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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.

Mrs. Reinhart Goes To Washington

Terri Reinhart

It might look like I'm working, but in reality, I haven't been able to concentrate on doing much reading and studying today. Tomorrow morning, long before any sensible person is out of bed, I'll be on my way to the airport and off to Washington D.C. 

This has been planned for awhile. While I'd like to say I had very noble reasons for applying to review funding applications for clinical studies, the trip to DC was the real incentive. I love to travel. I love seeing new places and finding my way around a new city. I enjoy meeting and talking with people from all over the place. I love to travel. Because I am leaving at such an early hour, I'll get a chance to explore a little. Maybe I'll see the White House? I love to travel.

Maybe if I say it a few more times, I'll stop being nervous. I LOVE TO TRAVEL! 

It didn't work. This trip is just a little bit different from my usual travels. For one thing, Emma won't be coming with me. I'm going all by myself. Solo. No one to pick up my shoes for me when I almost leave them behind in security. When I arrive in DC, there won't be familiar Ronald McDonald House staff to greet me. I'll have to buy my own lunch and dinner.

It's a work trip, of course, and I have to be prepared to give my presentations on Thursday and Friday. Yes, I'm nervous. Not only will I not know anyone, but this is a PROFESSIONAL meeting. People are wearing "business casual" clothing. I finally consulted a former colleague and friend to guide me in finding something that didn't look like middle-aged retired kindergarten teacher. I can do this... and hopefully, not squirm my way through the meetings. The others on the panel will be scientists, doctors, and other experts. And me. What in God's name made me think I could do something like this? 

What if my Parkinson's and dystonia kick in big time? It does when I'm nervous. What if I start walking wonky, my balance is off, and I start slurring my words? What if they think I'm drunk? Okay - do I have my "I am not drunk" card with me? Check. 

So, yes, I'm nervous. Instead of reading and preparing, I've been panicking. I've been to the store twice already getting toothpaste, tooth brush, and deoderant. The hotel experience is one I haven't had in years. I couldn't remember what I needed to bring. Almost... I almost wrote a friend to ask whether I needed to bring soap and shampoo. How many pens do I need to bring? Will I need some paper? Where are the socks I had hanging on the clothesline? What if I run out of deoderant?

My family (Chris and Emma) gently reminded me that, though neither of them had ever been to DC, they were fairly certain I could find a store there. 

I'll be fine. I've got my clothes, my notebook, my computer, my phone, all the various cords that go with phone, computer, and scooter. I have "The Last of the Dragons" by E. Nesbit, my little book of Welsh phrases, and my knitting. I'll admit, the last three are security items. Don't laugh.

I'll be fine... as long as I remember my shoes after I go through security.