Renee and I just took the family on a Mediterranean cruise. I now need assistive devices 70% of the day. A vacation on a large cruise ship meets my needs. I rented a scooter and used it 95% of the time. I even used it when we got off the ship in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
The ship we were on was brand new and handicapped friendly. The bathrooms were the best I have ever seen. The shower in my room was large, with rails, handheld shower head, seat and non-slip flooring. The only thing the ship was lacking was handicapped accessible pools.
My favorite place on the boat was the observation deck. I’m usually awake at 3 am and I spent many mornings looking out at the sea, reviewing my life, playing the “would’a, could’a, should’a” game I have written about in the past. I’ve always recommended that my patients avoid playing this game as you can’t win it. I now recognize that despite not being to win the “would’a, could’a, should’a” game, as you age and near the end, you have to play it.
What I learned was that I jumped into a rapidly flowing river (complete with rapids) at an early age and went with the flow. I moved though life at so a rapid rate that I didn’t appreciate the life I had created. I did it for my family, my patients and my ego.
I missed so much! Do you ever think how incredible walking is? I do. I watched the world walk by and wondered how many of them ever thanked God for for the ability to walk. I never did. I took it for granted. As I’ve lost function, I realize that I really didn’t understand what was truly important.
Now that I’m walking in my father’s shoes, I understand them better. I owe them many apologies. If they are looking down from wherever we go when we die, I know sorry is not good enough but its all I have to offer. By the way, dad, Parkinson’s really does suck!
My advice to my children and my patients is to slow down, spend less time at work and more time with your children and parents. Both will eventually leave you and you are doomed to play the “would’a, could’a, should’a” game.
I want to give a shout out to Jeremy and Allyson. You’re playing life right! The balance you and Allyson have established is precious. Keep it up.