I am reposting one of my earlier blogs in the blog series about my move to Florida because life is unexpected. I have had many unforeseen things that needed to be dealt with immediately, not medical. These situations have caused my writing to slip to the back burner of my to-do list, slowing my writing. So please enjoy this flashback from the blog series about my move from Ohio to Florida and its trials, tribulations, and even a few triumphs.
Gentlemen, start your engines…
Someone told me I am too honest and share things I should not because they are personal and embarrassing. However, not only do I believe in total honesty in life, but those reading my blogs with multiple sclerosis know that what I am saying is true. In addition, the anonymity of the internet means no one knows who I am except for my name because very few people I know read my blog. That said, the big bad Marine in me is terrified of flight day, like a schoolgirl watching a horror movie.
Let me be clear, I am not afraid to fly, as I have ridden in a big steel bird 30,000 feet in the sky many times. Side note; the first time in my life I ever rode in a plane was an excessively primitive propeller plane on my way to boot camp for the US Marine Corps. It was an exceptionally scary ride with a terrifying destination. However, I am afraid the MS symptoms I have dealt with in the past year could unexpectedly rear their ugly heads at any time of the day or flight. So I pondered my prolific problem, wondering how to help my fear and stress before they become an ulcer and ruin an otherwise positive move, so far anyway.
The stress of thinking about this trip all night made my time asleep in groups of minutes, not hours. My alarm went off at Zero Dark Thirty, or 3 a.m. to be precise, as I needed as much time as possible to get ready. This transition is a one thousand-mile move that started only a few months ago, and I am making the trip today. I knew my mom and stepdad would wake up early also for a family reunion and would leave shortly after me. That makes four bodies moving around, trying to duck and dodge each other in a relatively small house.
I had an aide named Carrie scheduled on the date of departure to come in to assist me in making this a smoother and proper preparation time. Carrie came in at 3:45 a.m., whispering a cheerful good morning while requesting directions on how she could help. I had a carry-on suitcase and a large piece of luggage for being checked into the belly of the plane. Most of her work upon arrival was to pack the bags with the things I could not until the last minute. The first hour was Carrie putting things where I requested them to go and her trying to make sure everything fit correctly.
My first task was to get breakfast out of the way, as I knew my parents would prepare in the kitchen for their gathering. It is essential to start the day with a substantial breakfast, so I was hoping for a two-egg omelet, bacon, and orange juice for this momentous occasion. However, in reality, I had a bowl of frosted Shredded Wheat with powdered milk and my vitamins and prescriptions to start the day off right. So far, things were moving smoothly, which scared me more because of the possibility of what would go wrong later. My MS life had not been rainbows and butterflies up to this point, and I was still fearful of any MS flare which would ruin this trip.
I can do the stuff Carrie is helping me with, but there is a need for speed, and I do not want to think about failure today. Her next task was to help me get dressed in the clothes I would wear to the airport, making sure everything was acceptable to the TSA. I have a key ring on my jean shorts zipper so I can hold it easily, and the last time I went through the TSA checkpoint, the guy grabbed it. He must have thought I was trying to smuggle something because he pulled on it like he had found a lost treasure. This time I would make sure I announced every little item and explain what they are before the start of the pat-down.
There was not much left to do after she helped me get dressed except assemble all the other last pieces. Search and rescue for a few lost last-minute items were essential but short-lived, as the house was pretty barren and packed for Florida. We both sat quietly in my bedroom, she on the bed and me on my chair as I tried to catch my breath as my nerves were shaking like heavy metal guitar strings. This morning seemed to run smoothly, which terrified me as it felt like it was the “calm before the storm,” which meant the storm would be at the airport.
Fifteen minutes before the transport was supposed to arrive, Carrie left, leaving a conversation between my parents and me. As Carrie stepped out the door, she turned back and let us know the transport vehicle was here early. My heart began pounding at galloping thoroughbred speed, and at that point, my parents grabbed my luggage to walk me to my transportation. I opened the garage door, looked out at the van, and whispered, “Okay, Scott, there is no turning back now.” Right then, I felt like a little kid dragged to school for the first time, and the torturous trepidation sank in. Goodbye, Columbus, Ohio. I have lived within your borders for 46 years and will always have fond memories of my childhood.
Every journey starts with one step.