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(Like so many pieces of laundry, morning thoughts aren’t usually organized.)

JULY 01 – 08,  2019

Living with Parkinson’s

Phyllis & Sam Turner ©2019

APDA: American Parkinson Disease Association
BBC: Bisbee Breakfast Club
CH: Cynthia Holmes, Ph.D. Neurology
CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask (for Sleep Apnea).
DBS: Deep Brain Stimulation (much improved since Michael J. Fox!)
HEH: Happily Ever After!
HS: Harvey Stanbrough Pro-writer and mentor (
IBS: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (often associated with PD)
MJFF: Michael J. Fox Foundation
PSG: Parkinson’s Support Group(s)
PD: Parkinson’s Disease
PMD: PARKINSON & Movement Disorder Alliance
P.J.: Phyllis – my wife: SWOMBO (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed) A contributor and #1 editor.
PT: Personal trainer Tresha,  including daily in-home exercise assignments for PD
TC: Tai Chi Chuan for balance and body health once a week
TCF: The Compassionate Friends (For parents who have experienced the death of a child or sibling.)
WIP: Work in Progress (32º North)  I write every chance I get.  Writing is my vacation!
YISKA: Navajo for Darkness has passed.  (Also the name of a Navajo Sheepdog who barks in Navajo!)

07.01.19: 0530:  RABBIT!  and  YISKA!

Photo by Ana Felix who has been remembering  Rabbit Day since way back in fifth grade. Heavens!  How many years was that, Ana? Sometime in the 1960s, I think.

0800: Took my printer to Arizona Printer Service and repair shop. (It worked for them! They’ll keep it for two days for testing.)

0900: Meeting with the writing group. The rest of the day we read our books. I finished HS’s A Change of Plans. I am now reading Becoming.

A note to friends who have experienced the death of a child or sibling and members of  The Compassionate Friends: 

REMEMBERING JULY 2, 1997.  The day our 23-year-old-son, Robert Eric Turner, died. (Including excerpts from THIS MIGHT HELP Volume 1 by Sam and Phyllis Turner © 2004.)

The autopsy said, “of unknown causes.”  What twenty-three-year-old young man (who didn’t do drugs, didn’t drink or smoke) dies of unknown causes? After reading the medical report with our Primary Care Physician, we concluded that the death could  have been SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrom) or it could have been Sleep APNEA.

For the next five years, we arranged to be out of town on this date. We weren’t running away.  One can never run away from this tragedy.  We just didn’t want to be in Tucson over the  July Fourth activities.  We might be found on an early morning walk along the Silver Strand Beach on Coronado Island with our wonderful friend, Lucy Patterson who lost a brother years earlier. With heads down, we searched for just the right seashell — One that spoke to us in its own way, saying, “I’m the one. Pick me.” It sparkled with the beads of the Pacific Ocean. It might be a shell like this that Robert found when he walked the beach with us in his youth. Once found, we traded it with some of Robert’s ashes carried in Kodak film canisters.

Those first few years, we left his ashes only in places where we knew he had visited: Santa Barbara’s beaches, Mount Lemmon, San Diego, Avalon on Catalina Island, and the Grand Canyon cemetery where his marker is now placed next to my mother and father’s sites in my family plot.

One year, however, we drove through  Northern California’s giant redwood forest for the first time. The canopy of needles and leaves blocked the sun so much that we had our car lights on. We parked and stood in awe amidst the solitude of these giant silent sentinels. We felt Rob’s presence! Many of our TCF friends know the feeling.

We stood next to a giant tree; it’s green ferns near a fallen trunk so huge we could’ve parked our car on top of it. Instead of trading an object  for ashes, we took a picture and left a few ashes. The memory of those ancient giants whispering to us and looking up into the quivering leaves scattering sunlight, like nature’s own stained-glass window, sprinkling us with reds, oranges, greens, and yellows embedded itself in our hearts. Phyllis, Robert, and I were together again. We were at peace with our Spirits.

After that trip, we found we could sleep at home on the eve of his Death Day. We always have some anxiety, even now. If you are a member of The Compassionate Friends, you know this feeling. Even now I don’t relish facing the morning of July 2 knowing that 22 years ago, I walked into his bedroom to find he had died in his sleep of some mysterious disorder.

Was it yesterday that he stood in the garden with his floppy boots and a shovel, planting the Brittle Bush, the Desert Acacia? Those plants have grown full, poking their yellow blossoms in the desert sky. On this day of memories, I’ll stand by them knowing I’ll feel Rob’s presence near me. We are years and miles away from those dark giant redwoods. But we are never far from our son’s Spirit. For those of you who have experienced the death of a child or sibling, you know this feeling.  For our friends who have never had this experience, we hope you never have cause to become a member of this group. We hope you never have to walk the valley of loss. But for us, we find personal peace in knowing that Rob’s Spirit is with us.

Rob: You will always be with us, like a handprint on our hearts.


Rob’s Desert Willow Memorial tree in 2013 and today (07.02.19: 0700)  We walked to where Rob’s Tree is, and it gave Phyllis a hug.


A female quail as Queen of the Feedblock. Note a sparrow (lower right corner) is just taking off.

Continuing July 2nd, 2019:  After our walk along Pantano Parkway, we came home and had breakfast. At 1030, Julie arrived and helped P.J. with her computer loaded Alan and Kathy’s file of their trip hiking the Appalachian Trail. So far, they have covered 800 miles. We followed Allen’s journal a few years ago when he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from south to north. After helping Phyllis, and using her technical expertise, Julie (magically) made my printer work. That took her 10 seconds. One plug was in the wrong outlet. (All this after four years of University as a computer analyst is paying off!)

07.02.19: (Continued … ) SWOMBO is napping.  Should I wake her and take her out to lunch? Yes!  We ate at The Ecklectic! She had a steak salad; I had a shrimp quesadilla. For dessert, I took her to FROST. This was a good idea. She (and I) are happily relaxed. I’ll put an hour or so into writing my WIP.

07.03.19: 0745: Exercise with Tresha.  Stretching and coordinating our movements.  A “wild” session with many surprising interruptions. A non-stressful session. Home and changing to the Matrix for a trip to Costco.  We use the Matrix as our “truck.” We are stocked up for the rest of the month, I hope. Picked up a prescription for P.J.

Lunch I finished yesterday’s meal.

She rested, and I practice Archery at the club. (cooler inside).  Shot 36 arrows. Grouping is still erratic. Usually one in yellow, (good) one in red or blue (passing) and one clear off the target (BAD!).  I can’t blame it on PD.  I just need to slow down and follow through. When I hold the bow, my hand does not tremor. (But I can’t always write legibly because of tremor.) Planning ahead: Next week is full of morning and afternoon appointments. The evenings are usually free. We read until 2100.

07.04.19: 0500: Our flag is up. Yes. That’s Swombo’s Park Avenue.

0600: Can’t shoot this early. Sun is directly in my face. I need to move one target to the west side, and keep the big one on the east side.  I’ll see about doing that this afternoon. The Club will be open at 1000.  I’ll go shortly after it opens.  It was closed, of course.

Haven’t done much exercise this day.  Read the first fascinating 100 pages of Becoming by Michele Obama. I’ll practice in the back yard around 1700 when the Sun is to my back. Our peach tree will provide the shade.

07.05.19: 0445: YISKA!  It turns out I don’t have to move the targets. When I get up and dressed, I can see the target by 0515. The Sun isn’t up, yet. Today, I shot 18 arrows in 15 minutes. The grouping was better. All arrows were within the 2,4,6 circles. I was shooting six arrows at a time instead of the usual three. That’s why it took less time. I only had to walk the twenty yards to the target and back three times. My last six shots were all in the seven, eight, nine circles with two in the 10 spot. So I’m getting tighter.

Besides, it was cooler this morning. Only 72° in the shade. Each day gets brighter by 2 ½ minutes. I can keep getting up at my usual for 0445 to 0500, increase my shooting time to 30 minutes, and be able to shoot a full 30 arrows. I’ll still go to the club, of course. I can’t remember whether I signed up for the Monday league shoot or the Friday league shoot. Doesn’t matter. The one I didn’t sign up for will be the practice time.

Tonight’s sunset from Brett Bench. The wires are the reality of the back yard. So are the clouds.

Read another hundred pages of Becoming. The lady is a good writer.





07.06.19: Twenty yards.  First six. HELENA: Do you recognize your old target? I added the post-it so I could see it from the far side of the yard. Shot a total of 30 arrows.

1200:  After reading Margarete Ann’s last couple of Journals, I decided to update our Wills.  I used the FreeWill ap on the computer.  It took about an hour with a couple of interruptions.  I’m still going to run it by our attorney, but I want to have this “working” copy for the two of us to review before we see him. 1500: spent evening reading. To bed by 2100.

07.07.19: 0530: Sunday’s practice. The first end (of 6). Still not tight with 3 in the 9 circle and 3 out. Gotta’ follow through.  Need to slow down on my sighting. Joe’s family (minus Ethan) will be by this morning to hang out. We plan to go out to lunch together. So where is Ethan? He’s on a 10-day Boy Scout bivouac and going on several hikes somewhere in New Mexico. I’m sure we’ll get pictures.

PD:? Beginnings of  Dementia? I read somewhere that if you’re sharp enough to think that you have dementia, you probably don’t have it. That’s reassuring, I guess. However, there’s a couple of things I’ve got to learn about saving my files again. I have four ports for thumb drives. I have two thumb drives in two ports. I need to know how to save to the thumb drives. I’ll get Rachel to show me what to do this morning. Or Bekah or Joe. I used to do this all the time. I just do not remember what I did. I want to be able to take the thumb drives and transfer my files to my laptop. Then, I can work at my outdoor desk/step ladder when it’s cooler. As it turned out, all three (Joe, Rachael, and Bekah) helped me.  Bekah showed me about transferring to and from thumb drives.




1130: We took them to Opaas Best Greek Cuisine for lunch.  Afterward, we came home and did some serious family discussions. Bekah leaves for Chicago this coming Wednesday. She’s already been there once to be sure she has her job, which she does. She will be living in a 400 square foot  apartment. The major thrust of her laboratory work will be in molecular biology as it has to do with children. I loaded Harvey’s latest Wes Crawley (in the Cantina at Noon) which I will start as soon as I finish BECOMING by Michele Obama. I have about 200 pages left. 1600: I’m finished here and will go back to reading.

07.08.19: 0445: up. 0520-0600: Shot 30 arrows. Getting tighter. I’ll practice again at the club this afternoon.  League shooting at 1800.

07.09.19: 0600: Late today. Getting ready for Quail Run Writers. No chance to practice this morning. But, last week’s practicing paid off last night: I broke 150 shooting 171 for the first time. Even got a “plus one” hitting the X in the middle of the 10. The X is used in case of a tie. Some of the members get X’s regularly with each end. My next goal is to break 200. High scores, you remember, are 295 – 300.  It’s doable.

I’ll mail this out now.  I hope the pictures keep their position.

Thanks for your responses.  They mean a lot to both of us.


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