I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day Weekend and is enjoying the start of their summer!
Let me fill you guys in on what’s happened in the last month and a half…
I went to Charleston, SC in April and New Orleans, LA in May. Both of these cities, were cities I’d never been to before, pre or post accident. I’d been to both LA and Florida before the accident, so going to both those places, post-accident, didn’t involve as much pre-planning, as I was familiar with what to expect out there, to a certain degree.
April – Charleston, SC
I went down to Charleston, SC with a few of my girlfriends for 4 days & nights. It was my first post-accident trip without Ben and with my girlfriends. The airport and flight portion of the trip went off without a hitch. Getting in a cab and leaving the airport to get to the hotel wasn’t an issue, either. Overall, the majority of the trip went fairly smoothly. I think the main “issue” I didn’t foresee was how much I needed to be in my wheelchair, not because I couldn’t walk or anything like that, but because it just wasn’t “convenient”. I wouldn’t say that the sidewalks/streets of Charleston were not handicap friendly, but I wouldn’t say they were, either. It’s an old city, so it was expected that the sidewalks or streets wouldn’t be the most accommodating. A big part of being on vacation is to just walk and explore the area…and this is where the convenience issue comes into play. Even though we were staying in the center of town and located within “walking distance” of a lot of things, I ended up having to take my wheelchair out and about with us. Even though things are close, it’s hard for me to walk and explore aimlessly. Although it has been 2 years since I’ve been on prosthetics, I’m still adjusting. So…it’s hard for me to walk without a plan or set destination because I won’t know what the terrain of the streets and sidewalks will be like, how crowded the sidewalks will be with people, how wide the sidewalks will be, and if I can keep up with my friends. Factoring all of that in, I wheeled around in the wheelchair, but brought my crutches along in tow for when I wanted and could use them. This wasn’t the most ideal, since I felt like I was being a burden to my friends, but we made it work. THANKS Jenn, May, and Steph! xoxo.
Charleston was good prep for New Orleans…
May – New Orleans, LA
The Charleston trip and the need for my wheelchair while there, prepared me for New Orleans. Learning from my Charleston experiences, coupled with the planner and anal retentive sides of me, I researched where we were staying and the French Quarter, probably a little more than necessary…Knowing that we were in the French Quarter and “within walking distance” to everything, meant almost nothing to me. Sure, it was a bit helpful, but phrases and words like, within walking distance and close, no longer have the same meaning to me anymore, as they do everyone else. So, this meant that I…Printed out a map of the French Quarter, marked where our hotel was, marked the top spots of places I wanted to see/eat/do within the French Quarter (don’t get all excited..it wasn’t more than 8…I’m not THAT crazy), then calculated how far said things were from the hotel, then determined if it was walkable or if it would require the wheelchair. And then last, but not least, it if was walkable, I’d go to Google and map out the walk via Google’s street view, so I could get a sense of what the sidewalks/streets would be like…ok…maybe I am THAT crazy. And with all that said and done, I still ended up doing the riding the wheelchair and taking the crutches combo because it was either too hot or too crowded with people. I attempted to walk around the French Quarter the first night we got there, to get a drink at one of the bars, but after 2-3 blocks…I was almost completely drenched in sweat (sexy!) and tired of navigating amongst all the drunkards.
We did walk/wheel around quite a bit, ate a lot, saw both a Jazz Show and a Burlesque Show, and definitely got a feel for the people and the Southern hospitality. We had oysters (raw and char-grilled), beignets (from Cafe Beignet and Cafe Du Monde), jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, gumbo, po-boys, coffee, hurricanes, etc! Oh..and the frozen cafe au lait from Cafe Du Monde….I mean, I can’t even….it was DELICIOUS! However, I think I liked Cafe Beignet’s beignets over Cafe Du Monde’s beignets. I’d go back to New Orleans just for that combo…Cafe Du Monde’s frozen cafe au lait and a couple of beignets from Cafe Beignet….*drool* (It doesn’t help that I’m writing this post during dinner time…). I currently have another window open to see if there’s a Cafe Du Monde cafe au lait recipe/mix…hah.
One other thing to mention, before moving on to current and recent happenings. During one of our Uber rides down in New Orleans, we met a driver named Chris. During the drive, I was asking him about the best way to get to the Super Dome for the graduation (We were in New Orlean’s for Ben’s cousin’s graduation from Tulane.) and what time we should head out…blah blah blah. At the end of that trip, he gave me his card and told us that he would pick us up at the hotel and take us to the Super Dome. Sweet..I didn’t have to worry about ordering an Uber first thing, Saturday AM. On Saturday morning he called to confirm and then showed up right on time. As he started driving, he started chatting with us. (This was almost 3 weeks ago, so it may not be word for word…) He started to say something about how he asked my husband for permission first, if it was ok to make this presentation to me…I wasn’t sure where this was going, but I got the feeling it was going to be something sappy and sweet. So, as he continued, I said something along the lines of, Chris, I don’t know what you’re about to do, but it’s barely 8AM, so it’s too early in the morning for me to get choked up…Chris is ex-Military, a former Navy Chief, and coincidentally, also worked at our hotel when he was a kid, for over 10 years. He began his “presentation” about his time in the navy and then about strength and bravery and how I demonstrated all these things. He was telling me about how he had been thinking about how to make the presentation during his drive to pick us up and that he was very nervous and wasn’t even sure if he should do it. I was COMPLETELY caught off guard. Totally unexpected and not ready for that kind of emotion at 8AM on a Saturday. I don’t think I’m retelling this story properly and doing it or Chris justice. It was so sweet and I was so honored. See pin below.
As for what else is going on…Bad news – still looking for a job. Good news – getting skins on my legs!…which basically means, my “legs” will look like legs and not robot legs! I will try and document the process so I can write about and have visuals for everyone!
Oh and in case anyone hasn’t seen this yet on The Today Show or on social media….
Big Shout Out to A Step Ahead Prosthetics…my prosthetic place. SO proud of them for all they do and so glad they got so much coverage for this wonderful thing they’re doing for these amazing kids!