Sunday, April 22, 2012

Home again, home again

We are back home after another uneventful flight (the best kind, right?).  We found the folks at Heathrow were infinitely better at dealing with someone in a wheelchair than the people at SFO.  At SFO, Jason was felt up by a TSA Heathrow, they didn't subject him to this.  We also were allowed onto the plane in London as soon as we got to the gate....and we didn't have to search them out for this, either.  At SFO, I had to tell them J was in a wheelchair, and we more or less waited in front of the check-in desk so they wouldn't forget us.  At Heathrow, they saw us when we came in to the waiting area, and immediately went and got the aisle chair, so that we could board (And we got to board before anyone else got on the plane, which made for a smoother boarding for all).  The flight home is LONG (close to 11 hours)...and it's all during the day, so I find it hard to sleep..thankfully there were something like 50 movies to choose from, and lots of TV shows.  They also feed you like every 2 hours on the way back...presumably to help with the time difference?  We got to have a nice afternoon tea service on the plane (sadly, the only time I had afternoon tea whilst abroad) was so good, and I've decided I need to find clotted cream here in the states.  Yum.

This was a great trip...I was worried that if things went badly, Jason would be hesitant to travel again, but as we were leaving he was already talking about the next trip, and possibly going to some other Selenium conference in France this fall.  So all good on that front.  It was quite the experience and I feel much more confident about traveling in the's what I learned:

  • Be more specific when inquiring about the accessibility of a room.  Ask, for example, whether the shower is more than just a our room, Jason could get into the shower, but there were no grab bars on the interior and the shower head was not hand-held.  Not terrible (We made it work), but not ideal either.  On future trips, I'll also take along some portable grab bars...they pack up easily enough and have worked well in our bathroom at home.
  • We now understand the need for various wheelchair accessories that previously seemed unnecessary.  We for sure need to get something to hold his legs on the footplate of the chair if cobblestone is involved.  He'd roll over that and his legs would just bounce off the plate...oops.
  • We can travel like we use to do...before the injury, our favorite thing to do in new cities was just to wander around, exploring without much in the way of a definitive plan.  We didn't know if that would still be possible due to the mobility restrictions (and practical considerations, like finding wheelchair accessible bathrooms, or restaurants without steps leading into them).  But it's all still possible, so long as we remain flexible, and slow our pace down a bit.  That was good to learn.
As good as the trip was, it was so lovely to get home again and see our girl.  Savannah had a great week with her "Mimi," and Sonja definitely enjoyed the extra long walks.  I think they were still happy to see the two of us, though.  We were only gone a week, but I feel like Sav grew a lot in that period.  She's more or less speaking in sentences now and she has two new teeth!  I've enjoyed having time to snuggle up with her the last day or two...normally she's too independent for lots of cuddle time, so this has been a welcome change :)

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend!

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