A Challenging Flight 波乱万丈なフライトでした

(Mountains covered with snow; seen from the airplane)

The flight to Wisconsin had three stops. With a time change, I imagine that it was not be easy for 84-year-old body with Parkinson's to endure all that. Loren reserved a first-class seat for Grandma and also reserved one more first-class seat and one economy-class seat. Loren and I exchanged our seats during flights to accompany Grandma. We used Northwest Airlines; unfortunately, we did not have a pleasant experience with them this time. Although we reserved first-class seats, the seats did not recline much, so Grandma could not lie down. The flight attendants seemed to be stressed out. Additionally, the flight attendants gave Grandma’s wheel chair to someone else. We had to wait in the aircraft until we got the wheel chair back. When a temporal wheel chair came, there was a strange rule that she could not get inside of the building with that particular chair, so she had to wait between the building and the aircraft for at least 5 minutes where it was snowing! Loren asked them to move her to somewhere at least warm, but they refused this request and blankly stated, “We cannot change the rule.” Loren and I were pretty upset about this, and they even did not apologize for this matter… Then, the flight from Minneapolis to Milwaukee was delayed three hours due to some sort of malfunction of the aircraft. In the end, they canceled the flight, and we had to get another flight. By the time we got it, we found out that the gate was so far away from where we were and was going to leave in 15 minutes! We had to run to the gate with Grandma on the wheelchair. Of course, we lost our first-class seats although we had paid for them, so Grandma had to sit in one of the economy seat. It was challenging for her to walk through the narrow isle and sit down.

Despite of all these difficulties, Grandma did well. I was impressed. I was exhausted by the time we had to run for 7 minutes form one gate to another, but she was in a good spirit and talked a lot. In the end, we landed in Wisconsin safe and sound.

The next day, Grandma was hospitalized. It was not because she got in an accident or was sick. She had to see a doctor in the region of a nursing home prior to the admission. While she was staying at a hospital, she saw two doctors who were specialized in Parkinson’s disease. These doctors wanted to try a new Parkinson’s medication on Grandma, so they took away her current medications. The result was not good. Grandma’s function level declined to 20%. She could not get out of a bed, could not feed herself, and could not use a bathroom on her own anymore. She kept sleeping a whole day. Loren solicited with the doctors to go back to the original medications and the original dosage. It took a couple of days to get ‘our’ Grandma back. Meanwhile, Loren was busy trying to find a nursing home that would accept her. He eagerly found right people to talk to, and a social worker and he spent hours on this matter. Many different kinds of formal documents were needed, and dense process was ahead of us. The day to return to Maui was approaching, but dealing with the doctors, finding a right nursing home for her, and dealing with paper work endlessly continued from the morning to the night. I respected Loren for his effort and love for Grandma. As Grandma was coming back to her normal function level, Loren finally found a nursing home that accepted her. There were countless people, including Loren’s family members, involved in this process and helped along the way. They were truly appreciated. In order to finalize the whole process to the point where Loren and I could feel safe enough to leave, we decided to extend our stay.

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(Snowy weather in Wisconsin)






yasuko said...


Akari Ueoka 上岡安佳里 said...