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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.

Filtering by Tag: Ronald McDonald House

Hello, Chicago! Hello, Dolly!

Terri Reinhart

Money is like manure.

It's not worth anything until you spread it around to help young things grow.”

Ephraim Levi

From the beginning, when we first learned we would be coming out to Shriner's Hospital in Chicago for our daughter's medical care, we began to dream about going to see live theater in this amazing city. I had visions of walking downtown and seeing the theater name in lights and watching grand shows such as “Hello, Dolly!” The closest we got was looking up showtimes on the internet. After pricing them, we settled for a couple of homemade brownies and a dvd borrowed from the front office.

We're at Ronald McDonald House again. It feels like home. We once were able to stay at someone's time share at a resort hotel. I've got to tell you, Ronald McDonald House has spoiled us. The 5 star resort hotel was nothing in comparison. Is there any other place where you can come downstairs to the kitchen at 10:00 pm in your pj's and have a late snack? Or find beautiful little rooms hidden away, filled with books and cozy armchairs? This house has a hidden staircase leading to a turret playroom. I am certain no hotel could be even remotely as comfortable as Ronnie's house. We've been here a lot.

Last night, our house manager, David, asked if there was something we'd like to do before we leave. The theater shows came to my mind immediately and I looked up showtimes. Amazingly, “Hello, Dolly!” was being performed at the Drury Lane Theatre, not too far away. I thought it was a long shot. We would surely be told it was too expensive, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I wrote down the information and left it for David in the office.

The next morning, Lisa Mitchell, our house director, came and told us we could pick up tickets at the box office for the 1:30 show. WOW! It was like magic. She explained to us they had been given a grant from the Barnett Family Foundation just for the purpose of allowing families to have things to do while they are away from home. What an amazing gift.

It was an amazing afternoon! Lit by huge chandeliers, the Drury Lane Theatre is elegant and beautiful. Though most people know the characters and story of “Hello, Dolly!” from the movie with Barbara Streisand, we know them from Thornton Wilder's play, “The Matchmaker”, which was performed by the Denver Waldorf High School seniors last spring. I would say the actors in this production measured up quite well.

Karen Ziemba was strong and confident as Dolly Levi and David Lively brought to life the tough-as-nails Horace Vandergelder. My favorite characters are Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker, played by Jeff Diebold and Lee Slobotkin. I didn't think anyone could play these roles better than Collin Montrose and Miles Justice. I wouldn't say Jeff and Lee were better, but they were as good. I especially loved the part when Barnaby starts to shake as he learns how to dance.

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the musical version of this play. The singing and dancing added to the pure joy and fun to the story. It is a play with a big heart and the performance manifested this beautifully. It was an afternoon we'll always remember.

Thank you to the El Jebel Shriners in Denver who sponsored our daughter's medical care. Thank you to everyone at Shriner's Hospital in Chicago for all your wonderful work. Thank you to Ronald McDonald House for welcoming us, and thank you to the Barnett Family Foundation for the gift of music, dance, and fun as our daughter recovers from surgery once again. Everyone of you have made Ephraim Levi's words come to life: “Money is like manure. It's not worth anything until you spread it around to help young things grow.”

Because of you, a lot of young things are growing very well, indeed.






Neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night - the tale of two intrepid travelers

Terri Reinhart


by Terri and Emma Reinhart

April 17, 2013

Emma:  The three most important rules of traveling,

    1. Never pass up a chance to use the bathroom.

    2. Never pass up a chance to eat.

    3. Never pass up the chance to sit down.

Terri:  One more rule:

    4. Be pleasant.

My favorite part in the movie, “Harvey”, is when Elwood P. Dowd tells the doctor, “My father always told me that in this life you need to be either oh, so clever or oh, so pleasant. For most of my life I was clever. I prefer pleasant.”

Emma and I started out this trip to Chicago a little reluctantly. With the birth of our new grand daughter last weekend, it was difficult to think of leaving.

Emma:  I was also rather reluctant to travel since it meant leaving Lexus. Granted, I am a little grateful to not have to wake up at 7:30 for a few mornings or constantly go out with Lexus on the off chance that she needs to pee. Aside from the slightly more free time this allows, I am still a bit of a worried new momma but I know that she is with a very capable puppy sitter and is probably having a marvelous time with their dog.

Arrival at the airport

Terri:  We took the DIA Skyride from downtown Denver and arrived in plenty of time to catch our 2:50 pm flight. The boarding passes printed, we went through security and headed down to the gate. That's when Emma looked at her boarding pass and asked about the boarding time, which was listed as 6:05 pm. I assured her it was probably just a mistake. We looked at the departure times, just to make sure.

Emma:  I was sure there was a mistake. That was more than 5 hours away! Yet, sure enough we checked the departure schedule. Delayed. Scheduled to board at 6:05 and leave at 6:40! Ugh, what were we going to do?

Terri:  We made our phone calls, one home to update Chris, and one to Ronald McDonald House. Ronnie's house closes its doors at 8 pm. We won't land in Chicago till 10 or after, then there's the cab ride. They agreed to check with the house staff and see if someone would be willing to stay up late and let us in.

YEAH! They'll let us come!

Now, what to do for the afternoon? I called Chris and let him know we are fine. There are plenty of lovely shops and I have my credit card.

Another Rule for Traveling

    5. Never pass up a chance to shop

Emma:  I approve of the new rule. As for the flight, we kept checking the departures to make sure the flight was not cancelled. I was a little worried. We overheard a man saying that he had been here since yesterday waiting for a flight. It was also snowing quite a bit now. So far so good though! There were a good number of people waiting around for delayed flights, I'm sure the shops were happy.

4:00 update:

Terri:  My energy gave out before we reached our credit limit. Time to rest. Pleasantly.

Emma:  Time to get out the music. And perhaps people watch. Always fun in an airport. I had put a bunch of audio episodes of “Cabin Pressure” on my MP3 player, I thought it was appropriate. If you're not familiar with it, “Cabin Pressure” is a British radio comedy about a crew of a small airplane that often get into all sorts of mix ups and on each others nerves. It is very funny.

Terri:  People watching is fun. Talking to people is fun, too, especially when it's crowded and everyone's been waiting a long time. I now have 35 more Facebook friends.

Emma:  You're exaggerating mom, it's more like 50 more Facebook friends.

5:00 update:

Terri:  Sitting right next to the gate doesn't make the plane come faster. If the alarm goes off suddenly, it may be because I've had a serious hot flash and have dashed out the emergency exit into the snow.

Emma:  I am wearing all the scarves because we are sitting by the gate and emergency exit. It was the tropics at the other seats, it is the Arctic here. But mom's happy.

I suddenly realized why it is not such a good idea to gulp down the last of the now lukewarm Izze drink. Hiccups are not very fun. We brought a couple snacks from home: grapes, strawberries, nuts. We also bought a bag of “Colorado Mountain Rocks, Collected Daily from the Rocky Mountains” They're tasty. I should specify that they are not actually made of various pebbles and minerals but something that is a little easier to chew and much tastier, chocolate.

Terri:  Another hour and we should be boarding. We have eaten. We have used the bathroom. We have shopped. We are sitting.

Emma:  We have cured my hiccups! And we are getting a little tired of this trip already. Maybe it will be better tomorrow, it's supposed to be much warmer in Chicago and I hear there is more to do then sitting and waiting, which will be nice. (Actually I know there is more to do, I've been there before. Lot's of attractions. And trains... And buses).

Terri:  And we're still pleasant... right?

Emma:  Bah humbug! I mean... Yes, of course. Bright eyed and smiling.

On the plane – update:

Terri: Boarded at 6:15, took off at 8:15. Will they still be gracious at Ronald McDonald House if we ring the bell at midnight?

Emma:  Yes, I'll have the turkey sandwich and the cheese and hummus platter. Yum. Ooh, goat cheese? And there's chips! If you've never had Pringles with goat cheese I... wouldn't really recommend it but it was not a half bad experience. I always forget how noisy the engines are so I don't think I'll listen to any music. Oh, well.

Terri: Pringles, ginger ale, and sleep.

In Chicago – 11:45 pm:

Terri:  Landed. Attempting to hurry across airport, call a cab, and get to Ronnie's house as soon as possible. Our attempts to hurry are thwarted by a reception for a group of WWII vets arriving in Chicago. From their gate to the outside door where they are loaded into a limo, their path is lined with soldiers in dress uniform, saluting for each of the older men as they are wheeled by in wheelchairs. A bagpipe band is at one end and a brass band at another. Beautiful, inspiring, wonderful, but it also makes it difficult to get from point A to point B.

Cab driver got lost going to Ronnie's house. Didn't know enough about cabs to argue the fare. Paid way too much. Got in at 12:45 am. Time to sleep.

Another rule for traveling:

6. Never pass up an opportunity to sleep.