You all know how the Bennetts roll by now...no sense in doing anything the easy way when we can do it the MUCH MUCH harder way! So, for Bodie's very first plane ride, why would we mess around with a short little flight to see how he handles it...when we can fly ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE FLIPPIN' COUNTRY?!?!? Yup, that's what we did on Tuesday - we got up bright and early to be at the airport at 6am for an 8am flight. I thought it was a little bit overkill to be there so early...until I realized that we were traveling with a toddler with a pacemaker. Oh.my.goodness. I knew it might be a little tricky, but I truly had no idea. I felt SO BAD for the poor people in line behind us.
First of all, we had 7 bins of stuff. Yes, 7. And a carseat. And a booster. And a stroller I had to fold up. And I had a computer that had to be separate. And we had to put Bodie's meds and Pediasure in its own bin. Then I told them Bodie had a pacemaker. The thing is, people with pacemakers and ICD's can't go through anything with a magnetic field as it screws with the pacemaker settings and/or does extreme damage to both the pacemaker and the individual - I won't horrify you with the details).
Anyway, that's all fine and dandy because they have a different type of non-magnetic screening you can do with people who have pacemakers. GREAT! Except that you have to go by yourself into a box and stand still with your hands up over your head. Yeah.Right. Not happening. So the TSA screener had to call in her boss's boss to come and look at Bodie and talk to us, and approve an alternate method of screening him. He ultimately approved some sort of scan where they ran a fiber of some sort over Bodie's hands and then run it through a machine to pick up traces of residue. Thankfully (and obviously), his came back clear and they let us go. The upside is, after all that, they didn't even bother looking at his meds or the Pediasure we brought! Yay! All in all, security could have gone much much worse (thank God we had a very nice screener!), but it was fairly eye opening for me!
The flights itself went great! They weren't perfect (I imagine flying is always stressful with kiddos, particularly medically fragile ones), but much better than I had imagined! Sierra did great. She got to sit with my mom in the row ahead of Bodie and I. Did I mention my mom, my amazing (possibly a glutton for punishment) mom came along with us, since I didn't even want to attempt this flight by myself?
Sierra was such an angel. She watched movies, colored, and slept against Gigi...
And, ok, I'm not gonna lie. She was a little bit of a pack mule for us. Not sure if you can tell, but in this pic, she's wearing her backpack (with kids' toys and blankets for the flights), pulling her suitcase and pushing the stroller, with Bodie in front and the carseat and booster in back. (No, we didn't make her do this the whole time, but it was so cute when she tried that we had to snap a pic!)
Bodie pretty much thought it was the greatest thing ever. Let's just say that I have NEVER, and I mean NEVER seen a kid get so excited about something. He was chanting "go, go, go! Mama, I'm ready!" while we were taxi-ing, and then squealing at the top of his lungs during take-off. Everyone kept commenting on how cute he was...and that cuteness lasted approximately 30 minutes...until he realized he had to stay in his seat. We spent the rest of the time walking the aisles, getting to know everyone on the plane, hugging a baby and pointing out some guy who had the "same shoes as Dada!!!" We also took many trips to the lavatory (during our first trip, I heard a dinging noise a few times and thought "huh, the captain must be turning on the fasten seatbelt sign. We should hurry up"...and then I realized that Bodie had pressed the Attendant Call button - that was fun, explaining that one). We also watched lots of movies...
And LOVED getting to ride the skylink tram at DFW.
Cardiac wise, Bodie did great. I hauled our big, huge hospital grade pulse-ox on board with us...and never even turned it on! I spot-checked him with our little handheld fingertip pulse ox twice on each flight and both times he was high 70's to mid 80's in flight and high 80's on descent. For my non-heart mamas, just know that is GREAT for Bodie man!
After a VERY long day of flying, we got to Charleston - and picked up our rental car (which was upgraded to a Minivan - Oh my word, I am LOVING it - you Minivan moms are right - these things are amazing!!!) and beat feet to town. We checked into our hotel and were ready to go! Well, everyone except Bodie...
And our big excitement - riding the TROLLEY!!!!
As an aside, this pic was taken approximately 10 minutes before we realized we had gotten on the wrong trolley, and ended up having to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere and walk blocks (in deep South heat and humidity, which, let me tell you, is some serious stuff!) until, no joke, like a mirage in the desert, we saw the glowing red heart and realized we had happened upon the MUSC Ronald McDonald House!!! Having spent some time in the LA Ronald McDonald House after Bodie's Norwood, I knew someone there could help us! We wandered around until we found someone still working there who was able to call us a cab and we were finally on our way to dinner!
The kiddos expressing their gratitude to Ronald McDonald (and any of my heart families who happen upon the Charleston Ronald McDonald House, please say hi to Rachel for us (the House Manager) - she was an absolute Godsend to us!!!)
So far, this trip is amazing. So much more to do! Today, we spent time swimming and meeting another heart family (more about that tomorrow, but have to post one preview pic from our get together - Sierra and Derrick, 3, with complex CHD's like Bodie - ever since I first started following Derrick's blog, I have said we needed to do an arranged marriage with him and Sierra - clearly, they're in agreement! SO SO cute!!!)
And still to come? Our whole reason for coming to Charleston?!? Vacation with Sierra's BFF (and her mom, who also happens to be my BFF)! Sierra and Sofia, here we come! :-)