After a pretty traumatic week, we arrived at the airport for the long awaited trip to Hawaii. Since we stayed at a hotel really close to the airport, it made the morning a lot easier. All of the bags for the trip were in the car, the clothes I was wearing would get left in the car, and I literally just had to freshen up and make sure my food & medication was ready to go. We had been planning this trip for nearly a year, and I wasn’t going to let a little disability stop me from enjoying nature’s beauty. Plus, where else would you want to start your recovery than in a magical, tropical destination?!?!
I was dropped off curbside and he went to park the car while made my way to the counter to check my bag. It was around 6am on Saturday, and there was barely anyone there. I was shocked! This is one of the business airports in the winter, since most flights are diverted here due to the impeccable snow removal that other airports aren’t able to compete with. I hobbled over to TSA, and there was NO ONE in line! I handed my documents over, and made my way through screening. Everyone I encountered that asked if I was okay were shocked when I told them, “Yeah, I just have arthritis.”
I am young, it’s not normal for young people to have arthritis. I get it.
About 15 minutes later, boyfriend met me at our gate. We always plan my food for the flights ahead of time, and he filled our water bottles at the nifty filtered water filling station at the drinking fountain. I abhor spending money at the airport, especially when I can bring my highly nutrient dense food with me that I know will taste good.
I’m a nervous flier when it comes to making it to the gate on time, so I have to be there several hours before boarding or I’m a mess. Since there wasn’t anyone yet at the airport, we had a few hours to kill before boarding would happen. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I did in this time, I’m sure I hobbled to the bathroom a few times and ate some of my food, but since my medication causes short term memory loss some of the time and my brain likes to suppress trauma life is a bit fuzzy for the days before and after this flight. Sleep deprivation was also a major factor.
Due to boyfriend being 6’3″, we do our best to buy/upgrade to the seats with the most leg room. For this trip, that was United Economy Plus, which means we got blankets! It wasn’t an awesome blanket, I like Delta’s blankets better, but the bag in came in made a sweet personal trash container for hour it stayed stuck to the seat back in front of me. My ADD was very happy I thought of that idea.
Our itinerary had an hour layover in Denver on our way to Kona, which is always a pretty place to fly into with the Mountains snow capped.
The flight to Denver was quick, we watched a movie on my laptop to pass the time. We grabbed a bathroom break in Denver before boarding the final flight to Kona.
The flight to Kona was LONG! I’m basically a 5-year-old when I fly: I need multiple forms of entertainment and lots of snack options in addition to a meal and drinks to keep me occupied in a seated position for longer than an hour. We watched another movie, I read for about 90 minutes, I ate my salad and annoyed the guy in front of me because he decided to take a nap at lunch time and didn’t like the fact I needed to stab my salad. In all fairness, he reclined his seat before we were ‘allowed’ to recline without even hesitating, and I was trying to piss him off. It was an 8 hour flight and I wasn’t about to extend courtesy to someone who didn’t extend it to me. I laughed so hard as quietly as I could, it did keep me entertained for about 5 minutes.
And then I was bored. Since I knew sitting in the airplane seats was going to get uncomfortable a lot quicker than normal, given my condition, I made sure to use the restroom a few times to stretch my body. There was even a line sometimes, so I laid on the floor and giggled as people glared at me in disgust. I didn’t care the floor was dirty, or whatever their issue was, I was wearing clothes and needed to stretch to be some what comfortable.
Only 4+ more hours left of the trip! I watched us leave the mainland as I was reading my book:
I always get a window seat, I knew it would be a pretty boring sight for 5 hours. I did change into warmer weather clothes, since it was about 20 degrees when we left Minnesota, and packed my cold weather clothes into my carry-on. I don’t know what else I did to pass the time, but the final hour of the flight I was watching some sort of ocean creatures as we flew over them,
and then took photos of the islands as we came in for landing.
We were in row 7, or something super close to the door, so I had to quickly put my shoes back on, and make sure all of my things were packed to get off the airplane.
Kona Airport doesn’t have jetways, you have to descend/ascend boarding stairs to/from ground level. Neither boyfriend nor I had thought about this before hand, but since I had just sat for 12 hours between the airports and the airplanes, I was determined to get down those steps on my own, because stretching felt SO GOOD at this point. It took a little bit longer than I wanted, but I made it and was really happy I did it.
As the motto goes, “Let Hawaii Happen.” And so I did.