First, Coy has had LBD for 8 years, is in early stage, and also has foot deformities that make standing for long periods difficult and CHF that reduces his walking stamina. Our experiences may not be relevant for your situation. This may be of more interest to CGs with LOs in early stage.
Coy has mostly good days, but a couple days before the trip he seemed a little down. I was worried that he might be coming down with something (which he wasnât) and hoped that he would have good days on the trip (which he didnât). He was less alert than on a similar trip last year, and much more âwobblyâ than he has been for some time.
Here is what we did on our 4-day alumni bus tour into South Dakota led by the head of the geography department, and also the challenges for Coy along the way.
Wednesday â first stop a history museum, for about an hour. Museum guide lectured while we stood. This was too hard for Coy so I found him a chair. (I noticed that it was too hard for several other people to stand that long, too.)
Lunch at a German restaurant with ethnic food. To help speed things I cut Coyâs chicken breast up for him. He ate about a fourth of his food (but all of his dessert
Toured an art museum and then an agricultural museum. Used wheel chair and Coy enjoyed both. Without the chair it would have been too much standing.
Dinner, I picked pasta and shrimp for Coy because it is easy for him to eat. Food was awesome and he enjoyed it, although he ate less than half. We carried our dessert back to the hotel and enjoyed it later.
Heard a lecture on economy of SD. Coy seemed to follow it, and enjoyed certain details.
Thursday â simple breakfast at the motel. Long bus ride. Coy didnât seem to pay much attention to the commentary by the geography prof. It might have been hard for him to hear.
Lunch was a buffet of pizza and fried chicken. I helped Coy through the line and got his drink. He enjoyed it and ate almost everything he selected. He didnât converse much with others at our tables throughout the trip.
Toured the state capital building, with wheelchair. Coy enjoyed it.
Two hour bus ride. Coy sometimes read. We had small snacks throughout each ride, and plenty of water and coffee or tea. Mostly after lunch there was no commentary so we could nap!
Spent about an hour in Wall Drug. Used wheelchair. Coy picked out a t-shirt and generally got a kick out of the place.
Dinner was about a block from the hotel. Used wheelchair. The party room was upstairs, with no elevator, but Coy managed that OK. (Glad we hadnât walked the block first!) Dinner was awesome, but huge quantities. Again I helped Coy by cutting up his food. He does not seem to mind this in public.
Friday â hot breakfast buffet for our group at hotel.
Toured a buffalo ranch, which we both enjoyed greatly. Not much walking involved. Lots of wind, though, (hey, it is SD!) and Coy went back into the bus after seeing the herds.
Toured an art studio with great photography. Coy was particularly wobbly at that point and by the time he walked from the bus to the building he had to sit down immediately. The rest of us stood and listened to the artist explain his work. I donât think Coy heard much of that, but I donât think it would have interested him much anyway. He did look at the pictures.
Toured a cattle ranch. Mostly stayed on bus. Coy didn't seem to listen much to the rancher, but did look at the cattle.
On comfort stop during next leg of bus trip, Coy wanted to stay on bus so I went into the rest stop without him, but then he wasnât on the bus when I returned! He decided at the last minute to go in, so I went back and made sure he was OK, and the whole bus waited while he finished his business.
Everyone was very kind and patient with Coy.
Lunch was a sandwich, chips, and fruit packed by the hotel and eaten in the bus. That worked fine for Coy.
Dinner fit our usual pattern, me helping by cutting the meat and Coy leaving a lot uneaten (which more of us should have done, actually.
The bright lights outside our room bothered my sleep, but nothing bothered Coy! I had to help him a lot getting ready for breakfast on time. He was still sleepy.
Saturday â long tour of Sioux Falls, with no exiting the bus. Coy didnât pay much attention to our guide but was alert and interested in the sites.
Lunch was at park pavilion, with reasonable sized portions. It was the only meal on the trip that Coy finished completely.
Toured petroglyphs. Terrain was uneven but they provided a golf cart for Coy. He was pretty tired and just viewed a small part of the exhibit and spent the rest of time resting in the cart.
Dinner was fish and Coy didnât need any help. He ate about half.
We got home about 9:30 pm; he was in bed by 11:00 and slept until 2:30 the next afternoon! I expect that heâll need extra sleep for several days.
I told him that I knew the trip was kind of fast-paced for him and had been very tiring. I asked if he thought it was worth it, and if heâd ever want to take a similar trip again. His response was, âOh yes! I need to have things to enjoy in life.â
A tour like this is ideal for me. The extent of my planning was checking off menu choices sent in advance and figuring out how to pack for unpredictable weather. I didn't have to drive, lug luggage, pick out hotels or restaurants, or sites to see. I could concentrate on helping Coy and enjoying the trip and visiting with other people. I hope that the college does another one next spring, and I hope that Coy will still be able to enjoy it!