Friday, April 7, 2017

On the Road Again, el seis de Abril, 2017

I was packed, thanks to Menu, and ready to go to the airport by 10 this morning.  My cab driver was very helpful in finding me a wheelchair and getting me to the front of the line.  However, when the check in girl realized I had 3 seats and no identification for the 2 empty ones, she disappeared to the office for a good half hour.  Eventually she returned and I was given 3 boarding passes-

I was starving so ordered-

which just cost a smooth $10.71!  That's not bad considering wine was over $14!!  Oh well.  I put the trays down and elevated my foot.  Three waitresses came along and informed me that "people eat off those trays you know!"  To be honest, my foot was probably a lot cleaner than most people's hands.  The last one to tell me that then looked at my foot in horror and asked if anyone had offered me ice.  No I said, but she didn't return with any either!

While dealing with insurance, I was offered 2 flight itineraries.  The first was Roatan to Houston to Calgary to Saskatoon, arriving around 1 am, all with United.  The second was Roatan to Houston to Minneapolis to Saskatoon, arriving an hour earlier and travelling first class but with United and Delta.  I decided to go with the second choice to arrive an hour earlier, but also to travel first class.  Big mistake.  When you change airlines, you have to claim your luggage, find the new ticket counter and re-check in.  To further complicate things, I am relying on others to get me where I need to go.  

Once in Houston, which by the way is a gigantic airport, the United people took me through the back way and in no time I was through customs and had my luggage.  That is one advantage to being in a wheel chair - no lines, or so I thought.  The girl who brought me this far claimed she couldn't go any further so she coerced another United worker to take me to the Delta terminal.  We rode the train from Terminal E all the way to Terminal A.  There was a huge crowd at the Delta counters and considering I had only 50 minutes until my plane left, I told the guy to take me right up to the front - that's supposed to be the privelege of being in a wheel chair.  There have to be some advantages let me tell you - it's not much fun, especially in the new chairs that don't have side wheels you can manoeuvre yourself.  So, we budged and the attendant said my flight wasn't leaving until 10 and I'd miss my connection in Minneapolis and to go to the service counter to rebook.  The United worker took me there and I had to tell him again to take me up to the front.  He parked me in about 10th place and said he was going to find a Delta worker to help me.  Well, he never came back!  And so I sat there and sat there and sat there.  I was wondering what would happen to me if I had to go to the bathroom - it was the weirdest feeling.  Finally I called a man in uniform over and had him move me right up to the counter where I sat and sat again.  Numerous flights had been cancelled and people were freaking out, however, the solo Delta service rep was smiling and doing her best to rebook the angry mob.  I had noticed a departure sign behind the counter but I was too lazy to put on my glasses and read it.  Finally I asked a man beside me what time it said the Minneapolis flight was leaving.  7:10.  What?  It was 6:45 and I was sitting there waiting for God knows what.  So I hopped to a counter, much to the horror of the woman already standing there who came running towards me with arms outstretched to catch me!  As I was getting my next 2 boarding passes, another man asked how I broke my foot.  I told him it was my heel and he started laughing, saying he and his friend are foot doctors and they were arguing over what was wrong with my foot.  I quickly pulled out my X-rays and they showed me again where the fracture is and pointed out a heel spur.  It was too funny.  Meanwhile, the service rep called a wheel chair pusher and I was on my way.  Arriving at the gate, we went directly on the plane where I sat in first class and immediately had a bourbon in my hand - reward for a lot of hopping and manoeuvring :)

First class is pretty much new territory for me.  I felt like a queen!  Supper is served with a table cloth on your tray-

Free drinks, stainless cutlery, glass dishes, even a napkin ring-

And the cutest salt and pepper shakers-

I should have stolen them!

Anyway, I arrived in Minneapolis only to learn the plane to Saskatoon had just left, so after being pushed around, driven around and waiting forever to get food and hotel vouchers, I'm in the Quality Inn by the Mall of America and will be flying at 1:20 pm tomorrow to Saskatoon!

It's such a different experience being in a wheel chair!  You can do so little on your own - the hotel shuttle driver had to get me from the sidewalk of the terminal to the van and I was just lucky to have caught his attention with my frantic waving.  I had to hop up into the van on a plastic stool and there were no handles.  I had to slither out on my bum once at the hotel.  Luckily they had a wheelchair with wheels that I can turn but the check in girl gave me a room at the very end of the hallway, and it's a long roll.  Now in my room, I'm back to hopping because the wheel chair is too big and bulky.  Unfortunately my right leg is very tired and my hops aren't getting off the floor!  I left my crutches in Roatan because they need them more than I do.  I have a new appreciation for people with mobility issues - it's NOT ANY FUN!!!!!! And we all need to be more aware and make an effort to offer our help. I 've had many offers and anyone will gladly help if you ask.

I'm in the best bed I've had since I left my own!  Good night!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Adios Roatan, el cinco de Abril, 2017

After 5 months and a week, my 2016-2017 adventure is coming to an end.  I am ready to come home, especially now-

My foot is feeling a lot better even though it is quite blue!  I can put weight on it without any pain - I don't mind you, but I had to experiment.

I treated myself to shellac toes and fingers for a smooth $22.89 CAN.  Last time I had it done at home, it cost $80-

We'll see how long they last!

I had to move into the 6 bedroom dorm for the night and luckily got a bottom bunk.  There are only 2 other guests so I'll be fine as long as the fans blow.  It might be a bit of an inferno-

I've spent this week sitting in the reclining deck chairs, watching iguanas -

Pumpkin, the psycho 3 month old cat-

'plays' with smaller geckos and iguanas until they're too dead to play anymore but she won't tackle a big one like this.   Too bad because I'd like to watch that fight.  A much larger bright green one crawled across the neighbor's roof this morning too.  They are everywhere!  Glad they're not dangerous.

My flights are confirmed:  the first is Roatan to Houston and I have 3 seats booked so I can stretch out.  When I tried to check in, the seats weren't together!  Too funny!  It took another email to my insurance company to get it sorted.  From Houston I fly first class with Delta to Minneapolis, then to Saskatoon, again first class to arrive at 11:45 pm.  I have wheelchair service in all airports and will be picked up at this hostel and dropped off at Mom and Dad's.  Pretty sweet!

Mercedes, Arlene and I-

went to Sundowners in West End for a pre-supper drink.  Sundowners is a very busy gringo bar.  We had to have an island institution, a Zack Attack which is a mix of vodka, lime and coconut milk-

It was refreshing but certainly not a Monkey LaLa!  Supper at Oasis was plentiful but disappointing.  It's supposedly one of the better restaurants in West End.

Mercedes and I-

will keep in touch.  She desperately wants to learn French and so we may be able to exchange lessons.  Time will tell.

Arlene lives at Bondi Beach, a suburb in Sydney.  We plan to keep in touch as well-

I'm looking forward to getting home! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Roatan, Honduras, el cuatro de Abril, 2017

Things aren't going too well.  Sunday night, after rinsing my coffee pot in the downstairs bathroom, I leapt onto the ladder going up to my room, coffee pot in hand, made about four steps, lost my balance and fell off.  I can see myself falling:  coffee pot in left hand, raised in the air, as if toasting the world, right leg straight and stretched back to take the blow of the hard, concrete and tile floor.  My right heel hit the floor, I fell backwards, rolling onto my back, my head hit the wooden bookcase and I rolled forward.  Shit I thought.  I wiggled and touched everywhere and felt good!  Could I possibly have survived unscathed?  No, my right foot was numb with pain in the heel.  I could painlessly wiggle my toes and turn my ankle left to right, front to back but pressing on the heel hurt.  I sat there and willed it to be instantly better - didn't work :) so had a guest call Mel who got me set up in the cando - it's a container turned into living quarters with a kitchen - 

I get 3 nights here, then will have to move.  I've been in touch with insurance and the medical team has recommended I go home early - this Thursday is the earliest they can get but I'm home in one day, with assistance.  This morning the travel team will determine if they will fund the changed flight or not.  If they won't, then I will stay until Saturday and do my original flights which have an over night in Houston :(

I went to Clinic Esperanza which is a 2 minute drive away.  For immediate service, I paid $28.38 Can which included 30 pills of Aleve, crutches and doctors filling out insurance forms.  I had to go to Coxen Hole for the X-rays - $79.46 Can so Mercedes my Spanish teacher drove me there.  I took a cab back.  The radiologist??? (the guy who took the X-rays, who knows his qualifications??), said I have a fractured calcaneus, evident by a small white line in the xray.  The doctors at the clinic said nothing was broken until I pointed out the white line and then they were sort of dismissive about it, not rude but I don't think they think it's broken.  Anyway, it's still swollen-

And bruised-

My new best friends-

Before I found my new besties, I had to crawl around on all fours and bum slide down the many stairs. The skin is gone from my right knee-

Even if insurance doesn't come through and send me home early, it's not so bad here.  I have a comfortable place to sleep with a bathroom on the same level, breakfast and supper served, a swimming pool and comfortable deck chairs.  Arlene, my British/Aussie friend comes to visit, as does Mercedes.  Menu and Lorena have been super helpful: moving my stuff, packing and bringing me things.  Ever since I moved up to the loft, I've seen myself falling.  I tried to stop the visions and foreshadowing but couldn't.  I'm just thankful I fell from about 4 feet rather than 12!

Such craziness!  And so this morning I await the email from insurance.....

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Roatan, Honduras, el primero de Abril, 2017

I had today off so made the very best of it!  Arlene, Mercedes and I met at Lawson Rock, a private resort where Mercedes lives, to go snorkeling.  The marina is beautiful and I guess they decided it's easier to walk out than to swim! We snorkeled past the turquoise blue way out to the reef-

We had lunch at Anthony's Key, another fancy resort-

Arlene and I took the water taxi from West End to West Bay.  This was the first time I had been on the taxi this far so it was nice to see the beach from the water.  Thank goodness there were no cruise ships in today!

Fun in the sun!  This was not a worker but a tourist.  He did pretty well.  This is about as high as they will let you go-

There's a different sand sculpture every day-

We snorkeled for an hour at the wall and then made our way to Las Rocas for happy hour and great mojitos that are made with mint which I like much better than the ones we had on Little Corn that were made with basil-

Mercedes joined us just in time for sunset-

When Happy Hour ended at 6, Mercedes drove us to West End where we had supper-

What a fantastic day!  Snorkelling, sun, beach, mojitos and great friends!

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