventure end.