We got up and went to the airport yesterday like we have done many times with Sonzee in tow. We even managed to get there early (yes, even we are capable of doing that on occasion- we just try not to make a habit of it). We got through security in our usual amount of time with the typical pat-down and analysis of all the supplies we bring for her. TSA at Phoenix Sky Harbor is always amazing to deal with and we never have any problems, things just take time. The truth is, no matter how prepared we are, how accommodating everyone is, or how smoothly the process goes, traeveling with a medically complex child is still extremely hard.
Yesterday was the first time we flew with Sonzee in her convertible carseat, in the past she has been in the infant carseat, so of course, there will be a new learning curve. We were the third in line for preboarding (Sam and the kids came with us) and we were the reason the plane was four minutes late departing. I will let that sink in with you for a bit. It took us the entire time of the boarding process to get her carseat installed correctly and we ended up having to forward face her because the distance between the seats would not allow for the proper recline with her seat facing rear. Yes, Sonzee's one famous skill is her head/neck control, but it is nowhere near what a typical two year old's ability is or should be. No matter the various supports I tried, her poor neck was flopping forward. This was not ideal.
When we finally got her situated, the plane pulled back from the gate. During the chaos of boarding, the pilot (who actually helped carry our bags onto the plane) placed Sonzee's medical bag in the overhead bin while we organized to make things easier and I never had a chance to grab her VNS magnets in all the chaos. Naturally, it made sense that during our exact pull back from the gate she would have a seizure and her magnets would be out of my reach. Again, thankful for being with amazing care, we pressed the call button and the flight attendant more than happily grabbed her magnets and checked up on us multiple times within the 6 minutes it took for us to get to the runway to ask if we were okay to take off.
Thank G-d for the amazing staff at Southwest who never once said anything negative, did anything to insinuate we had to rush and were overwhelmingly supportive during our entire experience. Like I mentioned previously, this all helps, but the fact is this traveling gig is not what pleasant dreams are made of. We have medical bags complete with essentially a portable hospital; a pulse oximeter, portable oxygen concentrator, feeding pump and supplies, medications and supplemental supplies that go along with her VNS, not to mention the various other supplies that come with having a toddler who is essentially still a baby.
I guess I had not really considered that traveling on a plane as she got older would be significantly more challenging. Even with her being in the 2% for weight and height I didn't even bother changing her in the small little fold out table in the bathroom because she is too long. I think the reality is setting in that we are no longer traveling with a baby, we are traveling with a child who has special needs.
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