Travelling with PD

Curling rocks

For the first time in years, I recently had the opportunity to take a trip that wasn’t to a family member’s house. My two daughters were playing in a sporting event in St. Catharines, Ontario. Easy decision, we would drive down and stay in a hotel to watch the event.

Day One – Travel Day

I have four other driver’s in the family now, so that was easy, I got to co-pilot the whole trip. It is a good idea to get out and stretch once in awhile when travelling six hours by car. Walk around, get the blood moving, and the muscles stretched out.

We had booked a hotel in Niagara Falls as it was cheaper than St. Catharines since it was off season for tourists. We also planned to do a little site seeing with the family while we were there, so we purchased some tourist packs that included tickets to the Butterfly Conservatory, and the Tour Behind the Falls.

Well we found the hotel. It was nice. I had confirmed that they had an exercise room when I booked, because I can not go several days without a good workout, or I become un-functional – my symptoms increase, and I certainly do not feel good. When we checked in, I asked about the exercise room, and was told it was pretty basic with a treadmill, and weights. Good enough for me, as that is what I have at home anyway. I had also ensured they had an elevator. Sure, that is pretty much a given, but in a bed and breakfast, or some smaller hotels, you may be expected to walk up stairs. That is not always easy or possible, so it is a good idea to ensure there is an elevator if you need one.

So, it was a long day one, but we made it.

Day Two – Tourist Day

First thing I discovered, is that I should have confirmed that the bathroom had grab bars for the shower. I installed grab bars at home years ago when I first started having trouble getting out of the bath tub. Anytime we go to visit family, they have stand alone showers, which are fairly easy to get in and out of, but a tub without grab bars is an accident waiting to happen. Lesson learned.

We toured the Butterfly Conservatory after walking down to see the Falls, and riding the incline railway back up the hill. I was starting to get worn down, so I took a break while the rest of the family took the Behind the Falls tour. Sometimes you just have to choose to rest rather than trying to do everything that is on the agenda. It would have been nice to do the tour, but I had to make sure I was going to be functional for the rest of the weekend.

There is something else that needs to be mentioned when travelling. Keep your medicine on track. Missing a dose, or taking medication at the wrong time can cause an increase of symptoms. That is not helpful when you are already out of your normal environment, dealing with the stresses of travelling.

By balancing the activities, and the rest I needed, I was still functional after day two.

Rest of the weekend – Watching Curling

The rest of the weekend blurs together as we sat through five games of curling. In case you are not familiar with the game of curling, the spectators get to sit in a warm lounge, enjoy refreshments, and critique the skill on the ice, while the players are in a cold room, sliding around on ice, throwing rocks at their teammate who keeps yelling at them. There is a little more to it than that, but you get the idea. I didn’t have to walk on ice, or even sit in a cold room to watch. It was quite comfortable. However, having Parkinson’s means that I really shouldn’t be sitting watching five games of curling without doing something. I need to move. I need to stretch, and keep loose. If I sit too long, I start tightening up, and that is never good. Between games, and sometimes during, I had to get up and walk around, do some stretching, and ensure I kept loose.

Travelling home

Another long day, as the girls curled twice in the morning, and then we drove home. I knew it was going to be late when we got home, and that I would be tired from the trip, so I had booked an extra day off work as a recovery day. I could always cancel if I really wanted to go back to work sooner, but I didn’t. The extra day gave me a chance to get back into the routine before starting work again.

All in all, I think I survived the weekend well. Here is a summary of the tips from my weekend of travel:

  • Take breaks when travelling long distances, stretch, get the blood moving.
  • Ensure accommodations will be suitable (elevator if required, grab bars on the shower for getting in and out of the tub, exercise room)
  • Keep medication on regular schedule Take breaks, do not feel like you need to keep up with everything that others are doing
  • Get some exercise
  • Give yourself extra time to recover from the trip.