Montreal is the place to be as October 1st marks the beginning of the 3rd World Parkinson’s Congress (WPC). When I dove head first into the Parkie Pool, I had heard of the WPC, it sounded like a huge amount of scientific jargon for people who thought at the level of Einstein. Seeing as I had been approached by multiple Parkies and Professionals who voiced the importance for me to attend; I thought I would give it a whirl. With no idea how huge this week would be to my growth as a Parkie, Professional, as well as a person, I purchased my admission along with my best friend, my father.
During the months prior to my departure to Montreal, I had much preparing to do. First things first, I had to get a passport. Can you believe that at my young ripe age of thirty-something, I had never been out of the Country! With Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 13, Cancer at age 24 and Parkinson’s disease at age 32, my schedule had been cramped; I just couldn’t not pencil in a vacation. Then came the second most important task…what to wear? I would want to be comfortable, but fashionable which usually doesn’t compliment each other. My stiletto heels and dystonia just don’t look good together.
Packing for this trip is the same as every other trip…include the following: socks, underwear, pajamas, dresses (casual, and cocktail), jeans (fat jeans to accommodate eating too much chocolat or Fromage and skinny jeans when you feel like a sexy fox), bathing suit, even though I won’t be around a pool, enough medications to stop a rhino, travel size baby blankin’ (it is a very scary world out there), three different belts to complement various outfits, t-shirts for comfort, blouses for adorableness, make-up to feel beautiful everyday. Then multiple that by 14 days, although I am only there for 6 days…don’t judge me…it’s a girl thing. Then I have my dog sit on my suitcase to hold it down as I jimmy the zipper up. As for my carry-on, I am prepared for any social media moment, with my iPhone, iPad and just in case I have inspiration to blog, my MacBook Air.
I guess I missed the memo about Canada being an international flight and with my handi-capable status, I should arrive 2 hours early for my flight. It’s Canada, our friendly neighbors with no ocean dividing us! International sounds so…International! Arriving in Parkinson’s Time (which is my standard speed), I have 50 minutes till my airplane is to take off. As I get to the counter to check my obese, over-stuffed luggage, I enter my reservation number on the computer screen, which tells me, I missed checking my suitcase by 1 minute. I try to make eye contact with the woman behind the counter. Have you every noticed how happy flight attendants appear? Always smiling and willing to please? Yep, not the woman who meets my gaze and then snaps her pointer finger in the air to communicate, “You will wait a minute.”
A minute turns into 5 minutes… then 7 minutes. I am shifting back and forth and looking around like I am about to stealing something. Each minute that ticks away, I can feel myself getting further and further away from Montreal. Finally the woman, shall we call her the nincompoop, comes over to my kiosk, looks at the screen and says, “You missed your flight, you need to go over there” and swishes her hand the direction of another counter. Getting irritated, I say with confidence, “I know that you are super busy, but I have been waiting here for quiet some time, and I was only one minute off from checking my overly fluffy luggage. Is there any chance I could pop on?” Then I shoot nincompoop the most adorable, sweetest smile I could muster. Without missing a beat she snaps, “Step aside ma’am.”
Do you ever have a flash between reality and dreams? When I get mad, sad, frustrated, irritated, hungry, tired, or just flat out cranky; I can go two ways, I can cry or yell. At that current moment, I had been up since 5am, (which mornings are awful with PD), I was tired from lugging around my massive suitcase, and this lady’s attitude was taking me over the top. I had a picture flash through my head of chucking my cell phone at the head, jumping behind the counter and throwing my bag on the conveyer belt and then as I step over her body on the floor, I say something smart like “Guess I am not late now!” But then I flash to seeing the air marshal escorting me out of the airport in handcuffs and this Perky Parkie never making it to Montreal…. and I decided to keep my mouth shut and get on the next flight.
I make it up to the next counter to let them know with a huge amount of shame that I was a bad person and missed my flight. I am greeted by a woman with a large smile and who was willing, almost excited to help me. As I was booked on the next flight available, I noticed the nincompoop approaching out of the corner of my eye. She had taken the time away from her counter just to come and tell her co-worker the obvious fact that I missed my flight. Ohhhhh! That was it! My dream became reality when I mouthed off with an over exaggerated, “Thank you! I am so glad you let me know that! Because the huge neon sign that says, “Special requests/Missed flights” was not enough for me to figure out. You can go now, we have it all under control.” She shot me a smug grin, but the smirk I sent back had the best mix of passive aggression, with a dash of snootiness.
I was sitting for 3 hours waiting for my next flight, which I had impressively eaten an McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, hash browns, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, and an Orange Juice. Ok, I can’t lie; I might have also had a slice of Pumpkin bread. What can I say, I was irritated and bored? I hear a woman get on the overhead speaker to announce the boarding of my upcoming flight. As I pull my head out of my “Candy Crush” video game on my iPad, I spot the source of the voice. It was the flight attendant who would be working, and to my disbelief, it was actually nincompoop! Not only has this trip not gone as planned, I hadn’t even left California! Would I ever make it to Montreal for The World Parkinson’s Congress?