When John and I were still dating, we took a trip together from Seattle to Roseburg, Oregon for his grandmother’s 80th birthday. It’s a pretty long drive. I took a look at the bald tires on John’s car and wondered aloud whether it would be a good idea to get some new tires before the trip.  He pooh-pooh’d me, “What do you mean? These tires are great! I’ve had them forever and they’d never gone flat.”

What transpired was my logical argument that tires wear out. They do not get better from experience. However, I was also a college student short on funds and I didn’t even own a car. So we set out for his grandmother’s in John’s Ford LTD II. I don’t know how many hours it was, but it was enough that we had passed all cities of any size, when we had the first flat tire. John put on a spare. I don’t remember quite how long the spare lasted but I do remember that we weren’t even near a dinky town. We had to hitch hike from a very nice woman who took us to the nearest town where John purchased a new tire. It must not have been too far because I remember walking back to the car along the side of the highway, while John initially rolled the tire beside him. Then he had an impulsive thought, one suited to his age (22) and ADHD. John decided to try to BOUNCE the tire. Fortunately, it DID NOT ROLL INTO THE HIGHWAY into traveling vehicles! By the time we got to his grandmother’s party, my adrenaline was low enough to have fun and be pleasant. Phew!

John says now that he did not really believe that his tires had gotten better with age. He just didn’t have money for tires. He was sure adamant at the time.

As you may know, my dad has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which was long suspected. I talked to Mom and Dad today. The physical therapist has been working on the stairs to the house with my dad. Dad made it down the stairs again today. In more exciting news, he was able to walk (with his walker) down the driveway of the house toward the street. (It is a 500-foot-long driveway. He did not walk the whole way.)

Knowing that my dad’s home-based services will stop being covered by Medicare sometime soon, I have started talking to my mom about their paying privately so that he can continue to get support. My mom thinks this is a good idea. Today, I brought it up with my dad. “I don’t need it. I’ve been walking my whole life. I could have made it all of the way down the driveway today. I could have done this the whole time I’ve been back home. I know how to go down stairs. I’ve been doing it my whole life.”

My dad is making the same argument about his body as John made about those tires. I married my father. They are a couple of highly lovable hard heads.

I would get really frustrated but I’ve learned something during my dad’s hospitalization, stay at rehab, and during his transition back to home. He says a lot of things, especially at first. Dad initially said that he did not need a fancy walker. He changed his mind, I ordered it, and now he loves it. Dad initially said that he did not need a remote control lifting recliner. He changed his mind. I ordered one. Now he loves it. What he does is another thing altogether. He has worked hard on his therapy. He is making noticeable improvements.

I have been worried for quite awhile about how my parents would deal with the challenges of aging. They have actually adapted to the changes pretty well.