1st Time Flying on Dialysis; My 1st day in Washington, D.C.

April 27, 2013 0 Comments Uncategorized

Hello friends,
If you are living in Kansas or the midwest, it’s almost the end of March, Spring has officially been on the calendar, but it hasn’t officially shown up for the season because there is snow on the ground and forecasted for more on “Easter Monday.” Again, I should’ve already written at least 2 more blogs by now, being “stuck” indoors…
So, what have I been doing with my time? I’m not out building snowmen or forts, and I’m not out sledding. No, I have pretty much been in bed, relaxing, watching movies or recorded shows, reading, journaling, and sleeping on and off. I have also been partaking on some conference calls with L.A.N. preparation or DPC.
Speaking of DPC- It stands for Dialysis Patient Citizens, they office out of DC. I just came back from a conference there, but I’ll share with you first the adventure of arriving to DC.
So, I have one large suitcase packed mostly with clothes and shoes, I have what I considered my carry on bag full of personal hygene items and some medical supplies, and my back pack which was in place of my purse, that also had some medical supplies. Now, I had measured the dimensions of my carry on and also weighed each bag and I was very proud that they all weighed under the minimal weight requirement.
I chose to abide by my nurse’s advice and not bring dialysis fluid with me on the flight since it was only about a 3 hour flight. I later regretted this decision upon arriving at the hotel. I had a folder with my flight information, my agenda for the conference, and my letter from my Dr that states that I have to be on dialysis to sustain my life and I have to bring supplies with me to do my treatments. I hand the security person the letter, they have to stand there and read it and of course have a confused look on their face…they pass it to the “wand guy” and he asks me, “so, you cannot go through the detector?” “That’s not what that says. I have to carry my dialysis supplies with me. I do have fluid inside my body though.” So, my back pack gets “ransacked” and I’m asked to take out all my liquids so they can see them. Yeah, because I am so dangerous looking and I have poisonous chemicals with me. Thank you 9/11 jacka***s’ for making traveling so difficult and time consuming not only for everyone, but especially for those with medical conditions. It’s no fun having people look at you with suspicion.
To add to my nerves of my supplies being questioned, I get motion sickness when I fly, so I am get more anxious the closer I get to the gate. There used to be a vending machine so one can get a bottle of water or juice, not anymore. So, I throw my head back and push my dramamine pill far down my throat and swallow it whole. I had to take it at least 30 minutes before take off. As we’re walking down the path to get on the plane, the clerk stops me and says, “you need to leave that bag here, it’s way to big for carry on”. “I measured it before I packed it and it fit the required measurements”. Needless to say, she did not believe me.
Now, I’m walking down the aisle to find my seat and I see how small of a plane it is, only 2 seats per side. My heart begins to pound louder in my chest and I start breathing slow, deep breaths.
Now, I try putting my back up in the overhead compartment, to my surprise, it too, does not fit. I stuff under the seat in front of me. Oh well, so much for leg room. I immediately locate the white “vomit” bag, and pull it up front, just in case, I need to use it.

To my left, just one seat in front of me, is a cute little baby girl on her mother’s lap. My immediate thoughts were “oh great, now I get to listen to a screaming baby the whole time.” Once again, to my shocking surprise, she was a very well behaved baby, hardly ever cried. Thank you Jesus!

It has been several years since I have flown, I didn’t realize airlines have taken away the free peanuts or pretzels. Sheesh! You now have to purchase them if you want a snack. As always, I come prepared with my own snacks. At least they still provide complimentary beverages. I always get gingerale to help soothe my tummy.

I’ve come to realize that it’s the landing that bothers me much more than the take off. It’s the shakiness of the descending, it just seems to go on forever,even though it’s only maybe 20-30 minutes. I just close my eyes, breath slow, and try to imagine myself relaxing on a beach or something fun, like shopping in Paris.

We finally land and I just stay put until most of the people are off. I don’t want impatient people rushing me. I can tell, while having a tummy full of fluid and having End Stage Renal Disease which depletes my energy, it is a much different feeling, flying on a plane. Oh, I forgot to mention how my legs felt kinda like jello after flying, since I found out I have a blood clotting disorder- I haven’t had to think about the possibility of having a stroke before. My legs also felt different than they have in the past after sitting and not changing positions for a couple hours. I was too afraid to get up and walk around on the plane, thinking I would throw up as soon as I stood, so I had remained seated during the entire flight.So now, that I have totally depressed you from flying in a plane… Let me get to being back on the ground.

Carrying a well packed backpack on my shoulders and rolling at least one well packed suitcase, I am pushing through my utter exhaustion to find transportation to get to the hotel to relax. Navigating through an unfamiliar airport with fast paced, determined travelers is never fun. They just plow you down or politely walk around you. I see the taxis, just a few feet away and want to go to one, instead, I chose to experience the much cheaper mode of transportation, the metro. Oh my goodness! This is so not user friendly! And the ticket gal had no curteousy to the estranged travelers. I was one of at least a half dozen folks staring at this bizarre map, trying to figure out where I needed to go. Not to mention, the stupid coin exchange machines, would not accept the paper currency; they just kept spitting them back out. Seriously? The longer a person stands there, the more time goes by and they miss they’re stop.
Made it through the technical difficulties and was walking fast to find the stop I needed to get on. It’s very imperitive to pay attention to which direction the metro is facing, because it’s so easy to hop on the wrong metro link. All I kept thinking was, this is just like how they show it in the movies- dark, cold, and a horrible stench of unpleasantries. I was also praying for safety because The Taking of Pelham 123 kept replaying in my mind too.

I was so relieved to get checked into my room. But before I could do anything, I needed to do one of my dialysis treatments. I looked around the room for my boxes of solution and once I didn’t find them, I had to back down to the lobby. I approach the concierge desk and ask for my boxes, to my absolute horror, after the attendant calls to retrieve them, she notifies me that there are no boxes for me. My heart jumps into my throat and I can feel my pulse racing and my blood pressure shooting high, like, right out of a rocket. I then call the company that delivers them to confirm my delivery. She’s a sweet, Christian woman that begins to calm me down. The Lord could not have orchestrated a more ideal customer service gal to assist me in my dire need. I was prepared to call the closest dialysis clinic to go to, to do my treatment, when the concierge and Tom reappeared with boxes. Hallejuah! The sweet customer service lady stayed on the phone with me and then she thanked Jesus and reassured me that I will be okay. I am walking fast to the elevators , then to my room. Once I get back into the room, I realized my solution is cold. How am going to do my exchange with this cold fluid? Tom thinks fast and starts filling up the bathroom sink with hot water. We then soak my bag what turned into at least 30 minutes. I am getting impatient and my energy level is flying downhill fast as it had been over 9 hours since my previous treatment all because I took the advice of my nurses to not carry fluid on the plane with me. Next time, I am not so sure I want to do that.

I am exhausted from flying, from walking, and not having done a treatment at least 3 hours ago, I am also famished and cannot wait until dinner. Looking at the clock, then at my agenda, dinner should be served in about 20 minutes. Oh I cannot wait!

We find the meeting rooms and see the buffet set up. Oh my goodness- it looks divine! For being “hotel quality food” and also renal friendly, who would have thought? We had a 3 entree and about 6 course buffet meal complete with fresh homemade crabcrakes, rosemary lemon chicken, and I believe the third entree was either beef tenderloin or a filet of some sort. I cannot recall the accompanments at this time, ha! Everything was just as delicious as it looked! Kudos to the hotel catering staff! After stuffing myself silly, and visiting with some of the other patients at my table, I retrieved back to my room to relax and then I eventually went to sleep.

More on my trip in another blog…

Thanks always for your encouragement, love, and support!


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