When I walk slowly, I get a little out of breath compared to what I can expect after a very short run. There's no two ways about it, I need to get in better shape if I'm going to keep up with my dad and his walker. Of course, this little run was a bit of a surprise so maybe my sudden fatigue is the result of my body not getting the full notice that its services are required. And it's late afternoon in late July in central Florida, so the sun is hot and it feels like I'm sucking warm soup with every breath instead of air.
My dad has moved again. There's a rocket launch scheduled for 6:24, so he slipped out of bed, out the front door, down the street, and around the corner before anyone noticed. When I found him after a few minutes of frantic searching, he was halfway down the next block. Pushing his gray Walker, his four wheels. Moving fast, if irregularly, for someone who shuffles and mocks.
I caught up with him. Stopped a few steps to his right in the middle of the empty street, took a few deep breaths, and sent a small wave his way.
I've never known exactly how to approach a conversation in these situations. It's a pretty unique social script. What does one say when chasing after the father of a person with Parkinson's and shouldn't be wandering the neighborhood alone?
"Where are you going?"
That seems like a good choice as any.
Well, look who's here! My dad replied. His tone showed that this was an absurd question. Where else would he go? Verbal communication has never been the foundation of our father-son relationship and it only gets worse as his Parkinson's deepens.
As we established the reason for this amusement, we continued down the street, my dad hunched over, pushing the walker forward at a pace that left me scrambling. By the time the thunderstorm had swept through an hour earlier.