A Trip to Peoria

Friday. October 21

Because Joshua is going through a divorce, he is now living in our basement. Four or five of his children spend every weekend with us and this has necessitated a few changes in our home. The basement used to be a place to store things and where my desk was located. With Joshua and   his children needing a place to stay on the weekends the basement is no longer a warehouse, and my office has been moved into my bedroom. My office/bedroom is a work in progress.

So far I have removed the Shag carpet and put down a laminate flooring. The queen size bed was bought when we lived in Blissfield, Michigan from 1975 to 1981. The queen mattress and box springs are in the basement for the kids to sleep on and we brought the head and footboard to Peoria to give to Michelle and Mike. My bed is now a brand-new twin size. The desk that I used in the basement is too large for the available space and I am looking for a motorized computer desk. Motorized so I can either stand up or sit down when I work.

Yesterday, Friday, October 21, we drove from our home in Adrian Michigan to Peoria, Illinois. When I woke up on Friday, I felt great, because I had slept eight hours. I came into the living room and was surprised to see Harriet sitting on the couch. She looked tired and said, “I didn’t sleep at all last night.”

“I guess you can sleep in the car on the way to Peoria,” I said.

The luggage was in the car and the head and footboards strapped to the luggage rack and we were on the road by eleven thirty.

We stopped by Panera’s to pick up Chicken noodle soup and a Turkey, Avocado, BLT sandwich for lunch, cookies for snacks on the road, and Cinnamon rolls and Bear Claws for breakfast the next day.

Soon we were on the Ohio Turnpike heading west. The extra speed must have caused the tiedowns to loosen. I could hear the one on the passenger side banging on the roof. Fortunately, we were close to a rest area and pulled in took a restroom break, tied everything down and we were back on the road, heading towards Indiana.

Harriet was sleeping and I was listening to music. I had driven to South Bend when I realized that I was out of gas. Not the car, ME. I had hit the wall and needed to find a place to pull over and take a nap. Harriet was still sleeping as I pulled into a rest area. I figured if I could take a ten-minute nap it would be enough. Harriet had only slept ninety minutes and I really didn’t want her to drive on so little sleep. I tried to sleep but my mind was racing. It feels like Parkinson’s is winning the war. I know that’s because of the fall and injury to my ankle last July. I refused to follow the doctor’s orders and had reinjured it twice. After that I decided to obey her every command. After four weeks of keeping my right leg elevated and only putting weight on it when absolutely necessary, I’ve lost strength and coordination.  I got out of the habit of doing therapy and exercises.

I felt like it wouldn’t be safe for me to drive. And Harriet wouldn’t be much better with so little sleep. I prayed asking the Lord to keep us safe, and give us wisdom to know if we should check into a motel or continue to drive.

Harriet woke up and wanted to get lunch. She said that the nap had rejuvenated her. We decided to find a Wendy’s, assess the situation, and move on from there.

After lunch I was still in no condition to drive and felt like we should check into a motel. Harriet felt sure that she could drive. So we decided that we would have her drive a while  and if she couldn’t handle it stop and reassess.

Harriet was amazing. She drove through the worst bumper to bumper, nine mile an hour traffic, for two hours. Once we got past the south of Chicago nightmare traffic, she continued driving for ninety minutes more.

Suddenly my brain-fog lifted, my vison cleared, and I was wide awake. Harriet drove to McDonalds, and, after a Quarter Pounder, Fries, and a drink, I drove the rest of the way without incident.

Saturday, October 23 – We had a nice, quiet day. I wrote in my journal, Harriet and Michelle went to the apple orchard, and bought apples, cider, chocolate, and grapes. On the way home they stopped at the Vietnamese Restaurant and picked up dinner. After Dinner we watched the movie, War of the Roses.

Sunday, October 24,

Woke up around nine am, I had slept seven hours. This is a huge deal because I often cannot sleep more than four hours a night. It seems that most people with Parkinson’s have trouble sleeping. I laid in bed and read a few articles. Finally got up, dressed, and went upstairs at ten.

Michelle was baking carrot and chocolate chip muffins. I put on a pot of coffee, got a boiled egg out of the refrigerator, and snagged one of the carrot muffins that were on the cooling rack. I ate breakfast and googled Catholic Churches near me. I wanted to find a church that had an eleven O’clock service.

Turns out that St. Marks, which is only about two miles from where Michelle lives, has a service at eleven. I told Michelle that I would be going to church at eleven and she said that she wanted to go with me.

Michelle quickly showered and we arrived at St. Marks just five or ten minutes late. We walked in just as the lector was finishing the Epistle lesson. While everyone was standing for the gospel, we found a place in one of the pews on the pulpit side of the church.

The Gospel was about the Pharisee and the Tax collector, or the self-righteous and the terrible awful sinner. (Did you ever notice that Jesus seems to prefer the awful, terrible sinners, over religious folks?) The pastor’s sermon was about focusing on God, not others, when we pray. He said that if we keep our focus on the Lord, we will all be like the sinner who cries out, “Have Mercy on me a Sinner!” and a lot less like the self-satisfied pharisee. What the Lord desires from us is that we see and speak the truth about ourselves. My summery doesn’t do it justice. It was a good sermon.

When I stood up to walk to the front for Holy Communion, I noticed that my legs were not cooperating. Anyone walking behind me must have thought I had been sipping too much communion wine. I couldn’t walk in a straight line. I was happy to hang on to the pews on the way to the front and on the return to where we were sitting.

After church we drove to Dunkin Donuts. Aidan and Ashley had been hinting, quite loudly, about how great it would be to have a donut, and since I am their grandfather, it is my job to spoil them rotten. I bought a couple of Boston Cream, two chocolate cream, and one cinnamon roll. Dunkin Donut was so busy they couldn’t keep up. I had planned on buying a dozen donuts but the poor selection stopped me.

By the time I got back to the house I was spent. I enjoyed a donut and coffee and went back to bed for a nap.

After my nap we had lunch and played a card game named ANOMIA. It was a nice quiet afternoon. Following that the women went shopping and the guys either read, or did homework.

Did I mention that today was Day 7 of Harriet’s Birthday celebration? To celebrate, we went to Red Lobster and ate like birthdays were going out of style. Michelle bought Harriet three potted Mums. The Birthday week ended as it had begun, at Red Lobster. We had come full circle.

Please continue to pray for us and be sure we are praying for you

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