Minnesota Trip 2017

Minnesota was an absolutely amazing time! With each visit home I am reminded how truly important family is and how lucky I am to have the one I do.

After over 3,500 miles, 60+hours and a mucho sore booty – I can say it was totally worth it!

We (I say that as a relative term…) drove straight through with only stops for gas on the way there, and an extra stop at Mount Rushmore on the way home.

Flying would seem to be a better option, but with a disability like mine, flying is anything but easy.

Flying Frustrations

First and foremost, getting onto the plane is an issue. When I was younger, my dad would carry me onto the plane. Sometimes, he’d just transfer me onto the airline’s aisle chair and then I’d get rolled back to my seat where he’d transfer me again. I believe the last time I did that was as a 3rd grader (possibly 6th, I can’t recall), but even back then my butt barely fit onto the aisle chair. Not a stable position for me. My care provider cannot transfer me without a hoyer lift. I believe most airlines will provide staff to do this part, but I’m basically a rag doll when out of my chair so I worry they would let me fall over.

Even if I were to risk that part, I have to send my wheelchair down with the luggage. They are not so careful with luggage – once, my wheelchair came back with the plate that held my batteries disconnected. It apparently ended up not being a difficult fix, but my current chair is so high-tech. It raises and tilts and has an awesome little screen on the joystick box – a lot of important features I’m nervous to risk damaging. My husband is currently using a manual wheelchair that the wheels won’t come off of. He flew a few years back and the axles got bent from being packed with the luggage.

Again, if I sucked it up passed those two points, I then have to worry about a ride once I arrive. My van has a lowered floor and I still need to duck to fit in. My chair makes me feel like the BFG (big friendly giant). If my ponytail is too far on top of my head, it touches the top of the van. So, renting a “regular” van is out of the question. Accessible van rentals are available for over $100 a day (adding to that gas and airfare – driving is incredibly cheaper!)

Then (yes, there is more!) I need a hoyer lift and a shower chair. I got smart this trip and left my shower chair in Minnesota, so that’s one plus. A hoyer can possibly be rented, but I haven’t actually looked into that part. I’m still stuck at step one of having the courage to get on a plane! 🙂

I know that flying is better health-wise – for me and for those going with me. But this is a lot of stuff for me to get past.

Driving Difficulties

We’ve already established driving is cheaper, but it comes with its own complications.

Mostly, I hate vehicle maintenance. I’m smart enough to take it in for its oil changes as needed and to get looked over before a long trip, but beyond that I am useless. They could tell me I’m low on blinker fluid and I’d be like “Okay, fill ‘er up!” (Ok, I’m not that bad. But, it’s close.)

I’ve been lucky that on all of the trips thus far, this is the only issue we’ve had. Though it sounded more dramatic and had me in a panic for the few seconds it took to pull over on the side of I-80 in the middle of nowheresville Nevada – it could have been a much bigger issue.

The most difficult part is driving straight through. Why not stay in a motel? I wish it was that simple. This hoyer lift I referenced above needs to be able to roll under beds – motel beds do not allow for this.

Swelling is painful. My legs swell, my arms swell, my fingers swell. This trip, I decided to do stretches at each stop. Have my legs moved around, my arms waved around – anything to get the blood flowing. I was still swollen, but not as bad as last time.

A Worthwhile Adventure

All travels come with roadblocks whether you have a disability or not. People are so right when they say they need a vacation from their vacation. And as difficult as parts of the trip are, I do not even question if it is worth it. I am so tired – like, hard to sit up normal, head wanting to fall off tired, but I will do it over and over again!  There is no place like home!

(To see more pictures from my trip, visit my Rolling Onward Facebook page.)


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