Saturday, 7 June 2014

Packing A Little Extra

It was, and is, supposed to be my day of peace, my calm before the storm. Tomorrow starts with Betty's Run at 9:00 AM, meaning I have to be up at 8:00 AM in order to get there, something that may not seem much to some but is a real challenge to me. After the run I expect to have a few people over at lunch and then, at 3:00 PM, it's off to pick up Cheryl and then to the airport, headed for Toronto. We will arrive at 10:00 PM and finally get to our hotel at around midnight. Monday will be Kate's convocation followed by a picnic on Toronto Island, and then a night flight to London.

Today was meant to be a day of laundry and packing, sitting in the quiet of my apartment getting ready, girding my loins for the battle of Sunday and Monday. It has, however, not quite turned out that way. I had to pick up the T-shirts and runner tags for Team Terrific today, something I thought would take a few minutes, something that did just take a few minutes. Then I was to have lunch with a good friend, catching up and just visiting. In order to do this I was going to get up early, at least early for me, sometime around 10:00 AM. The last few days decided otherwise and it was almost noon before I got going, rushing first to pick up my wallet from Cheryl, who has been kind enough to copy the contents in case it gets lost in our travels, then heading downtown for t-shirts and a terrific lunch.

All of this has meant the real start to my day of peace is just now, at 3:00 PM. Now I get to sit, to write a bit, to have a coffee and start my laundry, followed by my packing. Packing for most is simply a matter of clothes, toiletries, medications and other accessories. For me it includes a list of things not normally seen.

Transfer board - Having the transfer board with me means I need my biggest suitcase regardless of what is in it. The transfer board is just long enough that it will fit. It will be very helpful in the many transfer from chair to taxi and vice versa.

Spare Wheelchair Cushion - Things break when you travel. Having a punctured wheelchair cushion is about as bad as it can get for someone in a chair fulltime. So I am taking a spare, just in case.

FreeWheel and T-Bar Attachment - You might wonder why I don't just attach these to my wheelchair and allow the airline to stow them when they stow the chair. The answer is that these are two separate, loose pieces of metal and wheel, something that could easily get damaged or go missing in the hold of an aircraft. Given their price and utility, it's just safer to pack them in the same large back with my transfer board.

Wheelchair Gloves - Those who spend time with me know that I almost always wear gloves when wheeling about. My hands are in almost constant contact with the wheels of my chair, and those wheels are always in contact with the dirt, dust, mud, grime and grit that is all over the streets, everywhere. If I want anything resembling clean hands, I need these gloves, at least three pairs of them to make up for the one or two which will almost certainly go astray on the trip.

Wheelchair Toolkit - Need I say more? It goes in the suitcase, since it cannot clear security if taken in my wheelchair backpack.

Sleeve Covers - Wheeling in a wheelchair can be a dirty business, making a mess of a nice jacket. I've bought a couple of "cast covers" that I can use to protect my sleeves from the aforementioned dust, dirt, grime and grit.

Urine Jug - This goes everywhere I go. For this trip I have come up with a discreet soft bag to contain it, so as to save the delicate constitutions of those around me, saving them from having to see this part of my daily reality.

I am sure there are other things, things I will forget. I am ready for that moment, halfway between Calgary and Toronto, when I go "Oh shit". It's bound to happen.

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