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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.

The Tattoo I'll get Someday

Terri Reinhart

When I went to pick up my mom for a doctor's appointment the other day, there was a fire truck and ambulance in front of the building. It's not so unusual at a facility for the elderly, but it's always a jolt. Who had become ill or fallen? One of my parents? Probably not, since no one had tried to call me, but who? I've started getting to know some of the residents enough to worry about them.

It was impossible not to see what was going on. A resident (someone I didn't know) had collapsed in the lobby right in front of the nurse's desk. She was on the floor and bare from the waist up. She had received CPR and was now on oxygen. The paramedics were getting ready to transfer her to the stretcher and ambulance. 

When I am old, if I live long enough to be old, I want a tattoo on my chest that says DO NOT RESUSCITATE in big bold letters. I felt so sorry for this woman who did not have a DNR order, or maybe she did and it hadn't gotten in the files or they couldn't find it. If the paramedics don't have the DNR order, they are obligated to try and resuscitate. As they left, I could hear the woman moaning and crying in pain. CPR can be very hard on old brittle bones.

I could feel for her. Just when she was finally. nicely and peacefully dead, someone had to come and ruin everything. When one is in their mid 80's to mid 90's, death isn't so scary. It's more like a nice long nap after a very busy day. She didn't sound too happy to be woken up.

Signing a Do Not Resuscitate order is an individual and/or family decision and I understand these wishes need to be respected. I just want to make sure, when I'm old, that my wishes are known. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not in a hurry now and I won't be getting the tattoo for a long time. If I choke on something, call the paramedics! If I have a stroke or heart attack, call the paramedics!

When I'm 80, let me go.