We have been on a family vacation which I am calling JOYCATION 2013! We participated in the wedding of a life time for my husbands father, all the while celebrating, visiting with, and enveloping ourselves in family. We played with friends, marinaded ourselves in love and fun, and filled every part of every day (and every evening) with joy. Hence the title JOYCATION 2013!
This will be a post from a ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ perspective. I found Ben’s contribution enlightening. His observations and the way he describes events is telling of the kind of man and husband he is. Protective, thoughtful, kind, insightful. A gentleman.
Another day, another flight. I once again find myself on a somewhat uneventful plane ride. This time, I am making the trek between Portland and San Diego at 9:00 at night. I am not alone. My two wonderful children are sitting across the aisle while my beautiful wife plays referee. Our roles are reversed from our fight from San Diego to Portland, so I find myself with some mundane free-time, sporadically interrupted by my Daddy voice saying, “Listen to your mom!”
My two seat companions on my left are asleep. One doesn’t speak English, and I assume he will have an awesome time at the San Diego Zoo with his college aged buddies. The other is a nice older lady who konked out not five minutes after the plane was in the air.
So… what to talk about. Perhaps a quick review of the difficulties I noticed my wife endured during our trip to Oregon would be an appropriate topic. She deals with them very well, so this article may be a bit abbreviated. Heck! It is a relatively short flight, so brevity is a requirement!
We came out here for a wedding. I have a somewhat unique relationship with my non-bio father. He started out as my football coach during my sophomore year in high school, and has evolved to fill the rolls of friend, mentor, and father for me. He was getting married for the first time, and I was to be one of two groomsmen. We decided to stay for a week so my children could have as much time possible with old playgroup friends, extended family, and devote time to the wedding. This necessitated a variety of wardrobe, tactical, and medicinal issues my wife had to tackle.
So, the stage is set. Let me take you on an adventure as we fly alongside a beautiful Pacific sunset.
Packing for a wedding is fairly easy for a guy. We wear a suit, jacket, and comfortable shoes. My wife had a little more difficulty. She had to find a dress that complimented her awesome figure, yet detracted from the ostomy gear. It isn’t that it seemed difficult to purchase the ‘right dress’, but the ‘right dress’ had to match my clothes as a groomsman. She went through several dresses, on many different shopping trips. The sleek ones were difficult to camouflage her gear. The billowy ones were too frumpy. The reserved ones were, well, too dang reserved for a wife with her lithe body. She ended up finding a nice purple number that had these descending decorations around the stomach and waist. This gorgeous dress allowed her to move with freedom, while accentuating her natural curves, and obfuscating her gear. Quite simply, she looked beautiful. So if you are worried about finding ‘the right dress’ for an event, I believe it can be done very successfully. Gear or no gear.
Another issue was the TSA. A lot of gear goes into a trip. And it is gear you do NOT want to put in checked baggage. If the airline loses that gear, you will find yourself in a world of hurt. So we worried and fretted about how the San Diego and Portland TSA would react to the assorted accessories required to perform proper gear changes. Also, the dreaded ‘pat down’ itself is concerning from a time and personal comfort standpoint.
The last time we traveled, my boy was eighteen months old. He was in my wife’s arms when she was told she had to be searched. And since SHE was being searched, HE would need to be searched. Now my boy can be a little terrorist at times, but not in any literal sense. As I didn’t want my boy or my girl to be patted down because they were with my wife, I elected to have them both accompany me. It was probably a vain move as they were old enough to be their own people. But I was being my overprotective self.
Christy did indeed need to get patted down. In San Diego, I was directed through the metal detectors because I was negotiating the direction of the children. Christy was directed into the body scanner. And, of course, as the supervision x-rays shot through her cells, they noticed she had something ‘odd’ under her clothing. At this point she was taken to a room to be patted down or have her gear inspected, or something. I will let Christy tell you about this experience, as I have no knowledge of what it felt like to have that happen. All I know was her saying it ‘Wasn’t that bad’.
Jumping ahead in the trip, on the way to tonight’s return flight home, Christy didn’t want to go through the full-body scanner. I BELIEVE you can elect not to go into the thing, but they rushed her into the darn thing, and I don’t believe they let her know that she COULD elect not to go through the thing. Heck, she was going to get a pat down anyways, why not skip the additional radiation? From a husband’s perspective, I wish I could have been next to her to assist. I have flown a lot more than her at this point, and can provide a bit of direction in these situations. But I was busy herding our children through the TSA hoops and troops. Sorry Christy, I wish I could have done more.
Drink cart time! Of the six airlines I have flown on, I have to say I like Alaska Airlines’ complimentary “Crunch Snack Mix” the best. It must be the soy nuts or pretzel twists. Somehow this complimentary combination complements itself very well.
So the next challenge I recognize as an issue for an ostomate, for my wife, is the need for bathroom breaks. We were out and about, eating strange and rich foods, and we had to make sure a bathroom was within easy reach. This is a lesson I have learned a long time ago, but for those spouses-of-ostomates out there, please, PLEASE immediately find a bathroom if your significant other says they need to use the restroom. On trips like these, you may feel a time pressure, or stress, or some overarching obligation requiring you to hurry to your next destination. After all, it is only a half-hour to forty-five minutes away! She can wait that long…right?
No! Find a restroom. It could be that your partner has already been waiting for a while to tell you of their need. Or it could be that ‘quick trip’ is going to hit a traffic jam. Just do yourselves a favor and find a restroom promptly and efficiently.
The final issue I noticed was the food. Diet changes are hard on everyone. The greasy fare from fast food restaurants, the rich food from the wedding, and the over-processed food from the complimentary breakfasts create something of a perfect storm of indigestion. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice Carl’s Jr. Hamburger, and the wedding roast was fricking awesome. But the dietary change for my wife, and for me, cause things to move a bit …. differently. So when you are traveling, come prepared for things moving too fast or moving too slow. Bring along some anti-diuretics. Bring some Tums! Or some anti-nausea meds! Take care of yourself digestively.
So that’s about it for preparation. Christy will be able to provide you a more complete list. I’m just the dude on the outside looking in. But to review…
· TSA, annoying, but not intolerable
· Formal dresses for female ostomates is very doable
· Pack extra gear
· Pack digestive aids
As we still have a bit of time left in this flight prior to our descent into San Diego, I would like to summarize a few more things about my wife. Her preparation and execution of this trip was phenomenal. I would be surprised if she didn’t have a detailed plan for more than a half-hour block of spare time during this entire trip. Her preparation for herself and the kids, along with the detailed schedule, was amazing.
But what blew me away the most was the wedding reception. This reception began at 5:00 and ran to midnight. Christy spent most of that time in her beautiful purple dress dancing like a crazy woman. And she was by far the best looking lady on that floor. Every time we attend one of these wild shin-digs, I experience a profound reaffirmation of our love. She is a wonderful woman, a snazzy dresser, and a very energetic and beautiful person. Inside and out.
Thank you for sharing this flight to San Diego with me you Crohnie Bologna lovers. If you have any requests for specific topics from me, please let Christyknow. I’m not bashful, and will write about just about anything as I find time. It is only finding time that is of an issue for me.
All the best. Be well. And keep on dancing like a crazy person!