Hi. My name is Eric. This is my journey after being paralyzed in an off-road motorcycle accident on January 22, 2011. I suffered a fractured T12 resulting in a ASIA A Complete spinal cord injury. I have no sensation or motor function from my waist down and am in a wheelchair. My wife, two young daughters, family and friends have been supporting me in this journey.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wheelchairs and Airports - June 4, 2011

The flight from SFO to Houston went very smooth.  We showed up to the gate early and requested an "aisle chair".  This is a really narrow wheelchair designed to fit (barely) down the isle of the airplane.  Since we arrived at that gate early, I was loaded first!  When we arrived in Houston, I was unloaded last!  Oh well, so far, so good.  Then we got to the gate in Houston a little late so I had to wait until everyone was loaded on the plane.  When we arrived in Panama, the airport did not have an aisle chair.  Great.  The flight attendants tried to find the one in the plane and could not find it at first.  When they finally found the aisle chair, it was wedged in a closet and they could not get it out.  After chit-chatting with the flight attendants for 20 minutes, the aisle chair finally arrived.

All right, now lets get rolling.  Wait, I have to use the bathroom.  At least it was not crowded since it took us so freaking long to get off the plane.  I roll down the the bathroom and get stuck in the doorway.  I push on through anyway.  Then another doorway.  Yep, same issue.  Get stuck, push through, scratch up hand rims.  Oh no.  The stalls are too freaking narrow.  Great, now I have to turn around, and go back through the 2 doorways I got stuck in.  A few minutes later, we come up to another handicap bathroom and it looks promising.  However, I had to wait 15 minutes for the person to get out of the stall.  If you aren't handicapped, please do not use the stall because it is big.

Our taxi driver showed up in a minivan, opened the sliding door and folded down the ramp.  The ramp was short making for a steep slope.  The taxi driver pushed me up and I had to duck my head to get in.  Once I got into the minivan, I sat up and bonked my head on the roof.  Argh!  I had to drive 20 minutes from the airport to our hotel while ducking so my head did not hit the roof.  This was really difficult because I had to lean forward and hold myself up by my arms the whole time.  My neck was hurting and my arms were killing me.  I was so glad when we arrived at the hotel. Now all I had to do was get out of the minivan and down the steep ramp.  And wouldn't you know it.....I bonked my head on the way out!

Overall, the trip went very smooth.  I was expecting much worse.

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