Stranger on the plane

As I wrote yesterday or the day before (damn the last week is a blur), I was pretty paranoid about leaving vegas after what happened last time I said goodbye to a friend.  All the bullshit I went through at the airport in Houston to get to vegas, had me dreading the trip even more.  (another story for another time)

As I walked through the door of the airport, a sudden calm washed over me.  Maybe it was the xanax kicking in, maybe it was that I was going to home to see girls, I honestly don’t know what it was.  Maybe it was exhaustion?  Either way I had not a care in the world.  I didn’t take more than 10 steps into the door before I found a porter ready and waiting with a wheelchair for me.  When I showed him the boarding pass on my phone I realized I was in seat 8F  ( yah window seat….maybe I could sleep?).

I barely remember that pat down, even though the foley catheter (who’s name is boppy, for bag of pee) set off the metal wand, I really don’t remember much about it.  We stopped for coffee and I was deposited at the gate.

I was the first to board the plane (after the pilot and flight attendants.)  The agent that took me to the plane even stashed my bag overhead for me.  I balled up my sweatshirt and laid my head on it closing my eyes to let the world drift away.  I couldn’t have slept more than a few minutes, before being awaken by this sight.flight home (9)

Meet Timmy

Timmy is the service dog for my new friend Bob…… Bob has Retinitis Pigmentosa, and is going blind, or as doctors have told him, he should have been completely blind years ago.  But I am getting ahead of myself, let me take a few steps back.

So I open my eyes, see this beautiful patient dog looking at me and let my eyes wonder up the harness to the man holding it.  He asks, “Are you ok with dogs?”…. I kind of shook my head and muttered, “um yeah, but where is he going to sit?”   thinking….Does he get a seat? are you putting a seat belt on him? is he going to sit on your lap?  The stranger responded, “oh he’s just going to sit down under our legs”   HUH?  (remember I have a German shepherd, who always TRIES to lay under my legs)…. Again, Ok.

Sure enough, Timmy laid under the seat in front of the stranger and between his legs.  As the other passengers finished boarding, the stranger allowed me to take several pictures, an introduce myself to Timmy.  At one point he said, I have RP and this is my service dog.  I actually knew what RP was…..well kind of, I knew how to say it, and that it meant he was going blind.  I think I surprised the hell out of him that I had heard of his condition.  You see, I follow and greatly admire the writer Susan Richardson, the author of Stories from the Edge of Blindness.  Susan has also been diagnosed and living with RP for 16 years.  If you don’t know Susan, please check out her blog, you won’t be sorry.

So back to the “stranger” on the plane, His name is Bob by the way, and by the end of the flight, he really was no stranger at all, but an incredible, smart, friendly guy.  We talked for the full four hours of our flight ( although it really felt much shorter than that)  We discussed politics.  yes I said discussed.  We disagreed about a few things, but I think we both LEARNED from each other.

When we were discussing how to find happiness while living with a health condition, he taught me a new term, “stamp collector” to describe a person that holds on to any and every misdeed that someone has done to  them.  We both agreed the secret to happiness is NOT collecting stamps, both literally and figuratively.

I could go on and on about the things we talked about, but I guess the whole point of this post, is that I am glad a “stranger” took a chance to open up about themselves and took the time to listen to another stranger’s stories and opinions.

I’m not a religious person by any means, but I do feel like I was “blessed” that day on my way home, and I am grateful for it.  I am also very grateful to have met so many wonderful new friends here on the interwebz.  Sincerely, I Thank you all from the bottom of my broken heart.

Soon, I’m going to have to tell you all about my Best Friend Gary, (the reason I went to Vegas), and about all the things he did to keep my mind occupied while I was there.  I really am a lucky girl.  For now though, I have the pleasure of Dutch’s company while Dan’s family finds a new home back in Illinois.

dutch

Is it a guy thing or a puppy thing that makes them take EVERY toy out of the bin?!?!?  lol

ME and my bag of PEE

I wrote last week that I was going on another “adventure”.  Maybe I shouldn’t have SAID anything?… Somehow MS found out that I am going away and decided that there was no way in hell I would be traveling without it.  GRRRRR

I realize that MS has a place in my life.  I make room and accommodate it’s demands all the time, but just ONCE I would like it to stay in the background a little more.

I should probably get to the actual point of this rant huh?

As I finished packing this morning, I had to pee again FOR THE 4th TIME IN LESS THAN AN HOUR!!!! Seriously?!?!  I just had PTNS last week, and Botox surgery in February for this.  I shouldn’t be having problems again this soon!

Thinking that it is  better to be safe than sorry, I called the doctor’s office.  They agreed that maybe I had a UTI and should come in to rule that out.  (yah for getting me in so quickly)…. Urine test complete, no UTI, but they still want to put me on antibiotics anyway, and suggested I use the Foley catheter for my whole trip. 😦

I am actually ok with having to use the catheter, lord knows I’ve been dealing with incontinence long enough, and who would want to have to pull off the interstate 4 times an hour for a 16 hour road trip?  The thing that stresses me out is having to deal with people’s reactions to seeing someone with a bag of pee strapped to their leg in public.

Well you could cover it up Grace?

Why?  So other people are more comfortable?  Not a chance!  The weather in Texas and Las Vegas is supposed to be in the 100’s, no chance in hell I am going to wear pants.  I have already given up half of my suitcase for incontinence supplies, medications, and such.  The only way I have half a chance in hell of surviving the heat is wearing shorts and tshirts or tank tops.  I had hoped to stay in/or by the pool while in Vegas, and I realize if I can’t get these symptoms to calm down I MIGHT have to give that idea up though :(… we shall see….

I’ve got this!…The only thing left is to come up with a name for my “companion”….Any suggestions?

 

 

Always an Adventure

I don’t even finish one adventure before I start looking for or planning the next one.

While we were in Boston, K was constantly on the phone with her husband trying to figure out the logistics for their relocation to Texas in July of this year.  Before I knew what I was doing, either alcohol or I said, “Just rent a fricking truck or trailer, and I will drive.”…..”NOW, will you get off the phone?!?!?”….and that’s how it all started….well at least that’s how I remember it.

Fast forward to last week….

I got a message from K’s husband D, “Were you serious about driving the truck to Texas for us?”…. I responded, “sure, as long as you get me home when I’m done.”  (I don’t THINK I was drinking that night)  Anyway….guess what….. I’m going to Texas!!!!!…. um next week……

and that’s not all…..

While I am in Texas, I am going to meet my friend ‘Ghost’s’, girlfriend Jackie.  Do you remember me talking about Ghost?  He suffered a stroke at the end of November, and most of my communication with him since then has been through his girlfriend Jackie.  In the back of my mind, I had been hoping to make a trip to Florida to see them and some other friends later this year,  but I haven’t set a date yet….

Wait a minute Grace, you just said you are going to Texas, but they live in Florida, you’re going to Florida too?……  NOPE!….Jackie will be in Texas the same week I am, so we are gonna meet for coffee.   What a small fricking world huh?

but wait there is more….

While I was pricing airfare from Houston to Ohare, I discovered (yes there was alcohol involved again), that it would actually be cheaper for me to fly to vegas and THEN home….. hmmmm Vegas….my best Friend Gary lives in Vegas, and it’s been a few years since we have been in the same room together…..

Ok truth be told, I am geographically challenged, and honestly thought that Nevada was directly North of Texas, so why not “stop in” and say hello.  It was just lucky for me that when you travel at the butt crack of dawn and use carry on luggage only the cost for two one way tickets was cheaper and timing was better for pick up and drop offs than a flight from Houston to Ohare…..

I know that this story has been all over the place (literally) so let me recap, before I continue.  Next week, I drive a truck in a convoy with friends to Texas.  While in Texas, I meet a friend from Florida who will be in town. Then I fly to Vegas to stay with my best friend for a couple days …..AND….one more thing…..

I get to meet Paige from Page’s of Paige A couple weeks ago, Paige posted that she will be moving to Vegas in the near future.  Ever since I read her first post, I have wanted to meet her.  This kid has some spunk.  She is constantly challenging herself to try new things, and although I call her “kiddo” she is wise beyond her years.

I think I have said it 10,000,000 times before, but in case anyone missed it…. I LOVE meeting new people, and I am always looking for a new adventure….keep that in mind if you are ever heading this way, or let me know if your couch is free for a couple days, just remember that I am that friend……

that one friend

Oh and the next adventure in the works is one more stateside trip this year and Italy next year…whoot whoot

Boston Day Two…a day of hurdles

I probably don’t need to say that I CRASHED HARD our first night in Boston… YAH adventure? …  Getting moving in the morning was a bit of a challenge….. BUT we had reservations for A whale watch cruise and had to be there at 9:30 am to check in..so time to suck it up.

First hurdle

What the fuck is this?  Ok ok I KNOW that it is a Keurig.  I HAVE heard of them, but since I drink Coffee by the VAT (the way it was intended), I have no idea how to use one…

It’s gotta be basic right?

OK I put in a CUP of water, put the little itty bitty k cup thingy in, closed the lid, turned on the power and hit BREW…… NOTHING

OH COME ON!!!!!

I turned the machine off,  reopened the lid….  (Coffee and water were in the right spots.)  and turned it back on….while the little blue light kept flashing at me, it was still NOT  making coffee!!!!!  WTF?!?!?!  So I hit the switch next to the outlet…(since I didn’t have any coffee in my body, it didn’t register that it wouldn’t have any lights on it if that was the problem)  The switch was  for the garbage disposal….smh…. Come on, I JUST WANT SOME COFFEE!!!!!  I made enough noise cussing etc that my traveling companion surfaced and figured it out before I threw it out the door….

Next Hurdle

Coffee cup in hand, I opened the door to go outside and smoke a cigarette….and instantly FROZE.  (not the anxiety kind), literally FROZE…HOLY shit, I THOUGHT I was in Boston, NOT Antarctica!!!  Bitter cold and THE WIND!!!!  SCREW THIS….smh..

I went inside and took a nice hot shower.

After my brain thawed and I realized I was OUT of coffee, my determination surfaced.  I had not come to Boston to “hide out” inside.  I put on two pairs of leggings under my jeans, a tshirt, two sweatshirts, and my leather bomber, and ventured out to start my day.

One thing I can say about Boston, is that it has no shortage of Dunkin Donuts (literally one on almost every block), and Dunkin Donuts has COFFEE!!!!

coffee.jpg

 

We made it to Dunkin Donuts, and found our way to the docks just in time for them to tell us that the Whale Watch Cruise had been cancelled because high winds and freezing temperatures made it unsafe to be out on the water.

ARGH!!!!!!

To be honest, I really didn’t want to be out in this weather anyway, but, but but……. MORE COFFEE….

 

I don’t know if coffee makes me smarter, or if it just helps me do stupid things quicker, but it definitely motivates my brain…..

whale watch guyAfter talking with Kevin from the whale watch cruises, we developed a new plan.

The 24 hour Charlie Card we purchased the day before was also valid on the Ferry, and we could use that to go to the Charleston Naval yard and see the U.S.S. Constitution and it’s museum… (YAH INSIDE STUFF)….When we were finished with that we were going to turn our planned Lobster Dinner into a Lobster Lunch and go on the Hop On and Off Trolley that was included with the Boston Go Card we purchased.

I know that I talk ALOT, to EVERYONE, but I didn’t realize just how many people I meet on a daily basis until my companions started taking pictures of me and my “new friends”.

While on the U.S.S. Constitution and at the museum…

constitution

We made sure to explore everything that we could “hands on”

and while I was able to get into and out of the hammock “ALL BY MYSELF” with no injuries…. I apparently do not mast well…..

Thankfully the floor was “padded”, because I did try the whole 3 strikes and your out thing, and they all ended with me on my ass.  (But the picture makes it look SO EASY)

Did I mention it was really really fricking cold?!?!?  oh and windy…..

Next stop…. LOBSTER…..

We took the ferry back to Long Wharf and enjoyed the following:  (caution lots of food pictures to follow)

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While we were eating, my niece (who had gone to college in Boston) texted me that her flight from Atlanta to Boston had landed safely, she was grabbing coffee’s for us, and would meet us by the trolley.

Although, I would recommend taking a trolley ride on your first day in Boston to get the “lay of the land”, I am glad we waited til our second day. I was cold, exhausted, and completely stuffed.  Sitting down was about all I could do.    If you stay on the Trolley from beginning to end, it takes about an hour and points out several historical landmarks, but you can also jump off at any of the stops and reboard just as easily.

BIGGEST HURDLE YET… Uneven surfaces

When you can’t feel your feet ( a normal ms symptom for me) uneven surfaces always create a challenge, but when you lose all muscle control in your leg (thankfully NOT a normal symptom for me) uneven surfaces and curbs like these look like 2 foot tall barriers.

After the trolley ride, we decided (more like my body decided) that we NEEDED to be done for the night.  It’s times like these that I really really FUCKING HATE having MS!!  I literally could NOT move my right leg when I attempted to get off the trolley.  It was like a 200 lb bag of sand.  Forget balance.  I would have been in deep shit, without help.  My companions, each gave me an arm and it took almost an hour to walk the 1/2 mile back to our apartment.

First order of business

20180405_210948Since she knows my struggles with technology, more specifically the UBER app on my phone, my niece handed me a beer, and took over the “troubleshooting”.  When she handed the phone back to me,  Uber was gone and LYFT was installed.

“The drivers are nicer, and it’s cheaper too”, she said.

As long as I didn’t have to go anywhere else for the night, I didn’t care.

Thank you kiddo for being my “Saving Grace”!!!!!

We spent the rest of the night catching up, and talking about our plans for the next couple of days.  (The best part was yet to come)  The next day I would be meeting some fellow bloggers…. IN REAL LIFE!!!!!

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Before going to bed for the night, I went out to my “cigarette corner” for one last smoke….and met this cute little guy…and his owner too.  One cigarette turned into, well lets just say a few more…and a couple more beers.20180405_235620

I have to share this picture because his story amazed me.  Cody is a 31 year old Russian translator in the peace core.  When I asked him why he decided on the Peace Corps., he said, “Because I wanted to help!”  We talked about backwards medical practices, debated about universal healthcare, and talked about the downfall of humanity in general.

While navigating Boston wasn’t easy for me, it was a beautiful city, and I met many fascinating people.

I went to sleep that night knowing that “Superman” would come “save me” in the morning.  I will write about that soon…. I Promise!