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Our Disneyland HalfMarathon (part four)


We felt great and, as the park was opening at 9a, decided to roll right into Disneyland. We did take a quick stop at a full bathroom in the parking lot for dad. I needed to help him and we had our first fall. Dad was hanging on to a rail and I took my eyes off of him to set the wheelchair. He lost his balance and stumbled to the floor. Thankfully, he caught himself cleanly and I was able to help him up. There’s always the quick checklist after a fall - nothing broken, nothing bleeding, nothing torn. Check, check and check. Deep breaths, say our thanks, then get back to the business at hand. If you're noticing a lot of bathroom mentions in these posts, it's because of what an issue it is at this level of care!

We took a shuttle from the parking lot and met a Disney park veteran named Penny who helped us manage the mysterious Genie app and figure out how to get on rides. She had great advice, including seeking out wheelchair access at the exit of some of the rides. Seeing the park, just a few hours after we’d run through it, was very fun. This time dad was in a much more manageable wheelchair. My sister was kind enough to push him. 

We quickly got on to the Matterhorn, Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Smugglers Run, aboard the Millennium Falcon. Dad had a blast - it was so fun seeing that side of him come out. That’s when we recognized we didn’t have dad’s noon time medication…and we realized even if we didn’t feel it yet, a break would probably do us all good. We left the park - no easy task, mind you, as it takes a bit longer with the shuttle than you may expect. But we were playing with house money at this point. The race was in the bag. Everyone was healthy and had fun. The last big challenge and goal would be getting mom to come with us. We had lunch and took naps - or tried to. Neither my dad nor I were able to sleep, but lying down and being quiet for a bit was good. We got up and told mom it was her time to shine. She started to get up, then said no. We pushed her - saying we weren’t taking no for an answer this time. My sister, in particular, plays and amazing symphony of firm love with mom in situations like these. I placed the race medal around mom’s neck, told her it would protect her and took her hand. She shuffled into the van, sweating on a cool Anaheim evening. 

We got to the park and got mom her own wheelchair. She immediately began to relax. Chris pushed dad. I pushed mom. Julie got us from ride to ride, managing the Genie. We did the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride, then got on Space Mountain. My mom said she was going to scream her head off. I didn’t hear a peep. She said she couldn’t catch her breath to scream. Mom and dad got ice cream, then we got on Indiana Jones, and the Pirates of the Caribbean. We saw a Bayou light show on the waterfront and ate soup in bread bowls. We had just enough time to get on the delightful Mickey and Minnie’s Railroad - a first for all of us - and the still holiday themed Haunted Mansion.

That did it. That was a full stop on Disney. By the time we were home, it was near 1a. I had been up for nearly 24 hours and was very happy, relieved and ready for bed.

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Such happy family memories were made on this trip. Thanks so much for sharing all of it. From the awkward bathroom moments to the not so tiny victories with your mom. Inspiring all of us to tell the whole story of what it’s like to live with PD, as well as other conditions.

Falling with style! Great job. Checking and giving thanks. It does sound just like parenting small children. The circle of life and your ongoing family story. Showing the importance of teamwork. Also pointing out that a power nap makes all the difference.

This series of blogs are some of the first stories I’ve heard about your mom. I feel her issues deeply. Continued prayers go out to…

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