In order to spend more time with my uncle who lived for nearly thirty years with Parkinson’s disease and to give my aunt some caregiver respite, I volunteered to drive their fully equipped van to a western Chicago suburb to visit his cousin. Despite being blind due to diabetes, he had a remarkable photographic memory of all the streets and expressway exits in the Chicago area.
My uncle intimated me, ever since he began admonishing me to stop drinking Coke when I was a child. If it dissolves paint on a car, imagine what it does to your stomach!
I was now an adult in midlife, and it was time to overcome these childhood fears and appreciate this WWII veteran-turned self-made successful businessman.
Uncle George and his brother were the last of my late parents’ generation. I needed family time to learn more the old stories my parents shared infrequently.
After my aunt, a WWII Army Nurse hesitatingly agreed, likely to stop my insistent childlike begging, the adventure was to begin.
The LIVING BREATHING GPS in the passenger seat
My uncle and I were going to take a one-hour drive to a western suburb of Chicago so he could visit his cousin. I would tell him where I was and he would tell me where to go. Except our journey didn’t quite unfold that way.
After a 45-minute visit, we returned home six hours later.
From one caregiver to another, take a respite and ENJOY this adventure between one determined niece and her even-more determined uncle. This adventure still makes me smile and even chuckle. Sadly, he and my aunt have also passed.
This six-minute video is an excerpt from a speech I gave at the National Parkinson Foundation annual conference in South Dakota.
If the play arrow does not display in the box below, please click here for the video. https://youtu.be/wbUQstRIdeI