When you were a kid did you go to Disneyland (silly question, I suppose) and go on the Peter Pan Ride? First you snake around in the line anticipating the magical ride ahead of you. And as you get closer and closer to the front of the line…you begin to hear music…you try to count how many groups are in front of you… and figure out which flying boat will be yours to ride in. Then there you are at the head of the line, your flying boat arrives and you climb in. You pull the safety bar down across your lap and your boat begins to move. The music is beckoning you, your boat rises up, and out of nowhere a door opens, and you see this magical world ahead of you. Then all of a sudden you hear a voice. Who is it? Why it’s Peter Pan of course, and he says “Come on everybody, here we go!”
Hold the phone, Toto…I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore.
But we are NOT in Disneyland; we are in Morgan’s World – where sometimes things don’t go like you would expect. But just for fun, repeat after me…”Come on everybody, here we go!”
I had an appointment today for a second screening to see if I meet the criteria for a clinical study testing a new delivery system of a medication I currently take. I am sitting in the exam room waiting for my meds to kick in. But it ain’t happening. The doctor cannot do an assessment test until I am “ON”. In Parkinson’s lingo “ON” means your meds are working and “OFF” means that they are not working.
So I’m waiting, the doctors assistant is waiting, the doctor is waiting, my husband is in the waiting room waiting. Nothing. My phone alarm rings. Time to take more medicine. I do… and still we wait.
Godot could have gotten there faster.
As for me, I’m still sitting in the exam room, my leg shaking like a donkey poker player with pocket tens, my jaw clattering like one of those automated skeleton Halloween decorations.
I packed a lunch because I knew I would be there for a few hours, and I am perennially hungry. My husband came in to sit with me and we had a bit to eat. The assistant returns. “Anything?”
“Nope”…or maybe I should say “NOPE!” So the doctor still can’t do the assessment.
The decision is then made to send me over to the hospital now – for my Spirometry test, and hopefully I will turn “ON” by the time I get there. Well that works for me. I am going “goofy” sitting in this exam room (just a Little Disneyland humor there. Sorry, couldn’t help myself).
So the doctors’ assistant walks us over to the hospital where they will do the test. Here I am waiting again, still “OFF.” Lots of people pass by heading out to go home. I close my eyes for a moment and start to doze. Wait am I dreaming? I see seven dwarves trudging down the street, all singing “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho it’s home from work we go!” And me chained to a tree unable to free myself and trudge home with them.
Suddenly I hear my name being called. A gal walks up to me and puts a hospital bracelet on my wrist. Do I really need this. I am just doing a spirometry test. She points to the elevators and instructs me to go down to the lower level, and find the Pulmonary Care unit.
The lower level. That is like going to the dungeon. Quick, I need some Disney Reference here…oh dang can’t think of one. If you do, let me know.
I check in and they tell me to sit in the waiting room. How many is this now? Wow, this is the smallest waiting room I have ever been in. Maybe I’ll see Snow White and the boys here?
There are nine chairs…only two are empty. And…they aren’t next to each other. My husband excuses himself and says he’s going down the hall to make some phone calls. He’s had to do all his business calls and emails today while standing in hallways, or in waiting rooms. He’s a trooper and no complaints.
The technician comes to the door and calls my name. I go with him down a different hall and we enter an even smaller room. There are 3 huge green, slightly beaten metallic tanks, of gosh only knows what. A lot of machines and a vinyl upholstered chair. I put my purse down where he instructs me, and then asks me (very politely) to take a seat in the Spirometer.
Jimmy Cricket, this contraption has the hardest seat I’ve ever sat in. But I sit there. He begins to explain what is going to happen. I see the big mouth piece looming in front of me. I am going to have to put that in my mouth?
And still I am “off”. Then suddenly it begins. That dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I think I once heard someone say that Parkinsons is the disease that keeps on giving. Well… lately it has given me panic attacks. And now I feel the tell tale signs. I look around the room. It seems to be getting even smaller, with way too much equipment lining the walls. No attempt made to disguise it, or even decorate. I look at the arm of the spirometer that is going to close around me. And that’s it! I quickly grab my phone. I text my husband: “I am on the verge of a panic attack!” He appears at the door in two nano seconds, my knight in shining armor, or maybe I should say Prince Charming since I am in a Disney mood today. The technician, nice guy, sees I am in distress and says “do you need to get out?” Oh boy do I!
We follow him down the hall to a stairwell that takes us directly outside. I can’t breathe and someone has turned the faucet on in my eyes. And I am not even in full panic mode. Luckily the change of scenery and fresh air does the trick. I avoid complete meltdown in public.
I guess I’m not doing that study.
A few more panic attacks with that amount of tears streaming down my face, and I could singlehandedly solve California’s drought problem.