17 October 2010
So we left in a smart limousine, provided by Emirates, just after 5.00 p.m., and, despite the usual roadworks on the M25, arrived at Heathrow in record time. It took a little longer than usual to unload the car and transfer into a wheelchair but once that was accomplished we swept through all the usual checkpoints, gate crashing long queues weary travellers, like royalty, and we found ourselves in business class lounge with around 2 Â½. hours to spare. No problem. I’d much rather that way around than panicking about missing our flight.
The time when quickly enough and, before we knew it, we were being loaded on the â€˜ plane,. and I do mean loaded! I was manhandled out of the main wheelchair and plonked into a narrower one that could negotiate the aisle between the seats, before being bodily transfer from that to the seat where I was destined to spend the next eight hours. The plane was 777 but fitted with the latest business class seats — very smart and reasonably comfortable.
It Â now being around 11.30 a.m,. I just had a large glass of champagne and a light snack and then settled down to try to get some sleep. I had been apprehensive about my breathing before this adventure started, but by keeping the seatÂ at around 45Â° I had no discomfort but I am not sure how much sleep I managed to get. Nevertheless the journey went fairly quickly and before we knew it Â we were landing at Dubai.
For those readers who think that this blog is all about jet setting sybarites I make no apology for dealing with the more mundane problems that face the disabled in flying. In particular, the lavatorial ones. Once seated what you do for the next eight hours or so. Having worn kilt, ease of access, over some incontinence pants which incorporated a a small plastic pouch, under the cover of a blanket, Michael was able to attach any leg bag which overcame that particular problem and worked extremely well. As to the other end Michael had given me Codeine the night before and the following morning in order to inhibit a bowel movement as accessing the small airliner lavatory would have been absolutely impossible for me…
In the meantime Mick had been checking our itinerary and discovered that we had only 20 minutes to make our connection to Bangkok. To add to our anxiety we had to wait until the very end, until the last person to have left the aircraft, before they were able to bring on the special wheelchair and go through the whole process of transferring once again. However, very generously or, due to Emirates excellent planning, they seem to know we were on our way and within 20 minutes or so we were seated once more in another 777 but this one with the older style seats, more like armchairs and slightly wider than the modern ones. This did not matter very much as it was now a â€˜ daytimeâ€™ flight and neither of us had much intention of trying to sleep. I watched a couple of videos and then napped for a little while before the six-hour journey to our destination.
Our taxi driver was as reliable as ever and met us at the Meeting Phoint at Bangkok airport however, at the very moment we were about to leave for the car park I suddenly remembered that the walking frame was missing and poor Michael had to go all the way back into the baggage area to retrieve it. The problem apparently was being a long article it appeared on a different carousel to the main baggage. Despite this unscheduled delay we were on our way within an hour or so of landing and arrived at the Anantara Resort just before 11 o’clock. Michael, characteristically unselfishly Â dealt with me first, unpacking what was necessary to get into bed, before attending to his own needs. I was asleep long before he actually got his head down, smugly pleased that this part of the exercise had been achieved seamlessly.