Saturday, July 12, 2008

Traveling as a recovering Cushie....

The first section below was written yesterday while I was traveling. I have more to add after it.


Can you tell I'm stuck at a major airport waiting on another flight out? Argh..... I managed to make the short leg with no problems, but our destination was covered in fog and backed up. Long story short version: Missed my connecting flight.

I'm so proud of myself. Why? I didn't need a ride, or any help, navigating either airport. Last year at this time, that was not true, although I was much better than during the previous trip! No wheelchairs, no hitching a ride on the glorified golf carts, no sitting down halfway down one terminal while trying to get to the main hub and to another. Nope...I walked it all, lugging my laptop and big purse-wannabe-a-tote-bag-a-ma-jiggee. Now, I wasn't as fast as some, but I DID IT!!

Hey, no stress dosing today, either! Not yet, anyhow. I'm feeling a little nauseous, but part of that is due to the fact I didn't get any time to eat until a few minutes ago. I think I'll be ok. No pains, no swelling (!!!!!) today, and most of all, no anxiety.

The little puddlejumper I came in on was about 3/4 full. I mention that because it has a bearing on my meandering tale. I was at the exit door on the right, and was supposed to have a seat mate. The other set of seats across from me was facing me, and there were two folks assigned to those two seats. The funny thing (and it really was funny) was that we were the 4 of the larger folks on the plane. There were others with probably the same size, but the logistics of the 4 of us was beyond hilarity. 4 of us sitting together.

Well, the flight attendant (FA), without being a bit rude, realized the situtation. Mind you, I wasn't complaining. The lady beside of me was, though. And her butt was bigger than mine. The dear lady across from me was a novice flyer (more about her later), and the gentleman beside of her was not. However, he was very uncomfortable. He was at least 6 feet tall, and at least 350 pounds.

FA started moving folks around. But she didn't move the four of us, first. She said to one young man, "Honey, if you want to go sit with your grandmother, you can." He went. She moved another person beside a friend/business partner so they would be
together. Then she moved the gentleman who was in our group of 4 with a "There will be more room for you to stretch out over there." The lady beside of me never quit complaining. Finally, FA looked at the complaining lady (CL) and said, "There
is a set of empty seats. Take your pick."

Mind you, our flight was all of 38 minutes long. I could handle it if CL could. Don't tell me FA was trying to balance the plane. There were plenty of folks on there as big as the 4 of us. They just didn't have to sit with another one who was their size. FA
was marvelous, though. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was very courteous the whole time.

Back to the lady who was flying the first time. She was Cushie. Love her heart. She
had all the signs and symptoms. And I didn't bring my cards with me! YIKES! She didn't have email, her purse was stowed and she couldn't remember her own (new) cell phone number. My purse was stowed, I had no way to write anything. When we landed, I decided I'd write down some info for her and hand it to her. I wanted to be
tactful, but I also wanted to help her.

It wasn't to be. When we landed, she had 15 minutes to catch her next flightand they whisked her away on a golf cart. Me, I had all the time in the world............. I didn't see her again. I'm so sad. She was such a nice, sweet, lady. I hope someone, somewhere will help her.


Things didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd hoped. The nausea got worse before I got on my 5 hour flight, I got very cold and shakey, and my head was hurting. While walking to get to my gate, I lost my balance and a dear, elderly lady stopped and asked me if I was ok. I said yes. I was not. I did have it together enough to know to take some cortef. Which I did. And ibuprofen for my head. That and a bottle of juice really did help, though, and by the time I boarded the plane I was ok. Not great, but ok. I got a great seat, though! Exit row seating! Stretch my short legs out seating! No getting up to let folks out seating!!

I don't know about y'all, but those airplane seats do not fit me right. I'm too short. My head hits the wrong spot, my spine is out of whack, and the small of my back is not touching anything. So, I have to grab a pillow, use a blanket, my jacket and whatever else I can find to "adjust" so I don't get the headache (a worse headache this time) and the backache. Still, once I do that, my seat cuts into the back of my legs. Yes, I'm short. I need a footstool to prop my feet on.

And yes, I get cold. I've learned to fly with enough clothes layered to handle that. And a trusty, small blanket that fits in my wannabe-a-totebag purse .

Soooooooooo, I read a whole book on the flight ("Protect and Defend" by Vince Flynn), did umpteen leg, ankle, and foot stretches, slept a couple of times, listened to my mp3 player, and chatted with the nice young man from Russia sitting beside me. He was reading one of Dan Brown's older novels ("Angels and Demons") and we discussed his books for a while, and then some others we'd both read.

Once I made it to my destination, I was tired. Very tired. At that point, I'd been up and going for 20 hours. That was tough for me. I know it's not for some of you reading this, but it was for me. My muscles ached from head to toe and I was bone-tired. When I got to baggage claim, I think someone must have realized this because a nice USAirways gentleman was standing there with my one big piece of luggage! I could have kissed him! The other luggage was just starting to be unloaded. I don't know how/why he had mine, but I didn't care. (I think the FA I had on the long flight had something to do with it. I helped her out with change and such, and she and I had a good conversation, too.)

I love my luggage, btw. It's an e-bag called the "Mother Lode", and it's so easy to pack, versatile, easy to roll and great for a Cushie without much muscle strength. I can't deal with two pieces of luggage. I can't handle it. I can strap my laptop case to it when I roll through the airport.

Speaking of know that the new regs allow only one piece 50 pounds or under or you have to pay extra. Since my ticket was booked before July 9, I didn't have to pay the $15 fee for checking that one piece. When the dear man wrestled my luggage on the scale, it was moving between 49 and 51 pounds. Finally, it came to rest. 50.00 pounds. ON THE DOT! The fellow looked at me...looked back at my luggage....looked at me...."I have NEVER had a piece of luggage hit the fifty-dot-oh-oh exactly before." I never batted an eyelash. "That's what you call great packing, isn't it?"

(Added note: Man, am I ever sore today!)

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