Travel in 2021

it Sucks

But NOT because of covid, and face mask regulations…that actually wasn’t bad. I didn’t have to smell peoples breath. I didn’t have to worry as bad about what they were spreading. So…I’m all for face masks. PLUS, it hides my stroke face so well.

Now, yes wearing a face mask for 23 hours straight and sleeping in it. No way. Never again. However 23 hours, and I’m still alive.

But, this was my first airline travel since the stroke.

At first I didn’t even think about it. At all. I was more worried about wearing a mask. And not catching covid/delta. Flying out wasn’t bad. Because we got into Dallas so late it wasn’t busy, and Charlotte we barely had to move to switch planes. So, I was fine. Also, I had my walker, so I got on first. Easy.

Coming home. Totally different story. No walker, and people EVERYWHERE.

Benton explained to the gate agent I was disabled, could I board first? No - you board with group 4. Okay. I can do this…

She calls group 4. Everyone starts heading for the gate. I’m slow…I’m slow as molasses on a cold day. I won’t rush - because I’m scared of falling. So I just move along at a snails pace.

We are in Durango Colorado. They open the door, and you walk to the plane on the tarmac…what kind of new fresh hell is this? I can’t see well at all, I can’t see depth, yellow striped mean a change in elevation, a curd, or a step. So any paint I think there’s a Step. Look at a tarmac. It’s paint EVERYWHERE. Yellow and red lines outlining where a plane can and can’t go, where tugs can go.

Growing up at an airport I knew that, and working at CHS so many times I knew the rules, and I knew everything was flat. Still, it messed with my mind. Then I get to the plane. It’s a ramp and not stairs. Ramps are hard for me…give me stairs all day. And then the plane was full - so many people in a small space, moving every which way. I can’t focus on anything. I’m just lost. It’s overwhelming. My anxiety goes wild. Once my anxiety kicks in it just goes, and goes, and goes. I have my emergency pill in the carry on. But, that’s up there, and it’s such a short flight I can wait. Just try to talk myself down. Over and over and over.

It doesn’t work. We make it to Phoenix. It’s a madhouse. I try to walk to the bathroom…that’s a fiasco. People everywhere going every direction, I made it to the restroom…making it back, another story. It took twice as long. I was standing in line twice, and people don’t appreciate it when they think your cutting.

Got back to my chair, and asked benton for a pill. I don’t remember the airports being so much stress. And, I didn’t like it. At all. Finally we got out of there, and boarded the plane first. Thank god. Watched a movie to North Carolina, and semi rested. But we got into Charlotte late. Only had 20 minutes to change planes. Benton handled all that so well. I just held on to the back pack and followed. But, when we got to the gate it said New York/LaGuardia. I panicked. Told benton we were at the wrong place just as they announced it was Charleston not New York. But. It still said LaGuardia. I could not get over that. I better be going home. The whole flight I thought I was going to the wrong place. And then we pulled up to CHS.

It was the first time in a LONG time. I just kept telling myself don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. Tommy and Brenda are here. Hold it together. Don’t think about it.