It was a little less than a year ago that we headed off for a major trip again. This one was to Kentucky to visit Daughter Lisa, Denis, Abigail and Ashlyn. When we had done it in one day, it usually took us about eleven hours to get there. This time, we stopped at a motel at about the halfway point. We got plentyof rest, had a leisurely morning, and headed on to Louisville around noon. Mornings always were extended by the time it took for each step in preparation for getting ready to go anywhere. It was just a part of our reality.
On other occasions we had stayed in the downstairs at Lisa’s. Mary Ann’s Orthostatic Hypotension made that a challenge. When she stood, her blood pressure would drop making her susceptible to fainting. It was almost comical to see us help Mary Ann up the stairs. One odd characteristic of Parkinson’s is that while feet may freeze on the level, stairs are no problem to negotiate. The challenge was to get her up the stairs before the low blood pressure no longer provided an adequate blood supply to her brain to keep her from fainting. With one of us beside her and one in back, we raced up the stairs to a waiting chair. On some of our visits, every time we arrived at the chair, she would faint. On some visits she had less difficulty with it. There was nothing we could come up with that explained why some times were better than others.
By this time last year, the OH was bad enough that it was no longer an option to stay in the downstairs. We chose to stay in an extended stay motel. It worked out well. We took whatever time we needed in the morning at the motel, and ended up at Lisa’s house around noon. We spent time with the family as long as Mary Ann’s stamina held out, and then headed back to the motel.
We headed out in the car with the family, often to visit Huber’s winery and garden produce market and bakery (and ice cream parlor) in Southern Indiana near Denis’s family, with whom we visited. Usually there was a trip to a restaurant. There was lots of time watching Abigail and Ashlyn doing a variety of things. There were many hugs, lots of pictures drawn and colored. We had a good visit.
When we left, rather than coming straight home, we made the relatively short drive to Columbus, Indiana, to visit Brother Dick, Dee and the family. Dick is a retired Pastor, fourteen years my senior. We are almost from different generations, but have come to know and love each other as the years have gone by, as has been so with Dave, Gayle and Tish, our other siblings.
I have described the setting at Dick and Dee’s place a couple of times before. They live on a five acre plot with trees and ponds and gardens everywhere. There are bees that provide honey, fish to be caught, vegetables to be picked from the garden and either eaten right away or canned to be eaten later. Freshly baked bread and home made granola are mainstays. There are birds constantly at the feeders attached to the rail or sitting on the deck right outside the floor to ceiling windows.
We enjoyed a wonderful meal. Then came the miracle. Mary Ann had declined to the extent that walking more than a few steps had pretty much ceased to be an option — we thought. When she tried to walk, many times the blood pressure would drop and so would she. When we arrived at Dick and Dee’s, it was a little challenging to get the wheel chair where it needed to be. Mary Ann just got up and walked the length of a long hall to the living room. Then when we looked around the house, she walked and did not fall. Later, we went over to see the magnificent house their Daughter Jill (our Niece) and her husband had built to house their three boys, by then in junior high and high school. The house was perfectly outfitted for the boys having friends over to hang out together.
Dick drove Mary Ann over in the golf cart he and Dee use to get around on the acreage. We didn’t take the wheel chair. Mary Ann toured the main floor of that huge house on foot, never falling once. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. After spending the night in a nearby motel, we headed back home the next day. This time we made the trip in one day. For some reason, going home always seemed to go faster. Part of that sensation was due to the fact that we crossed a time zone creating the illusion that we had taken less time.
After we got home, the walking continued for weeks. Before we left, I would jump up every time Mary Ann got up so that I would be ready to catch her before she fell. I would, of course, try to convince her not to get up without warning me so that I could come and help. After we returned, I relaxed and stopped jumping up when she stood. That change made our days much less stressful. That miracle made our last fall together a pleasant one.
In the next post on this sight I will describe the subsequent trip to a Bed & Breakfast in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the one that would be our last trip.
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