Parkinson's Disease

Atlanta Airport 1, Parkie 0

Herewith the saga of one Parkie and the dreaded Atlanta airport. (Parkie, for the uninitiated, is a person with Parkinson’s disease, like me.)


I left a NYC business meeting last week headed for Atlanta. My Southwest flight was scheduled to arrive Atlanta 10:50 PM. It didn’t


I landed instead at 1:15 a.m. Had 30 minutes to make last hotel shuttle van. (To claim last room in hotel.)


That’s due to you, Southwest, the airline that maxed out and crashed its computer system the day previous, bringing Thursday’s customer nightmare


Late night, reduced schedule for airport internal subway cost me time. After subway, “sprinted” through terminal as only an exhausted Parkie can do, slowly, losing an orthotic insert for my shoe in process.


I was five minutes late for scheduled departure of last shuttle. But driver was still waiting. Not for me, I learned, but for a hotel employee he had taken a shine to.


I crept aboard van VERY slowly. Said driver asked why so difficult? Parkinson’s, I answered.


I placed my two small bags and myself in the front seat on the right. Floor and luggage rack on my immediate left.


Said female hotel employee follows me aboard, greeted by this from driver: “You are the ONLY reason I didn’t leave on time. I wanted to see you.”


Driver proceeds to drive to hotel, fast, very fast, as if to demonstrate his driving prowess. So fast in fact that final cloverleaf exit ramp required my very hard lean against centrifugal force.


Force won, hurling me to floor and then against luggage rack. (My well executed, football, Rock Steady roll to right shoulder protected against serious injury.)


Driver stops van and helps me off floor. I remind him I said I had PD. He says he had warned me to use seat belt (No such seat belt conversation ever happened. I was too tired to even notice belt was there.)


He becomes obsessive, repeatedly asking “Are you okay?” I can visualize liability cartoon-balloon above his head, saying “Lawsuit. Lawsuit. This could be bad.”


Aftermath:  I remain sore on upper right side of body. Otherwise OK.


My Parkie Pal Laura had this to say after hearing story: “Sorry about the effingerous night you had. Effingerous: Effing + dangerous.”


Moral of story: “Beware shuttle bus guys who lust while driving.”






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