So I flew back ‘ all by myself ‘ from Louisville to London.. Except, I’m happy to say that people actually helped me left, right and centre.
Cindy gave me a lift to the airport,kept me company through customs and to the Gate itself. Thank you, you’re an angel.
Then the assistance takes over- ok not great to need pushing and carrying on board a plane, but necessary obviously.
Plenty of smiles all round made it easier inside my head.
An hour to Chicago, and then a transfer onto another plane, with a short stop in a United Airlines airport lounge where the staff couldn’t have been more helpful ( food and wine brought to me, plus help transferring from my chair onto a sofa, and back ).
Then onto the next plane, destination London, with another transfer to an ‘aisle seat’ – a narrow wheelchair that fits down an aircraft aisle, plus help into the proper seat ( mine, as requested next to the window, and away from passing trolleys and people luckily enough to get about on their own legs ).
My friend, Julie Watson, having worked for United since she was a child, had emailed and asked the cabin crew to look after me, which they did – including the provision of more wine, though I didn’t push my luck.
I was a little concerned about the need to have a pee whilst on an 8 hour flight, necessary I’d say for anyone.
As I cant ‘feel’ it, I have to guage it depending on how long it’s been since the last time, and how much fluid I’ve had to drink.
As I cant walk to the loo, I have to do what I need to in my seat. My pre planned strategy was just to be straight with whoever sat next to me, and say that I could either wait til they got up and then try to do what I needed to, or else ask them to hold up a blanket to give me a little privacy for the few minutes it takes. I’d assure them that it wasn’t noisy, it didn’t smell, and they wouldn’t get wet.
In the event I couldn’t have had a more understanding person than Lisa sit next to me. A mum of 2, my age and a biologist. I explained, she was totally cool, and she opted for the holding up a blanket approach.
Twice, as it happened, on account of the wine.
Thank you, Lisa.
I did manage to nod off for a bit too, awaking to find myself all tucked up in a blanket, borrowed from First Class (again Lisa’s doing)
Landing in Heathrow Terminal 1, at 5.30 am, I did have to face the prospect of a full day and then a night out at my charity boxing event, til 2 am, with just about an hour’s sleep in total, but watching Wales beat Ireland in the 6 Nations got my adrenaline flowing sufficiently to keep me going through to Fight night itself.
And once there, there was absolutely zero prospect of me even feeling tired…
Dani picked me up at the airport, and it was lovely to see her, and Lily, once home again.
I didn’t see Amber til 18 hours later, when she got back from a school trip to France, and at 2 in the morning not that talkative..
I’d been nervous about the journey, to be honest, firstly about the solo flight, and secondly that having left America, I might not want to go back.
I think it says something for my progress that actually I don’t dread my return to the States at all, in fact now thinking of my reasons for being there as a priority, at this particular point in my life, and an opportunity that I simply cannot afford to pass up.