Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Down the rabbit hole, Alice....

Geez, where to start. Okay, so the plane ride up here? HA!! Let's just say that I did not fly the friendly skies. As many of my friends will attest, I have become hyper focused and weird about certain things. While I was on pain meds, I constantly asked the same question three times or said the same inane comment in triplicate. Don't know why, just did. So you can imagine before I took this flight I was VERY careful.

When I made the reservations I said I was disabled and needed help - that's why they told me I would be "carried" on board. When my family had to pick up my Dad at the airport three days before I left, I went to the ticket counter and reminded the agent of my disability - hell, I was in a wheelchair, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out....or did it?

The day of my flight, I reminded the agent that I needed assistance to board the plane - I told her I couldn't walk up the ramp steps. Since the flight was a small commuter plane, we boarded old school style, from the tarmac. Anyway, while the ground crew guy is pushing me to the airplane he said, "So, how do I help you up the steps?" Naturally I exclaimed in a very surprised but sweetly dulcet tone, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN HELP ME UP THE STEPS? I CAN'T WALK UP STEPS!! YOU PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSE TO CARRY ME ON BOARD!!' He looks at me and grabs his radio and says, "I just found out she needs to be loaded onto the plane. We need to get the special ramp out." I looked at him (I'm sure my eyes were rolling back in my head) and said (in the same sweet and dulcet tones, "I TOLD THREE DIFFERENT PEOPLE I NEEDED HELP!! WHAT'S GOING ON?" He, so not wisely says into his radio again, "She SAYS she told three people prior to boarding. That's what she SAYS."

We get to the plane and the ground crew is pulling back the ramp and pulling in some kind of contraption - a seat with a pulley kind of thingy. I looked at it and then at them and said, "My ass is so not fitting on that Barbie seat. Don't you have anything bigger?" Oh, it gets better. Apparently, the sides lift up into a cage type, seat with a pulley kind of thingy. And then the real fun began. They strapped me into the cage type, seat with a pulley kind of thingy and caged me in. I was so busy watching what was going on that I hadn't noticed that the rest of the passengers were now on the tarmac - and I was the sideshow freak. Yup, cheap airfare and a day at the circus. Didn't they score? The cage type, seat with a pulley kind of thingy was manual, folks, manual. That's right. Millions of dollars of equipment and those bastards have a hand crank. It was beyond humiliating. Not only am I holding up the flight, through no fault of my own, but now everyone on the flight gets to see not one, but TWO ground crew members struggling to crank me onto the plane. I apologized to everyone, why, I don't know but I felt it was all my fault. Then, this Barbie seat gets pulled out of the cage type, seat with a pulley thingy and I get pushed down a very narrow aisle to my seat in the second row. I was tired. I was angry. I wanted to cry. No matter how much I prepped, those bastards still managed to mess up my flight.

There's more. I travel with my walker. I tried to keep it in the cabin with me - the flight wasn't even half full so there was lots of overhead space. Both the flight attendant and the ground crew staff made me give up my walker. BIG MISTAKE. When we landed, we did the whole loading me up in the Barbie chair (you know I named it that because only Barbie's ass could possibly fit in it) and wheeled me out the plane. The arriving airport was civilized and deplaned us directly into the airport. The ground crew guy handed me my walker and I looked at it, then at him. They had broken my walker. Bent the screws, stripped the socket. How was I going to walk? Stand? Of course, Mr. Brainiac didn't have any answers. Hell, he didn't even offer to push me to baggage claim. It was me, my huge carry on and my broken walker, all powering down the hallway, with me using my right foot to move me along. Many baggage handlers walked past me, not one offered assistance. Finally, this savior, this wonderful man - TSA Dude, took pity and pushed me the remaining 200 feet to my waiting sister.

That was my flight experience. No oily, half-dressed (or half-undressed) muscly men carrying me onto the plane, pasha style. Just me, my wonky walker, and a trip down the rabbit hole.

1 Comments:

At 9:48 AM , Blogger Jill said...

Oh Jess how awful! Sorry you had to go through that. Hopefully the trip back won't be such a cluster f@#$. Give me a call when you get back to SD. Would love to get together for lunch and give you your belated Birthday present.
Love and miss you!!
Jill

 

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