Wednesday, November 11, 2015

To California, I Went

Me on the red carpet! EEK!
Bet y'all are ready for an update on my trip to California. It was a whirlwind trip, that's for sure.

My preparations for the trip was no less of a minor tornado of activity also. I shopped for some cooler weather clothes, arranged for the animals to be taken care of, and packed. As I was packing, it hit me that my backpack wasn't going to be big enough so I grabbed my Samsonite duffle out of my closet. Everything fit in there perfectly. The only problem was I couldn't find the shoulder strap. I fiddled with it a few times to make sure I could hold it on my shoulder and walk. It would have to do, I thought as I went to bed. I'll make it manage.


Wouldn't you know the morning of my afternoon flight, my raw spot on my AFO clad foot would break open. Yep, an open pressure sore would definitely complicate things. I went to my doctor. He cut away the dead skin and gave me the usual ointment to promote healing, deaden some of the pain, and keep infection at bay. He had standing orders for me to keep off it. I crossed my fingers behind my back as I agreed to comply. There was no way to put off the premiere or the California trip.

This bag and I have traveled the world
I got home in time to grab my purse and my duffle. It all slung on my shoulder beautifully. I put them in my car and headed to the jet port. My airport doesn't have regular long term parking. It's park where you can and it's free. Because of my handicap license plate, I got a spot right by the front door. These are the perks of living in a small town. After I parked, I went to lift my purse and bag onto my shoulder, and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't get it to stay on my shoulder. Of course, I was juggling them as I pushed the button to lock my van. I didn't get the load seated right again after numerous attempts either.

Finally, I said the heck with it and carried the bag, my purse, and my cane sort of half mast on my upper forearm. The downside of being in a small town airport is that there aren't any porters to help you with your bags either. Luckily, two airport security folks saw me struggling and ran for a wheelchair. I started to protest that I could walk, but I looked at the long passageway and thought better of it. Oh boy! I hadn't even left town yet and Murphy's Law had hit me twice.

As we took off, the rain started. Do I need to mention how rough the flight was? The flight had been delayed for an hour and a half. So much for a two-hour layover in Atlanta while waiting for one of the stars of the movie. He had twenty minutes to get across Hartsfield-Jackson airport before we were refueled and ready to take off. Not that we would have left without him. The weather had gone from a light rain shower with a slight bit of turbulence to a heavy downpour with a light show. Four and a half hours later, we arrive in California. I think if we had actually touched the ground, I would have kissed it.

It was 10 PM PT, but all of us were on Eastern time by the time we reached the Hyatt Regency. So for us, it's 2AM. We checked in and they had taken my request for a close room and no stairs seriously. They were even apologetic about the room only having two full sized beds instead of the usual king suite that had been arranged. I think I got the better deal because I had a garden patio room. Great view of the beach and yachts too. I ordered room service and checked out my surrounding while I waited. After chowing down on a Reuben and fresh fruit, I fell into bed totally exhausted. I had a rude awakening about three hours later with my spastic leg. An unmerciless cramp, it ran from my thigh to my big toe. All I could do was beg, plead, roll, and cry until it was over.

I managed to get a few more hours sleep and awoke more tired than rested. I was excited about the premiere and knew there was a long day ahead of me. This is what the day's schedule looked like...
11:45- lunch with the cast and crew
1:00- media briefing
4:30- meet limo in the lobby. It may sound like down time in between, but the media briefing was over at 3:30.
5:00- event check-in. Walk the red carpet, photographs, get your name tag. I was listed as a stroke advocate.
5:30- cocktail party. I was thankful for the heavy hors d' oeuvres. I sampled most of everything from mini sliders to the smoked salmon.
6:00-8:00- the movie- Disconnected screening.
8:00- Q&A
9:30- after party. I have to admit that I'm not a hip partier any more. I asked to be taken back to the hotel at 10:30. Again, it's Eastern time last call (2:30 AM).

I did mange enough time to swing by the hotel gift shop for some souvenirs for my daughters.  The only bad thing was the exhaustion coupled with the limo picking me up for the flight home at 6:00AM. There wasn't time for sightseeing. It was all business. By 9 PM, I was in my own bed sawing logs. Like I said, a whirlwind. I'll have to go back to do all the rest. Maybe one day.
Movie poster

Now  about the movie...

The Blurb -
In this first-ever documentary on PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA), award-wining documentarians Doug Blush and Lisa Klein will take you on a revealing journey as they follow the triumphs and challenges of people with certain neurological conditions or brain injuries living with this little-known condition.

DISCONNECTED is both an emotional and uplifting film about fate’s unexpected path and how these families support one another in an unsteady journey of both laughter and tears.

Release Date- 2016
The Trailer...



The man in the first part of this trailer is Scott Lotan. I first saw him on YouTube (the clip of him laughing) when I was first diagnosed and doing research on it. I had the pleasure of flying with him and his significant other Mindy on the way to California and back again. A more down to earth soul as I'll ever meet. We are kindred spirits.

Unlike most in the film, I both laugh and cry with my episodes. I have no real control when it happens or know why it happens other than my damaged brain. For once since my stroke, I felt comfortable around a group of people. It didn't matter that I was paralyzed or couldn't totally control my emotions because they were like me and totally understood. We all had our little episodes and went on. I feel like I've made friends for life. I honestly feel honored by just being included with this fabulous group of men and women.

What I loved about California is no bugs! No mosquitoes or gnats! I didn't get bit once until I got back home.

It's like I keep saying...
You are not alone!

5 comments:

Crystal Collier said...

What an adventure!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jo - well done and I'm so pleased you got there. Fascinating story line ... and interesting film clip ... my mother couldn't cry - thankfully she could laugh and smile ... so we were lucky. I've learnt so much from her illness and subsequent death. Congratulations - Hilary

Zan Marie said...

Fabulous! I love it, Jo! And I've added this condition to my WIP with a TBI sufferer. :-D
{{{{hugs}}} for the whirlwind trip!

Rebecca Dutton said...

Sounds like a thrilling and challenging adventure. I never feel guilty about calling the airline I am using to reserve a wheelchair - too far to walk and too much standing in lines.

Diane said...

You never cease to amaze me, Jo! So glad you got to go on this trip and wow, what celebrity treatment!