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Doctor Blog--Travel Comedy

Posted Jul 07 2008 7:12pm

I recently took a trip from Texas to California for Continuing Medical Education.  It was

intended to be a quick in-and-out sort of affair.  To follow is the comedy it actually was--

and I mean "comedy".  Please read to the end as you will miss the best part if you don't.

Thursday afternoon: 

Finished a mass of paperwork getting ready for travel.  Saw a full load in morning clinic.

Ran home to pack at 1PM.  It is now raining and cold (in the 40's).

Drove to the airport.  Parked in Long Term Parking.  It is raining, cold and windy.  I'm

close enough to the airport I can walk.  I pull out my 2 pieces of luggage and one purse

(big) and open my umbrella.  The umbrella immediately catches the wind and flips

upside down.  I struggle and after 10 minutes of walking, I arrive, wet, cold, and

forelorn to the airport terminal.

I get to the airline counter and meet with the word "Cancelled" on all outgoing

flights for the day. 

It is Spring Break travel weekend and all flights from Thursday thru Sunday are full.

They can get me out from Dallas (connecting city) Friday afternoon which would put

me in California at 11PM missing half of the conference.  I would have to drive to Dallas.

I arrange for a flight with a different airline that allows me to attend the lectures on

Friday but it leaves from Austin.  I arrange for a friend to ride with me and drive the

car back to its original destination so that my car is at home.

Friday morning I am up at 5 AM and, without my glasses, it appears there is some

haziness in the air.  I put my glasses on.  It is snowing.  I cannot get thru to the

alternate airline because their lines are jammed with callers.  After an hour of

trying, I get through--flights are on time.  My 2 hour drive to Austin will not be

in vain.

I get to California without incident.

I attend the conference without incident.

                                    From the airplane

Sunday PM, I am dropped off curbside by a friend in California.  I attempt curbside check-in.

"I can't check you in ma'am.  There is a delay in the flight and you might miss your

connecting flight.  You'll have to check in at the main counter."

At the main counter,  the attendant confirms there is in fact a delay--only 5 minutes

to catch the connecting flight.  It is not possible.  I call my husband and ask if

he would pick me up in Dallas rather than having to stay overnight and chancing

a problem coming home in time for Monday morning clinic.

I get to the gate and encounter a distinguished elderly gentleman wearing a leather

jacket with snake skin shoes, holding a cane.  He has obviously had a stroke having an

obvious loss of function of the right arm and leg.  He is limping heavily but is proud and

determined to walk using the cane--he will not accept a wheelchair.  I am

immediately aware that someone on the flight has a medical problem and might

need attention at some point.

The flight is delayed one hour longer because the third flight attendant is not there

and has been dispatched from another airport to cover our flight and is caught in

traffic--they realized she was not there as the first passenger started down the

boarding tunnel.  Now, we will be leaving 2 hours past the original flight time. 

We finally board the flight.  All goes smoothly until the pilot advises passengers that

for the next hour we will need to remain seated as storms are moving into the

Dallas area and a bumpy ride is likely.

We land without incident.  As I leave the plane (one of the last to leave as I was

seated towards the back of the plane), I encounter the gentleman who has had

a stroke, struggling up the exit ramp still declining wheelchair assistance.  He is

breathing hard. 

I inquire as to how he is doing.  "Fine but I need a bathroom!"  I offer advice as

I am familiar with the airport in Dallas and he is not.  We go our separate ways.

I call my husband who tells me he is still at least one hour away since he is

caught in traffic because of the rain.  I will do some work I have brought along

while I wait for him to arrive.

I find some airport food (haven't eaten in several hours and it is close to midnight).


I head to baggage claim.  The nice gentleman is there.  He has found his son.  They

collect his luggage.  I am waiting for the other passengers to clear out since I am

in no particular rush to get my luggage.

The nice gentleman comes over, introduces his son and sends him off to get the

car.  He then proceeds tohit on me.  I guess he has not noticed the ring on my left

finger or has chosen to ignore it.

I am tired and totally unprepared for a romantic advance from a total stranger.

My interest had been purely medical............Surreal.  I compose myself.

"I am married, sir.  Thank you for your kind offer but I am not interested."

I collect my own luggage and settle down to eat my airport food and do some


My husband calls.  He has arrived at the airport.  He is circling the terminal where

we landed.  I don't see him. He circles again.  I don't see him.

He calls.  "Don't you see me?" he asks.  No cars in sight.  I am now standing

outside under an overhang.  It is raining, windy, and cold with my luggage in tow.

I take a deep breath and look up seeking inspiration for the moment.  I realize

that even though the flight attendant had announced that our arrival was to

be at Terminal D, there must have been a last second change.  I am standing in

Terminal A.  My husband is circling Terminal D.

After an apologetic phone call to him, I see the familiar car and my poor husband

with hair standing straight up and eyes bugged out.  It has taken him 3 1/2 hours

to make a 1 1/2 hour trip.

So ends the travel comedy.  I am sure someone got a good laugh out of it.

No bitterness here you understand.  


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