This is it, I've hugged my Mom, grabbed my backpack and day bag, and boarded a bus to Union Station in Toronto. Tonight I'll be laying on a single bed with a white fluffy duvet, the sound of the train clicking along the tracks and the gentle sway of the carriage lulling me to sleep. The start of my four-day journey to Vancouver. But before I leave, before I start my journey, I need to do one thing. I need to change my desktop picture from one of Apple's colourful landscape shots to a photo of my Dad. The same photo hangs in my Mom's house. It's the photo that rested atop his casket at his funeral. It's the last photo I took of him that shows the man he was before his Alzheimer's disease set-in and changed his personality.
It's been almost two months since my Dad passed away in a hospital room in Fergus, Ontario. I remember getting the call to drive home early from Québec City, which resulted in the longest nine hours of my life, where I pleaded for him to wait for me to get to his bedside. Two days later I was holding his hand, stroking his hair, and telling him it was time for him to go. I then watched him take his last breath.
Born on the dining room table at the farmhouse in Bracebridge, Ontario, Dad was the youngest of twelve children (nine boys and three girls). Premature at birth, he was taken to the hospital inside the doctor’s little black bag. In those first weeks Dad’s sisters would take turns holding him at night, resting their feet on the wood stove; heating their bodies, which would, in turn, heat his. When it was time for him to eat, they fed him with an eyedropper, and as Dad loved to say, “…now they use a funnel!”
It’s 7:40 a.m. and I’ve barely slept. I’ve been awake for twenty minutes, and out of bed for roughly six.
“There’s something wrong with you!” my Dad says, angrily jabbing his temple and glaring at me with every ounce of energy he can muster.
I’m tired. Too tired to start the day this way.
My Dad has dementia, and unfortunately, this is the new normal.
There seems to be a trend in traditional media in which they report only the worst stories or points of view about a destination. Although I don't agree with the way in which they report the news, I know their reports are biased and I ignore them (for the most part) when making my travel decisions. Unfortunately, this trend seems to be seeping into the blogging world, and that is even more troubling to me because as bloggers we have the ability to share our destinations in a very unfiltered way. We generally don't have editors, or corporate bosses to answer to. The only people we have to answer to is ourselves, and our audience.
All travellers should strive for healthy travel. Let's face it; there is nothing worse than being sick or injured in a foreign country. Language barriers can make simply conversations difficult, and reading medical instructions next to impossible. Healthy travel encompasses more than illnesses or accidents, it also encompasses things like exercise, eating right and more.