As the Parkinson's disease with which I am afflicted has slowly but steadily worsened in recent years, it has been encouraging to watch how my family has rallied around me in their own unique ways. I have no doubt that without them I would be living in a refrigerator box beneath the Third Street viaduct, in a secluded little spot not far from the Bear Creek Trail, or I would be dead.
My wife, Nancy, shoulders the vast majority of the responsibility for keeping me upright and functioning to some degree or another. Among the many hats my dear spouse wears these days is that of a physical therapist, cook, chauffeur, nurse, assistant reporter, coach and cheerleader. There are certainly a number of other duties that she performs regularly, if not daily, that I am omitting simply because I cannot think of the appropriate "hat" to list that she would be wearing. Suffice to say my bride performs tasks on my behalf that I would not wish upon my harshest critic, let alone the love of my life. Still, she continues to render assistance day, after day, after day without much, if any, grumbling.
My son, Jacob, is on the record for having extended an invitation to Nancy and me to come to Kansas and move in with him and his family.
My son, Caleb, assists by performing an assortment of household projects which are aimed at keeping the Henley hacienda livable despite the growing mobility issues that I have.
My daughter, Anna, has shown the willingness to change her plans on a moment's notice to help her dear, old dad, whether it be to help get me off the floor or to "daddy sit" in the hope of keeping me off the floor at least for an extended period of time.
My daughter, Amber, purchased a "help" system service for me to use to summon assistance if I go down and cannot get back up.
When the help device arrived Nancy opened the container in which it came to see exactly how much of a chore it was going to be to get it operational. As it was being examined the device suddenly became active. It advised in an extremely loud voice that its phone line and power source needed to be checked before it could become operational. These messages repeated every few minutes.
Unable to find an off switch, and unwilling to endure a night of broken sleep because of the repeating messages, Nancy took matters into her hands. She took the device to the basement where she wrapped it in a towel and placed it in the back seat of our Toyota with its windows all rolled up.
I watched in silence as my wife took the steps necessary to help quiet the house that night. I do not know if it is a symptom of the Parkinson's or not, but I am told that I periodically cry out loudly when I am dreaming. I made a mental note that I need to be careful about what I am yelling at when visiting Dreamland otherwise it might be me who is being banished to the basement for being too noisy.