This is the story of Pam and John; she in her early 50’s and John is 62. Pam is a college professor. John taught at a local community college until diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2008, then Lewy Body Dementia in April.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Trip report

When my mother wanted to arrange a time when we could all go to Venice to scatter my father's ashes, I said Christmas time would work better for us. I forget how short Christmas vacation is for my kids--it was tight.

We did get a weekend at home after they got home, and then flew nonstop from Atlanta to Rome Dec. 23rd. It was really nice not to change--we got to Rome in time to go to the Vatican Museum the afternoon of the 24th and it wasn't crowded. I felt insecure at first in Rome--it is a scarier city than Berlin. But we had a nice apartment and cooked our own dinners, which reduced the stress. What I loved about Rome is that it was full of pilgrims--I like seeing art in churches where it still has the meaning that was originally intended. John had been to Venice before but not to Rome so he particularly wanted to see Rome.

John not badly thrown off by jet lag. The one time he had real trouble was the day we were leaving Rome. We had gone in separate directions because he wanted to see the Pantheon and our daughter wasn't up for that much walking. He got back to the apartment an hour later than we had planned because of problems that required him to spend a long time in the nearest bathroom he could find.

We flew to Venice on a very cheap Ryan Air flight and there we stayed in a very small hotel with my sisters and their families and my mother. My mother was subdued, but a lot of wine was consumed, which makes me uncomfortable. All 14 of us stayed together only for a few excursions so there weren't any problems with John keeping up. We tended to gather in the hotel breakfast room in the late afternoon and go out to dinner together.

My mother talked some about getting evaluated for Alzheimers, but no one talked with me about John. My family's idea of privacy tends to extend to not talking about what is going on. I focused on our kids--our daughter and I spent a lot of time walking through the city doing a little shopping and stopping to look in every church we came to. John mostly did what he wanted to do, usually with at least one of us along. I was frustrated one time when I went off to do the laundry and when I got back John had gone off to find the internet cafe and hadn't left me a note so I didn't know when he would be back.

I particularly enjoyed a side trip to Padua, where we visited the Scrovegni chapel, with frescoes by Giotto that have recently been restored, and the pigrimage church of St. Anthony. At that and several other churches that have relics where people pray for miracles, I prayed for spiritual healing for John.

We returned to Rome by train to see the scenery and then flew home the next morning. I was pretty tired of organizing by that point. John had problems when he got home (previous post). I'm not sure whether he interprets those as travel becoming a problem for him. With renovating our other house and moving we don't have any big travel plans for next summer.

Blogger is refusing to upload my pictures; I will try again later.

1 comment:

no1daughteroflewydad said...

Hello Pam,

I'm so pleased to read that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and holiday even though it also included the sad occasion of being your Fathers final resting place.
It sounds like you are going to have a lot on your plate, in time with your Mother also.
You are in my thoughts and I send you lots of best wishes.