Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Away With Us

Today we leave for a lecture tour of British Columbia. It's an interesting trip because they booked the time, had people sign up and then we plotted them into the days - so we'll be going all over the province, north, south, east and west. There will be little time in between to do much else but drive. We've stocked up on books on tape so we should be OK there - and we get to see one of the most beautiful places on earth during late spring, how great is that.

Travelling with a disability brings a different approach to the whole process. The anxiety of travel, experienced by all, is combined with the anxiety of accessibility. We check and double check before we leave and check again as we travel. Every hotel will be called the day before, exact questions will be asked, exact promises will be made. And yet. And YET. There will be misunderstanding and miscommunication. There will be rooms impossible to get into, bathrooms impossible to use. This is now a given for us. And it causes such worry that I begin, now, to feel panic before even getting on the plane.

With the airlines now restricting us to one bag each, we've got to manage to take medical equipment, a c-pap machine for example, and clothing. We figure that we'll now need to do laundry twice as often as before. But we can manage that. Then there is the concern about the wheelchair arriving at the gate as promised - we've had it stolen by another passenger before; and that it's undamaged - we've had the arms almost totally broken off. Every time something goes wrong it adds to the inventory of things to worry about next time. Even when a trip goes smoothly, as some, even many, do; the memories of the bad trips, the broken chairs and the inaccessible rooms linger.

So we leave, we've packed our bags and our anxieties and by the time many of you read this we will be in the air and on our way. British Columbia is home to both of us, we will be near where Joe grew up, where he and I met, where I grew up. We will be visiting cities and people we have known for years and cities and people where we've never been before. We will be making connections and re-connections. And we will be dealing with the need to spontaneously problem solve situations beyond our control.

Over the next few weeks, blog posting may become erratic given my access to Internet and the lateness of our arrival, some evenings we have a seven hour drive after one lecture to get to the next town for the next one. On those days, sleep, not writing, will be a priority. I am, after all, getting older.

But then, the last time I begged off playing a 'throw the kids around game' with a 'I'm getting older and I tired out' plea, Ruby looked at me and said, 'You aren't old, you're ...' and here she started counting off on her fingers ... 'you are human, you are in a wheelchair and you aren't tired yet.' She's right. On all counts. I get tired from the idea of being tired - now it's time to pull up my expectations, and head out the door.

Anyone who starts to hum 'on the road again' will get whacked!!


Anonymous said...

The idea of getting whacked made me giggle - a lot!

Have a safe trip

Kevin H said...

Are you coming through Edmonton? I'd love to see you, I'm the one who emailed you awhile ago re. Handicapped parking spaces

Gabriella - The Stepford Wife said...

hope that you have a safe and good trip. :)

Susan said...

Godspeed, Dave and Joe! You'll be fine - after all you prepped with pie. And very special pie at that. :)

Anonymous said...

The wheeliecrone says - Bon voyage, Dave!
I do a bit of travelling for my job - not anything like as much as you - but I, too, fight with panic at the prospect of reliving some of my bad experiences. Still, I pack my cpap machine and hope that my chair will survive the trip.
I hope that all your hotels understand what accessibility means and take all possible measures to assure your comfort. Have a great trip, Dave!

Anonymous said...

Happy trails.

Belinda said...

Hey Dave, I belatedly learned on my recent trip to Israel that a CPap machine doesn't count as luggage because it is medical equipment. One of my fellow travellers--someone who travels a lot, told me that. He even packed his CPap bag with lots of extra granola bars in all the nooks and crannies. I plan to test the theory on my next trip to England.

myrrien said...

all the best Dave and Joe

kitten said...

belinda is ABSOLUTELY correct. cpap machines cannot be counted towards your carryon, so you can leave more room in your luggage. roll your shirts (if you wear non-wrinkleables) and you can pack more of them, tuck socks into all the little crevices. (i'm sure you know all that)

safe journey to you and joe, and safe journey home again.

Noisyworld said...

I wasn't humming until you mentioned it lol
I hope the (mini)world tour goes well :)

Tamara said...

Thanks, Dave. Now that song will be in my head for hours ... Even though the obstacles you have to deal with when you're on the road again can end up being really good blogs, I'll wish you none of that on this trip. May all your inspiration come from being inspired, not frustrated!

Maggie said...

Wishing you safe, easy, accessible travel. May hassles be few, and minor, and may they be removed with astonishing grace and ease by all concerned.