Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Going to New Orleans with an aching in my heart

Friday, November 11, 10:30 PM

Up early, after an early night. I took an ambien as soon as I finished packing (around 8 pm) the Thursday and slept though until Adrienne woke me at 4 am. The airport was jumping when we arrived two hours later; maybe because it was the Friday before Thanksgiving. We were both excited and nervous about my first trip since I got sick. It was also going to be our fist vacation in over a year. It certainly was going to be an education trip for us and hopefully a few others we encountered along the way.

Getting through security was an uncomfortable experience. I had to submit to a body search-hands down my pants, etc. It was explained to me by the apologetic TSA agent who would soon be sticking his gloved hands under my butt, that these were the new security rules for wheelchairs, so I can expect the same on the return trip. I chose not to go into the privacy booth, rather remaining in full sight for everyone to see. These rules are to make my fellow passengers feel safer, but I don't believe they make us any safer in reality.

Getting on the plane was also uncomfortable since I wasn't allowed to speak for myself. It was suffocating to sit in my chair, the TAB's towering over me, talking about me while my contributions to the conversation were ignored or die d unsaid in my mouth. In hindsight, it seems like being overly sensitive, but I remember how angry I felt when it was happening. P erhaps it had to do with the humiliation of already being groped just because I was in a wh eelchair, but I couldn't speak up for myself. I felt powerless in the presence of these giants who could treat me anyway they chose.

By the time we get to New Orleans, I am stressed out, sore, and very tired. I am also very snippy and argumentative with Adrienne. The first thing I did when we get to the room was flop down and take a nap.

We stayed in the hotel where Gerontological Society of America was having its conference. The hotel room had a walk in shower with a bench for me to sit on and the closet had a set of lower bars that were reachable from my chair.

I was amazed at how parsimonious the Hilton was with amenities. One would expect that for $200 a night, the Internet would be free and there would be a continental breakfast. The only free amenities were the towels and and one cup of coffee from the in room coffee maker.

This was our third trip to New Orleans. We had both been there twice before and we were happy to find it was still a fun and beautiful place. Navigating through the French Quarter was a challenge because the old sidewalks were very uneven. Luckily for me, Adrienne was there to push me when I was too tired to continue, which was often.

We forgot to bring the card reader, so I won't be able to post any pictures until we get home on Thursday.

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