I’ve written about my dad here before, but I’m going to give him a little more digital ink right now because he’s earned it. He’s my hero. He is funny, smart and so, so, so incredibly brave.
Last week we flew up to Seattle for a Parkinson’s event featuring the improv workshop I’ve put together. With the help of Virginia Mason Hospital group, ComedySportz Seattle and the local APDA chapter, we turned out 20 people affiliated with Parkinson’s for the event and got some spectacular feedback. You can see some of it in this video here.
As you’ll also see in that video, we’re going to have a special event next Friday in honor of Father’s Day and Parkinson’s. The screening of Boys of Summer, the first film in the series, where dad, who was only three years into his PD diagnosis at the time and considered early onset, and I made the ultimate road trip: we drove 20,000 miles in two months to see a game at each of the 30 MLB parks. We met people in various stages of PD along the way as well as many experts who were hot on the cure at the time (remember the promise and deep controversy of stem cells?).
At any rate, that screening is happening next Friday, June 14th and we hope you will join us. It will also be a chance for me to tell you more about the research I’m building on regarding the influence of improvisation on Parkinson’s.
Back to my dad, the hero. Travel has become increasingly difficult and uncomfortable for him. His body just doesn’t respond as he’d like it to. Unfamiliarity leads to stress which triggers all sorts of bad PD effects. Even with that, he wanted to go on this trip to Seattle, to meet new friends, do this improv work and spend some time with old friends, too.
He flew up on his own - taking an Uber in from home and getting wheelchair assistance from curb to gate. Props to Alaska Airlines for treating him well. I met him at baggage claim (that’s no bag, that’s my dad!) and we got around Seattle very well - including taking in a Mariner’s game.
On the trip home, I was able to get him to his wheelchair assistance and they got him on the plane just fine. I felt relieved I was going to send dad home in one piece to mom. Lo and behold, as I arrive in Las Vegas, I get a text from my mom that dad had an accident on the plane and is in an ambulance. Turns out he had to go to the bathroom while the plane was in flight - a harrowing effort for even the most able bodied. He made it there okay, but he bumped his leg into something along the way that gashed his leg to the tune of what ended up being 16 stitches! They almost grounded the plane when they saw the way he was bleeding.
Thankfully, dad is fine. He jokes about his thin skin all the time being the cause of minor abrasions that bleed q fair amount. But he’s the toughest thin-skinned guy I’ve ever known and I look forward to celebrating him on Father’s Day again next weekend. I hope you’ll join us - not just for him - but for all of us as the work we can do (and fun we can have) with improvisation can truly improve the quality of all our lives.
See you next week! My best to you.
— written by Robert Cochrane