Welcome baby boy

Holy crap, I’m a mom!  That was my initial thought when we were on our way to the hospital.  Well, it was actually “Hubs, what did we do?!”  He told me it was a little late for that.  From what I’ve heard from my friends who are parents, most new parents think the same thing.  I’m glad to know I wasn’t alone there.  But still.

Surromom called us to say she was in labor around 8:30 on Tuesday night.  The hubs and I drove the nearly 2 hour drive to the hospital to meet her.  The length of the drive gave me plenty of time to freak out.  We got to the hospital after receiving a few “hurry, they’re going to break my water soon” texts and calls.  My mom was there, so I felt better.  But I didn’t want to miss his birth.  (Well, to be fair, I thought that wouldn’t have been the exact worst thing in my mind due to my hatred and fear hospitals and all things medical after all my time spent in them.  Special shout out and thanks to my medical history.)  The hubs drove like the wind, as best we could on a night where it seemed like every cop was on the freeway, thwarting our attempts!

We go to the hospital just in time!  Well… just in time to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And not sleep.  And wait.  We got to the hospital at 10:30pm.  They broke her water the next morning at 10:00am.  The baby was born at 12:54pm.  So, in retrospect, we could have stayed home and gotten one more good night’s sleep, had a hearty breakfast, pet the dogs a little longer for their last one-on-one time and taken a shower.  All of those things sounded wonderful at 4am when we were still awake!

Sleepiness in the hospital hallway at 2:35am

Sleepiness in the hospital hallway at 2:35am

My parents stayed at the hospital all night with us (something they’re used to do, thanks again to my wonderful medical past), though my dad did abandon ship and go to sleep in his car.  But my mom, the dependable trooper, stayed with us.

Funny side story: around 3:30am we tried to go down to the lobby where they had loveseat couches to sleep.  We all chose a couch and laid down.  The security guard immediately came over and told my mom and the hubs they couldn’t put their feet up, but that I was ok.  Hey wheelchair, you finally paid off!  I get to lounge while the others have to be upright!  Score!  Screw you equality, I’m using this to my advantage.  Well, about 10 minutes later, another guard came over and said to put my feet down.  “But, the other guys said it was OK!”  I said, in more of a sleepy stammer than my normal Italian bluster.  “Put them down.” He repeated.  I was too tired to argue.  But security guard 1 then shouted across the room that it was OK.  Not wanting to cause a scene in a hospital lobby,  and sensing that my mom was getting riled up to protect my right to lounge, I I just said it was OK.  It was loud and cold anyway, and not like I was sleeping.  We gave up and went back up the room.

Another side story: Around 12:20, our surromom’s nurse went on lunch break and there was a replacement nurse tending to her.  She noticed a weird noise from the monitors which we had all been annoyed by but at this point, had become background noise.  The nurse called IT to fix the problem.  At the same time, the anesthesiologist had come to check on her epidural.  The IT guy disconnected the monitor to replace the unit, when Surromom announced that she felt pressure and that the baby was coming.  You’ve never seen an IT guy move so quickly installing equipment before, as I’m sure witnessing the miracle of life was way outside of his paygrade!  The anesthesiologist told Surromom that he didn’t want to give her more medication if she was about to deliver, which he should know better than to tell a woman who has been in labor for over 14 hours.  Suffice it to say, she got her meds and he escaped with his life.  I was texting my mom to hurry, as she had been down in the cafeteria to get some rest and give us some space.  At about 12:50, the nurse was back, the doctor was there.  The nurse made room for me and my wheelchair (which felt huge and awkward and space consuming at that time) next to the incubator.  It was go time.  And I started crying.  Holy crap, I’m about to become a mom!

And then he was here.  All 8 pounds 2 ounces of him.  And they placed his tiny, goopy body on me.  And there were no more tears.  It was just this overwhelming sense of “I’ve got this, little man.”  Well, I had that feeling until the first time he tried to move his head and I shrieked to the nurse “What do I do?!”  And she showed me how to hold him and that he wasn’t all that fragile (something I’ve heard but didn’t quite believe).  Then, the calm came back over me.  The wheelchair disappeared.  My fear disappeared.  And I realized, that I do have this.  Little Mister and I will figure this out together.  He’s never been a baby before and I’ve never been a mom.  So we will figure this out together!  Plus, it helps that the hubs is such a naturally amazing dad.  So, what I can’t do, or what is hard, he is there to help with.  (I’m mostly saying this now because last night I was exhausting and he took 2 of the 3 night feedings and got up with him this morning so I could get more sleep.  Such a good dad and a great hubs!)

So in sum, holy crap, I’m a mom!  I will get through this.  And I look forward to sharing tips and stories of what it’s like to be a mom in a wheelchair!

mom in a wheelchair

Paraple-pancake

Today I almost became a paraple-pancake in the Target shopping center near my house.  (I hope that you’re picturing Wile E. Coyote after the large boulder meant for the road runner lands on him and he walks away like a smooshed pancake on legs. Cause that’s what could have happened!!)  Let me set the scene.  I had gone into Target to get some things, like a toy to donate to a 6 year old boy through my church.  (And some ugly Christmas sweaters and nail polish, but the toy makes me sound way more angelic which makes almost getting run over even sadder!  People would probably care more about the Pope being hit by a car than Kim K.)  The way the Target parking lot is set up there is a row closest to the entrance that has about 10 disabled spaces.  And there’s a slight decline away from the store.

So there I was, rolling toward my car with one hand on my wheel and one hand holding the basket with all my newly purchased wares.  I passed a couple parked cars.  Then all of a sudden, this dbag in an SUV throws his car into reverse and hits the gas without even looking.  I was seriously INCHES from his bumper.  I always watch for reverse lights because I never trust that people will see me.  There was seriously no pause between light coming in and car backing out at a very fast speed!  I immediately yank on the wheel, but since I only had 1 hand on my wheel, it throws my chair into a gnarly 360 spin.  My other hand is clutching the basket which is about to go spilling.  The spin I do in my chair causes me to go out of control and nearly hit the car next to the dbag in the SUV.  He looks at me like “Whoops, sorry” and points to the car I almost splattered against to see if that’s where I am going.  He’s lucky that my hands were on my wheels and basket or else I would have been pointing with a very specific finger!  So he stops and I keep going behind him to my car, which was parked on the other side of him.  His girlfriend is staring at me with this look of complete amusement on her face.  I nearly LOST IT!  I’m hoping they were lip readers, because while my hands were occupied, my mouth was spewing some very colorful and choice words which I will not repeat, lest I lose my “PG” rating on this blog.  I called the hubs, but he was working and couldn’t answer.  So then I called my mom, because after you’re nearly smooshed into the pavement, you have to call someone!  And, do you know how hard it is to edit the colorful language out of a story when half of it involves directing said language toward a person?  Just like on this blog, I try to not cuss around my parents.  But, I think I used the word dbag like 50 times in the retelling of the story to her.  I said I tried to clean up the language, not that I was able.

The burn of it is that this JERK was parked in a disabled space too.  So either he’s the most selfish dbag on the planet who can’t watch out for anyone else.  Or, he’s not really supposed to be parking there.  I find that most handicapped people tend to be a little more cautious because we know how scary it can be to not be seen as easily by people.  At least, I know that’s how I drive.  When I back out of a space, I turn my head in true Exorcist fashion 25 times to make sure no one is behind me.  And I watch my mirrors and back up camera.  It might seem extreme, but I never want to be like the dbag in the SUV today.

The moral of the story ladies and gents: please, please, please be cautious in parking lots.  Not just in the handicapped area, but everywhere.  There’s always a chance that you may miss seeing a kid or a wheelchair.  And if it weren’t for my cat like reflexes and the a couple guardian angels, I could be all kinds of hurt right now! (But, my wheelchair would be OK, cause it’s titanium and that beyotch is indestructible!)

This is why I can’t have nice things!

One of the most unfortunate things about being in a wheelchair is that my beautiful, beautiful, beautiful clothes take a thrashing on the wheels.  I have wheel guards, which are plastic barriers between me and the wheels.  However, with the constant moving of my arms, shirts, sweaters and jackets come out from the barrier and rub on the wheels.  No matter how many times I tuck the errant shirt down, it inevitably comes out and rubs on the wheel.  Most of my clothes end up having smudges and streaks on the bottoms.  Sometimes they end up on the back which takes a bit of pondering to figure out how that comes about!

One of the options could be to wear only form fitting clothes which wouldn’t hang far from the body and drag upon the wheels.  But, with the whole “weight gain” combined with “para belly” [read: weak core = weak belly muscles = organs and what not dropping into the lower belly when seated] makes tight clothes not the best option.  (Though as my mom points out, if I lost weight then I wouldn’t have as much that would hang out.)  So then if becomes battle of narcissism and vanity versus ruined clothing.  That’s a tough one!

There’s also some things that can’t be tight: like my suit coats.  When I wear a suit to court, the jacket always comes out and rubs on the wheels.  Those aren’t tight.  I don’t even button them.  They have to hang open.  So then I’m back to square one with having marks on my clothes and hoping people are more oblivious and less judgmental about it than I am.

This may seem petty and very first world problemy.  And I acknowledge that there are WAY bigger things to worry about (like, getting back to that whole para belly thing with slipping organs and whatnot).  But, when you’re forced into a situation that you don’t have much control over, sometimes it’s the small things that you remember from your previous life that cause the biggest issues.  Having non-streaked clothes are something that shouldn’t be an issue but are sometimes unavoidable.  And sometimes a girl just wants to wear a white sweater without completely destroying it!

white sweater

Work anniversary

I’m in love with a new feature on Facebook- the memories feature.  Each day, it brings up my activity from years past.  It hilarious to read through to see what I was doing or thinking in years past.  Sometimes, I have no clue what things mean, but I’m sure I thought they were hilarious (poignant, important, meaningful, memorable, etc.) at the time.  It’s also fun to see pictures or posts that people put on my page.  It’s kind of like A Christmas Carol and I’m Scrooge looking to see what Facebook post ghosts will visit me.  Will I remember something fondly?  Will I wonder what the heck I was thinking? Will it inspire me for things to come?

This morning, as I sat in court waiting for the hustle and bustle to begin, I clicked to see what memories from years past Facebook would bring to me.  And this is the post that came up:

FB memory

Two years ago today was my first day back in court after becoming paralyzed!  Less than two months after becoming paralyzed, I was right back to the grind.  I remember the immense sense of relief that I had going back to the courtroom.  That moment gave me a brief sense of normalcy.  I remember being so nervous about what people would say, or about how I would be able to function.  I was worried about what my clients might think.  But as I went back, I realized that nothing had changed but my legs.  I was still me.  And actually, working was what helped me keep my sanity and get back.  Helping my clients gave me something to focus on so I wouldn’t be down on life.  It gave me a sense of purpose.

It’s funny now thinking back on that day when I got to go back to work.  Even when it’s frustrating, I still love what I do.  I get to help people when they really need some help.  What’s better than that when trying to not sink into depression or aggravation over things in your own life?  So thank you Facebook for reminding me of that joy I felt 2 years ago!  I’ll try to remember that feeling a bit more when I get angry or frustrated with life and I’ll try to channel that into all things positive.

An ode to my dogs

When I was in the hospital, one of the hardest things was the fact that I couldn’t see my dogs.  6 weeks of no dogs was like an added level of torture.  My dogs are pampered, to say the least.  They’re my little buddies.  My constant companions, if you will.  So to live without them for so long was awful!

This was the day I got home after 6 weeks in the hospital.

This was the day I got home after 6 weeks in the hospital.

Ever since I’ve been home, they’ve been glued to me.  Well, my boy dog more than my girl dog.  If my boy dog could permanently attach himself to me, he would.   (Even now as I type this my little guy is on my lap.  I have the tan fur on black pants to prove it.)  He seems to not be comfortable unless he’s sleeping on my lap.  This is sweet until you consider that living in a place where the average summer heat is 110 degrees plus, that gets a little toasty.  But, I don’t even mind.  His little face is so content when he sleeps on my lap that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

20150830_171226

What’s funny though, is that before all of this, I never really understood the importance of a service dog.  I mean, yes, I know that they can really help people retrieve things or alert to certain medical issues before they occur so the person can prepare.  I guess I just never thought about it beyond the obvious.  Beyond the superficial outer layers.

But I’ve come to an even deeper understanding.  The other night I was having a really hard time sleeping.  I couldn’t get comfortable.  Then my mind was racing with worries about being in one position too long and the fact that I am scared to death of getting pressure sores, because the treatment of those are awful!  And it would require lengthy bed rest.  So now I’m super freaked out about them.  So there I was trying to get comfortable and tossing and turning.  (To fully understand the impact of this let me explain: Say I’m on my right side.  I have to turn my body so I am on my back.  Then I have to sit up to uncross my legs.  I have to take off the sheet which has likely become tangled by this point.  Then I lay back down and turn my body to the left.  Then I grab my right leg and drag it over to be on top of my left leg.  And then I again try to untangle the sheet because somehow in my sleepiness, I always get too wrapped up.)  So tossing and turning and getting comfortable is not very easy.  And it get frustrating.  My girl dog will sometimes put up with a toss, but is gone before the turn.  But my boy will put up with it and stay in the same spot.  So on this particular night, when I was especially uncomfortable and frustrated, after I rolled and was still not comfortable, he came over and stretched out against my back.  It was so comforting and calming that I almost immediately calmed down and fell asleep.

So now I completely understand on a whole new level the importance of service animals.  I don’t trust mine to fetch me food as I know it would be eaten in seconds.  And I don’t trust them to not bark at birds or other dogs in public.  And I’m not going to tote them around in a giant purse in places like the movies.  I am lucky in my disability that I don’t need a service animal like that.  But I am so glad that I have my little pups in my life to help me in situations when I don’t even realize how badly I need them.  That is the amazingly beautiful thing about dogs, whether they’re formally trained or just naturally intuitive.

Fight on!

So, there are a few perks to being in a wheelchair.  I know that may seem weird, but there are.  One can almost always find a silver lining in any given situation if they look.  (I say “almost always” because I don’t want to get into a debate where someone tries to bring me down by proving sad situations.  So, if you disagree with me and you’re in a situation where there is no silver lining then all I can say is that I hope you feel better and I’ll pray for you.  Now, back to my silver lining moment…)

My family is a HUGE USC Trojan fanatic family.  Everyone but me (hello, Rebel!) went to school there.  Mom, dad, sister, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins.  I did not.  But, that does not take away from my fanatic response to Trojan football!  Well, not necessarily to the team itself.  I like football within reason.  Though, I am more into the pageantry of the home games: the band, the tail gating, Traveler the horse.

My dad is really into USC football.  In my family, we don’t necessarily root for a professional team.  USC is our football.  So, this year and last, my dad got a suite at the Coliseum.  The suites are on the field, which is awesome.  What’s even more awesome (*insert eye roll here*) is that the Coliseum is so old that there is nothing but steps to the field.

Nothing, except for the tunnel that is!!  Yes, I get to go down the tunnel.  The same way the players enter the field.  The same way the band enters the field.  The same way Traveler enters the field.  That’s now the way I enter the field!!

The tunel

That’s my dad walking next to me.  And our guards.  Ok, not really.  The LAPD were not there to protect me from the paparazzi.  But, I did have 2 USC security guards escorting me.  The weekend before I had 4.  And they made a really big deal about getting people out of my way.  Which made me feel like a really big deal.  (Or people thought the chick in the wheelchair was being unruly, causing trouble and getting kicked out.  Either way…)  This time, my mom and the hubs were there too.  The weekend before my brother and his lady were with us.  They missed out this time.

The suite is on the opposite side of the field which means that we had to roll all the way across the field.  It wasn’t so bad this week as we went down early.

On the field

Last week, we ended up coming out with the band (SQUEAL!!) and had to go all the way around the field.  That was awkward cause it meant more people were staring.  I’m way more comfortable in the background than in the forefront.  I am not complaining, I’m just saying I preferred going down when not as many people would be looking.  But if I could always march out with the band and/or Traveler, I would!

So, yes, there are silver linings- being on the field at the infamous Coliseum is one of them!  Fight on!!

Two years later…

Yesterday was my two year anniversary of being in the wheelchair. Two years ago today I was miserable in the hospital, spaced out on pain killers. Trying to make sense of the fact that my legs weren’t working. This year’s anniversary has hit me a lot harder than last years. Last year I was high on the hope that I still had a chance for recovery. That this was all a major inconvenience and someday I’d laugh about what I went through as I tried to remember what it was like to be in a wheelchair. But this year’s anniversary it’s hit me that this is all permanent. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I have to be realistic now and know that no matter how hard I try, there’s nothing I can do to get my nerves back to work. It’s not a muscle you can rehabilitate or something you can train back into working. It’s something you just deal with.

That’s tough.

This is my life now. Running out to the store involves having to load and unload my wheelchair. Taking a flight involves me having to transfer onto a narrow little aisle chair and strapped in like a belligerent inmate. Being invited to a party involves me having to ask friends if there are obstacles like a step or high threshold and asking them to measure their doorways. “Now, the bathroom doorway is 28 inches including the door or the door clears that?” Having a baby means I have to figure out how I can get the little bundle of poopy joy in and out of a crib. Being asked to go to the park with a friend means I have to tell them that grass isn’t so easy with a wheelchair.

I’m not sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I’m normally very upbeat and positive about everything. But, this year is just hard. I just need a couple of days to think about how much this sucks and then I’ll be fine. I guess I’m just overly emotional. Like, I can’t think about my bike without tearing up. I remember when my parents got me my adult tricycle a couple years ago and how stoked I was. I rode it from the bike store to my house, which was several miles. The hubs followed behind me like a nervous dad because he was worried I’d fall off. He said I had the hugest smile on my face the entire time! From that moment on, I rode it almost every day. Sometimes a couple times a day. It made me so happy. And now I can’t do that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I have my bike attachment for my wheelchair, but it’s so not the same. I miss my bike and it breaks my heart seeing it sitting in my garage collecting dust.

my bike

(This picture was the day I got my bike.  See the smile??)

Maybe I am whining. But I’m confident I will feel better soon. I’m already feeling better than I was yesterday. It was a rough day yesterday. A couple days of sadness doesn’t mean I’m giving up on life. I know that I’m lucky in so many ways. And I know that I can still do so much these days. And in some ways I can do more than I did before. So please excuse me while I wrap up my pity party and I promise to be back to my normal, optimistic self in the next couple of days.

You making fun of me, Riz?

You know that moment in Grease where Rizzo makes fun of Sandy and then Sandy comes back into the bedroom and catches her?  Sandy says the infamous line of “You making fun of me, Riz?”  And Rizzo says “Some people are so touchy.”  I had a moment like that yesterday.  And let me tell you, it’s not that fun being on the Sandy side.

I was in court yesterday morning and my client was in custody.  In this particular courtroom, the bailiff places the in-custody’s in the jury box to await their turn in front of the judge.  We attorneys have to try to lean over the railings to talk to them.  To have any kind of privacy, this requires leaning over or standing on the sides and having the person moved to the end of the row.  This is normal protocol.  For obvious reasons (read: wheelchair) I can’t do that.  So the bailiffs let me wheel into the jury box opening to talk to my client.  Other attorneys normally aren’t allowed to do that.  For me, it’s the only way I can communicate with my client.

So yesterday I talk to my client then we have our minute in front of the judge.  I leave the courtroom with the family after my client is escorted back into his holding cell.  I’m outside in the hallway when the District Attorney tells me we need to bring him back in to see the judge one more time.  I go back in and see two female attorneys joking around near the jury box.  I don’t think they were expecting me to come back.  One of them says “Oh, we were just joking about how you’re allowed to roll in there, so maybe I should try staying in this rolley chair and she’ll push me and see if we can get away with it.”

I know there was nothing inherently mean spirited in this comment or in their jokes.  But, it really does suck.  I’d much rather be able to walk over and have to talk to my clients in the same way they do.  If they want to find a voodoo witch doctor and we can switch bodies, then by all means, let’s do it.  They can roll into the jury box and I’ll skip on down the road.

Maybe I’m touchy like Rizzo claims Sandy to be.  Or maybe some people just aren’t as funny as they think they are.  Or maybe I should sit back and really wonder why they’re jealous that I get to be up close and personal with my clients.  But next time I have a Sandy moment, I’ll be prepared to tell Rizzo to shove it.

Kitchen Remodel

In 8 days I hit the 2 year mark since I became paralyzed.  In the beginning, I was determined that I would be walking.  Now I’m more hopeful, but also realistic.  Will I ever walk again?  I hope so!  I’m going to the gym and trying to get stronger in the hopes that it will help.  But I’m also working on getting as comfortable and strong in my wheelchair as possible because I need to live for the now while keeping my eyes on the future.

So with that being said, it’s time to remodel the kitchen.  I’m lucky that my house has a very open layout.  Getting into the kitchen was never an issue.  What was at issue was the sink. (Well, and the stove, but I can deal with that.)  With the counter at chin height, it was always awkward trying to get the dishes done or wash my hands or anything.  The hubs was always having to clean up behind my cleaning as I would leave remnants in the sink and not know.

That was all fine but not ideal.  But, now that we’re having a baby in a few months, we decided that it was time to make a change.  I need a place where I can wash the baby and prepare bottles and do dishes easier.  I will be taking care of the kid as much as I can, so we needed to make this change.

Luckily, my dad is a contractor.  He builds houses from the ground up, so this little job was easy for him to plan.  Instead of tearing out our enter island and reinventing the wheel, he decided it would be easier and cheaper to install a mirror sink.  (I doubt that’s what he called it, but that’s how I interpreted it.)  Our kitchen island had a bar overhang which was going unused.  The plan: chop the overhang granite off, and install two cabinets and a sink at ADA heights there.  The new sink will back up to the existing sink and be just one large basin sink.  Then the hubs and I can have cleaning races.  Though, I did have to promise the electrician that we wouldn’t have garbage disposal races.  Something about broken circuits and power failures and meltdowns or whatnot.

The best thing about this remodel is that if we go to sell this house, it will be easy for the buys to rip it out if they want.  I guess most people don’t want lower sinks and cabinets.  This will be easy to take out and patch up.  Then it’s like “What handicapped sink?”  The cool part is that the granite guy is going to make a cover for the sink so you can still use the entire length if needed.  Or you can take the cover off and surprise, there’s a sink!  I guess it won’t be a huge surprise as the faucet will still be evident.

kitchen remodel

Here is what it looked like in the morning before installation begun.  I’m so excited that I can hardly stand it!!

Wheel[s] in the sky

If you read the title of this post then I’ll let you all pause while you enjoy a dance break while thinking about Journey’s “Wheel in the sky”.

So yesterday was a big adventure for me: my first time in an airplane since I got into the wheelchair.  I was really nervous, to say the least.  I even called the airport to see if it was doable, to which the lady nicely told me that every airline has to accommodate wheelchair.  Maybe she thought I was trying to set them up for a lawsuit?  I’m not that kind of paraplegic.  I was genuinely concerned about how I would get from airport to plane seat.  I haven’t flown a lot in my life (I will ALWAYS prefer car or boat to plane) but I did distinctly remember the aisles being super narrow.

The hubs and I got to the airport around 5:45am for our 6:40am flight.  Check-in and security at our tiny local airport is a breeze.  The TSA agent got very handsy with me in a (legal) way that made me wonder if she should have bought me a drink first.  She was super nice and didn’t make me feel more uncomfortable than one would when a stranger is groping them.  She ran a test on my wheelchair that left me curious as to what she was doing, but to which I did not ask any questions for fear of seeming too interested in anything.  I was able to transfer from my wheelchair to a chair for her to complete her search, which made me wonder what people who don’t have the upper body strength do when the agents need to check their chairs.

We arrived at the gate and they brought over the “aisle chair”.  It looked like a narrow chair on small wheels.  Nothing special.  We were waiting for some team of men to help transfer me, when I pointed out to the ticketing ladies that I can transfer myself.  I believe my exact words were “I don’t need no sticking men!”  Ok, that’s not at all what my words were.  But it’s definitely where my line of thought was.  That and “anything you can do, I can do better!”  You think you’re going to transfer me?!  I’ll transfer myself, thank you!

They strapped me into the aisle chair which included a belt around my legs and two around my upper torso.  I felt like an inmate who was unruly to the guards.  I was waiting for them to bring out a spit shield.  It was super awkward and restricting.  I understand that it’s for my safety.  But, come now: didn’t I just show you that I could transfer myself?  I’d gladly sign a waiver to have less restraints!

Unfortunately, the plane was completely loaded by the time I was loaded on.  So most people didn’t know I was coming from a wheelchair, and just see this restrained person being brought into the plane by a sea of airline employees.  I know that I’d never seen an aisle chair before, so I probably would have wondered what was going on if I had been in the plane already.

When we landed, I was the last one loaded off the plane, which probably did not help with curious passenger’s speculation.  We flew up to San Francisco which is near several prison’s.  Maybe they thought I was a notorious criminal and the hubs was my guard?

We rented a car at SFO for the day, which had led us to wonder that morning how do we make one handicapped placard multiply into two?  I needed one where we left our car, but I would need one in San Francisco too.  Dilemma!  Unfortunately, hubs didn’t think of this until 5:30 when we were en route to the airport.  (I never even thought of it until he brought it up).  So, we ended up parking in a regular spot at our airport, knowing we wouldn’t be getting home until 11 and it wouldn’t be crowded or hard to pull the car out for me to load if needed.

We flew back later that night (we had just flown up for a Baptism of my best friend’s third child.  I was asked to be the Godmother!  Yay!)  and felt somewhat confident knowing the routine.  SFO is a much, much, much larger airport which was not nearly as easy to get through as our hometown airport.  The TSA agents weren’t quite as good either.  I was asked a few times if I could walk through the body scan.  I finally told the guy that if he was a miracle worker and could make my legs work, I would gladly walk through the machine.  I wasn’t trying to be snarky (hoping it came off as funny), you get tired of the questions all the time.  They also put my purse and shoes through the scanner but left me sitting on the other side for about 10 minutes.  Luckily the hubs had been on the other side and had the wherewithal to know I was stuck and to grab my purse.  But, what if he hadn’t really been paying attention?  He was too far away for me to ask him to grab it.  Someone could have easily grabbed my stuff and taken off!

Anyway, a woman TSA agent finally came and they walked me through a side gate to a screening area.  She asked where my bags were and I told her my issue with what had happened.  She didn’t seem to care.  She asked me if I could stand up.  Do people think I’m just lazy in my chair??  She started her pat down and then asked me to lift my leg so she could reach under.  Um…I don’t know how to make it any clearer that my legs don’t work?  I ended up just grabbing my pant leg to lift my legs up for her to reach under.  She also asked me to lean forward to search my back and apparently (legally) grope my butt a bit.  I leaned forward.  She asked me to lean farther.  I did.  And almost toppled forward.  It was fine, just annoying.  You’d think the people who are patting down disabled people would have taken some kind of training that would let them know that paralyzed people don’t have the best core strength.  And, again, I’m stronger than a lot, so that’s scary to think about a person with a high level of injury must go through!

The hubs and I made it to the gate where the attendant was so nice.  I had booked handicapped seats, but apparently they were in the back of the plane.  The attendant was able to move us up to the front(ish) of the plane.  We were ready to pre-board when they realized they didn’t have the aisle chair.  So, the airline loaded the rest of the plane and once again, left me to load last.  Strapped in.  The visual wonder of the rest of my planemates.  Once on the plane, the flight attendant asked if I needed anything in particular in the event of an emergency.  My only thought was “to be saved?” so I responded with “whatever you need to do.”  Hubs asked what would happen if I had to use the bathroom (more out of curiosity than anything, since it’s only an hour and a half plane ride.  But, he’s learned it’s always best to be prepared in the bathroom department.).  Apparently they have an aisle chair on the plane that they can use for the bathroom.  That made me wonder why we waited 15 minutes for the airport to find an aisle chair to load me onto the plane with if the plane already had one?

The rest of the flight was uneventful.  Our small airport had the aisle chair waiting and loaded me off as soon as everyone else left the plane.  They airport employees told me how impressed they were at my transferring.  It may not sound like much, but I do love recognition.  I work hard to be independent, so it’s nice to hear strangers say something.  The hubs and the rest of my family is no longer impressed with things like transferring.  Takes way more to impress them these days.  *Sigh*

All in all, flying was a very easy, non-worrisome thing to do!  I’d still prefer cars and boats though.

And, for the record, even in the 11pm half-full parking lot, someone had parked in the space next to us.  Figures!