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Parkinson’s Disease via webmd

It started out well, then turned into a nursing home rescue.

If you’re married, chances are good you have in-laws.

Maybe a mother-in-law, a father-in-law, or both.

If you like one better than the other, don’t hold it against yourself.

They probably like their kid better than you, so it breaks even.

In long-term marriages many things change, not always for the better.

If it’s not your parents, it’s your in-laws. If it’s not your in-laws, it’s your kids.

Truth to tell, in the end it’s always you.

Let’s start there.

If you’ve ever had what you call the best job of your life, feel lucky.

You liked the work, the people, and the place. So you stuck with it.

If you’ve ever been laid off, or fired, from the best job of your life, the aftermath has an opposite effect.

You may drop into a frame of mind that the work wasn’t that likable, the people were punks, and the place was a health hazard.

Let that sink in, then toss it. Call it moving on with your life. Take the hit and move forward.

After the pity party, look for the next thing you need to do.

Chances are there’s something just around the corner, just over the horizon, lurking in the shadows.

That was my father-in-law when he developed Parkinson’s Disease.

Some diseases get lots of attention before turning the corner. Polio is one.

Parkinson’s never turns the corner, but it doesn’t get the attention it deserves either.

While there’s no cause for certain, preventative measures include drinking coffee and working out according to the Mayo Clinic. Take a look and tell me if that’s how you read it.

So the old man got Parkinson’s, mother-in-law struggled with care, and for the good of all we combined the two families under one roof, with father-in-law in assisted living.

One bad event led to another and he moved in with rest of us with yours truly as his 24/7 caregiver.

About three years in my wife and kids and I took a trip. FIL went to adult foster care with MIL visiting every day.

He lasted one day after a hard fall that landed him in the hospital, then nursing home.

By the time I got back he was a shell of the man I left.

The first visit to the nursing home was my last. There he was sitting in a wheelchair, folded over with his chest to his knees, alone in a hallway.



We scheduled a doctor visit right away. Big Daddy arrived in a wheelchair van, mother-in-law and I drove over.

“I’m going to do something in the doctor’s office and I want you to go along with it,” I said.

“What are you going to do?” she asked.

“It’ll be a surprise. Just don’t say anything.”

“What is it?”

“If I told you, you’d try and talk me out of it. Do you have your driver’s license with you?”

“Yes, but…”

“Perfect. Here we are.”

Four of us, the doc, the in-laws, and I, crowded into an exam room.

“I’m not sure why you scheduled this appointment,” the doc said. “There’s not much change in his condition.”

“Well, Doc, I want to ask a favor. Could you please call his nursing home and get him released to me?”

“That’s why you’re here? You could have called for that.”

“The other thing, there’s one more. If you can’t get him released to me, I want you to call the police and have me arrested.”

“For what? Doesn’t this sound odd? Are you serious?”

“Look at this guy,” I said. “Before I left he’d rebounded from what looked like his death bed. You remember?”

“I do, but what you’re asking seems very extreme.”

“Agreed, but I want this old man to know someone gives a damn about him. He needs to know someone would go the mat for him. Me. If you can’t make the first call, please make the second. This is a nursing home rescue.”

“Of course I’ll call.”

“Either one will work.”

He left the room. When he came back he said the nursing home wouldn’t release him.

“They feel his condition is too fragile for home care.”

“Okay. Let’s not make a big deal here. Call the police to come and put me in handcuffs and take me out. I won’t disrupt your waiting room. I just want my father-in-law to see me head out with a policeman. Go ahead and call.”

“That’s not a call I feel comfortable making.”

“How about hospital security? I want a uniformed officer walking me out of here for the old man to see.”

For that I got a sideways look from the in-laws.

“I don’t see how that’s helpful.”

“Look, you’ve got a parking lot guy here. Call him in. It’s a healing moment, doctor. Or call the nursing home back and insist on a release.”

“You’re serious?”

I held me hands up and said, “Or take me away. One or the other. You can do it.”

He left, made the call, and returned.



“They agreed to release him, but I want you to know…”

“Thank you. Thank you very much. You’ve done something pretty great here. Look at him.”

My father-in-law lifted his head with a sly smile working across his face. It was all the strength he had.

“He’s very lucky,” the doctor said.

“We’re all lucky today. Let’s go.”

If you were to plan a nursing home rescue, how would you do it?

About David Gillaspie
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