Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacationing with Parkinson's: Is it worth it?

Guilt, guilt, guilt! I had been feeling guilty and a bit frustrated that we had never taken a family vacation. Derek  isn't into travelling, and I am terrified of making plans. But Kalene is going to be 18 this summer, and going off to college and life, so I told Derek that we had to "just do it" this year and plan a family trip.
Derek did an impressive job of finding a resort, booking flights, reserving a rental car, and so, the day after school ended found us on an actual airplane on our way to Montreal!
I was anxious about getting dystonic the morning that we had to leave, and so of course I got dystonic the morning that we had to leave. Derek was a trooper about getting everything into the car, including me; and we got to the airport on time. I was apprehensive about going through security with my DBS, and I had my "get out of airport screening free card" at the ready, with the warning from several sources that they would do a "pat down" instead. I needn't have worried. No one even looked at my card, and as soon as I said I had a brain implant and a  battery in my chest, they treated me like royalty. The pat down wasn't so bad. There was no groping involved. We didn't request special assistance, but they put us on one of those little cars to get to the gate, and then a very nice Air Canada employee put me in a wheel chair and wheeled me through the line up with a "make way, coming through" attitude and told me to never apologize for needing help.
I was surprised at how much I was able to do with the family on our holiday. When motivated with permission to shop, I am surprisingly mobile. I dragged Derek through a mall in Montreal to show him a dress that was just soooo cute, and I bought it. It was on sale for $54.99, with a regular price of $75, so with the $20 I saved I also dragged him to the jewelry kiosk where I had found just the earring and necklace set that I've been looking for, and it was only $22.00!
We went through almost all of the local tourist traps, and managed to find all of the bakeries, the chocolate shop, the Sucre d'Art (known in English as the Sugar Shack) where we learned how maple syrup is collected and turned into all sorts of decadent toppings and cooking sauces. The Sugar Shack and the Musee de l'Abeille (Museum of Honey) included free tasting tours. The map we were given was not drawn to scale, and the distances between attractions was much farther than we thought. We met a couple at the chocolate shop who had just been to the Sugar Shack, which we couldn't find. They were trying to follow the same map.
This blog entry is getting much longer than I planned (surprise, surprise!), and as I hunt through the brochures of the places we visited and the receipts of all of the souvenirs, the restaurant receipts -I think I have answered my own question. Yes, it was worth it. There were a few rides I wanted to go on but could not, Derek had to push me in a wheelchair through the Aquarium, and at the Ste. Anne Canyon, I couldn't finish the trail, so Kalene and I went back to the restaurant and had ice cream.
I did get dystonic again when we were packing to leave the resort, but we were on time to return the rental car and we got through the Pierre Eliott Trudeau airport again, and got home in one piece. I don't think I will be planning another trip anytime soon, but, yes - it was worth it.

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