We had only one hour to pack before our taxi was arriving to take us to Dulles airport. In theory I thought I would have a spare empty case on the return trip as I travelled with a case of food however this soon filled with pillows, neck braces and medical supplies I had accumulated whilst in Washington. Why couldn’t it of been handbags, clothes and perfume!!!
The taxi soon arrived, I was still trying to peel my support stockings on. These are fantastic for any long haul flight but especially for those with POTS who have difficulty getting there blood to pump back up to the brain. I did look like I had mannequin legs though. I felt quite wobbly walking out to the taxi, everything was so rushed I think adrenaline was getting me through. We said a teary goodbye to my parents, I really did find this upsetting as I wanted to end the journey how we started it, together. The journey wasn’t too bad to the airport. As we changed flights so quickly we didn’t book special assistance which proved difficult in the airport getting my wheel chair, myself and all our bags through check in however we managed. Once checked in we went through security, what an episode that was!!! When you’re in a wheel chair you are pushed through then your wheel chair is searched, I was searched and neck brace swabbed it took around 10-15 minutes!! I must have a suspicious look about me !! We then headed up to the lounge where we waited to be called for the flight. I rang my brother and sister in-law to explain what was happening. I sat back on a chair with a cup of tea, exhausted and struggling with my vision which I had/have since surgery.
Our names were called and Nick wheeled me to the aircraft. Not long after boarding a lovely member of staff came over and said he would be looking after us on the flight and should we need anything at all just to ask. I was a little teary on take off as I wanted my parents to be with me and didn’t like the thought of them back in Washington, it didn’t feel right we weren’t altogether. I remember looking out of the window listening to the same song I did when we took off from Dublin five weeks before not believing this journey was coming to an end. It felt surreal. Muscle spasms and headaches prevented me from sleeping during the flight and due to numerous food intolerances and gastro issues I didn’t eat on the flight. I watched Nick as he tucked into food I could only eat in my dreams now. I tried to get as comfortable as possible by making a little pillow den and lay flat to take the pressure off my head and neck.
We soon landed in Dublin, the flight was just over an hour faster on the return leg due to wind direction. As always the care with Aer Lingus was outstanding, I couldn’t recommend them enough. It was around 4.30 am (U.K. time) I was absolutely exhausted. My vision was making it difficult to navigate through the airport to the arrivals gate. Waiting at arrivals was our friend Rich who very kindly arranged again for us to have a few hours at his friends flat just around the corner from the airport for me to be able to get some breakfast and lay flat before our Dublin-Manchester flight.
Back at Rich’s friends I attempted to eat some cereal which was a sloppy affair, I couldn’t open my mouth that wide and food was sticking in my throat. I actually felt very nauseas so gave up the cereal war and tried to rest my body. The muscle spasms had totally kicked in by this stage and came with no warning, some so strong they through my jaw out and visually made my face jerk. Absolutely no fun at all. Nick was walking around the room trying to stay awake, we hadn’t slept In 24 hours. I do okay without sleep as I’m used to it but Nick is definitely a man that needs his sleep 🙂
A few hours had passed and it was time to head back to the airport for our connecting flight. We had already checked our bags in as we came off the Washington flight so it was just a case of going through security (again). We said our goodbyes to Rich and headed through security. Once through we headed towards the gate whereby they were boarding people onto the bus. As I was in my wheel Chair I got priority boarding on the front where I had a little giggle with the driver. As we arrived, the plane was the same size as last time – a coach on wheels !! The flight back was bumpy and both myself and Nick felt a little queasy. Once we descended into Manchester I had a few little butterflies, home we were finally home. I made it.
The journey back home was rough I felt very sick in the taxi after all the travel and dizzy but when we pulled up outside our home I cried. I cannot put into words the sheer relief I felt that I had made it and I was finally home. I had missed our home so very much. Nick opened the door and my little man Colin the cat came downstairs and was greeted by a weepy mummy giving him lots of cuddles. He had been well looked after by Nicks sister Michelle, so much so I don’t think he missed myself or Nick a jot!!! I feel the need to share a little picture of my Colin, he does not always look as angelic as this!!
It was unbelievably nice to be home and true to form the first thing I did was have a good old cuppa and then plough through my NHS letters.
We haven’t managed to catch up with all our friends since returning as things haven’t been easy at all. So what’s happened since returning to the U.K. and what does it really feel like to have rods and screws in your head and neck?