Three years? How is that possible? I’m finding it hard to wrap my head around the fact that it was exactly three years ago tonight that Claire, the Bobbsey’s, and I were laid up in the Park Central Hotel in Manhattan, collectively shell-shocked after my first legitimate attempt at post-injury air travel went so sideways that we were seriously considering chartering an immediate flight home.
In retrospect, I’m not sure what made us decide not to. For some unknown reason, we decided to push through what would become a wild ride down the Eastern Seaboard, spending 11 of 14 days without my chair at all. As much as I’d love to continue milking my resentment toward the tone-deaf folks at United Airlines for their negligent mishandling of the entire situation, I know now that the whole experience was actually a tremendous gift.
It showed us that we are much more resilient travelers than we ever could have imagined and taught me valuable lessons for how to properly navigate the system when Alaska busted another one of my chairs less than a calendar year later. Those experiences thrust me on to a platform of national advocacy I didn’t think I was prepared for, but now fits like a comfortable pair of old slippers.
Tomorrow we embark on another cross-country adventure, for yet another Roll on Capitol Hill with United Spinal Association, no longer doe-eyed wannabe advocate-travelers, but seasoned vets. This will be our fourth time attending the event, my fifth visit to DC, and my sixth transcontinental flight since our now infamous first attempt.
Over the next 10 days, we will be retracing our steps from that first calamitous journey to connect with a lot of familiar faces and a bunch of new ones as we bring our special blend of vigilant activism to our elected officials, knowing full well that the machine moves maddeningly slow, but will turn with the right amount of sustained pressure. Stay tuned to social media and wish us luck.