Despite the challenges that accompany travel when living with Parkinson’s, I still enjoy it. Visiting new places or old friends outweighs the excess baggage that goes with going away.
Wacky schedules throw off my meds cycle. My slow-mo body becomes an obstacle that others slalom around. A tremor appears (not typically among my list of symptoms). Worth it, worth it, worth it because the adventure’s good evens out the not-so-good.
Except for one hassle that throws off this balancing act: the airline fee for checking rather than carrying on my bag.
For most of the travel stressors, yoga brings some relief. I can ease back down from the security line’s rush of disrobing and shoe removal (which we know is a lengthy process with PD) and although I’m crammed into a seat that restricts my movement, I manage to stretch a bit. While waiting at the gate, I find a corner where I can move through a series of half dogs and half moons. On board, I try to work in some seated lateral bends, cat and dog poses, even a twist. It eases the rigidity and refocuses my mind on who or what I’m off to see.
For the leftover muscle kinks, I wait until I’m in the hotel room. Hot bath? Sometimes. Bouncing on the bed? You bet. The real tension tamer, though, is a head stand.
Nothing quite refreshes the same way as viewing the world upside-down.
And though I am capable of literally standing on my head after checking in to my room, I wish I didn’t have to figuratively do so while checking in for my flight. Despite my requests, despite my travel cane, despite the carry-on size of my bag, I pay to check it.
If my meds are “on” while I’m getting my boarding pass, I cannot trust that they’ll stay that way when its time to hoist my carry-on into the overhead. So I don’t run the risk of injury — to me or others seated below the bin — and check my bag. And get charged for it. That doesn’t add up to me. Or, if my math is right, it adds up to discrimination. Even when I look at it upside down.