Even with all my travel experience, I could never have prepared for the onslaught of flying disabled style... I assumed it would be easy..but you know what assume did..it made an Ass out of U and Me...
Getting to the airport is the easy bit...I am in control...Like a dried up meal I pre order Disabled Assistance. At check in I hand over my suitcase... my sense of control and sanity swiftly follow ...
The first hurdle is to get through the stares at the assistance desk, the mouth says Can I help you but the eyes say You need assistance??? ..my fatigue and medical history are not printed on my face...maybe I should forget the make up so I look pale, get a tattoo or wear a T.Shirt with Mines a Brain Tumour... What's your Excuse!
Settled in a wheelchair the second hurdle...the Xray machine... is in sight...I pre warn them about the plate in my head....and even have a letter from my Consultant.....but we play the same game every time...
Them: Can you walk through without your stick?
Me: Yes but the scanner will go off I promise you...Beeepppp
Them Can you walk through again...Beeeeeppppppp
Them; Hold out your arms I will run the scanner over you..beep, beep, beep
Them: Can you take your shoes off
Me If you find me a chair, I need to sit...
Them: Oh don't worry we will swab them... (for what MRSA!!)
Them; Hold onto the glass screen here and lift your feet so we can see the soles of your shoes.
Me: I can't lift my left foot
Them: Just try...!!!!
Me...Like a novice ballerina trying to do backward plies I fail to lift my foot ...Mr H watches patiently from the sidelines, we share a grimace
Them; OK thank you.....Our session of public humiliation is complete
Back in the wheelchair the third hurdle is waiting by the sign saying Assistance...anxious that a slow dash to the loo will mean I will miss my turn...manic panic surrounds us....our flight is called but we wait....and wait.... At the gate we discover that able passengers are being loaded first..mmmmm
When we land The Wheelchairs ...have to wait till last...I have never been called a Wheelchair before..........'The Wheelchairs' are offloaded like cattle...kept waiting mid air in a metal shed ...an occasional smiling groundsman snaps the tension which builds.
On Terra Firma as one of 'The wheelchairs' I am separated from Mr H...not enough room on the minibus...
I no longer worry, passport in hand, I know at some stage I will pop out like a missing horse by the carousels....and the holiday for me...will begin