Friday, June 18, 2010

Dear Son's Make a Wish Trip~Day 7~Last Day!

Saturday, May 22, 2010~Day 7~Leaving Orlando!
Last pic at the villa before leaving for the airport!
At last, our trip was almost over. We had a great week and by now, Dear Son was really beginning to enjoy everything. Checkout time was 11 a.m. and our plane wasn't leaving until after 3 p.m. so we had plenty of time to kill. We stopped by the Gingerbread House for one last breakfast. After that, we checked out and headed over to the lobby.
Dear Son is really enjoying himself here! He seems genuinely happy and it's great to see him smile!

More pics from the lobby...

Dream Mom and Dear Son. I can't believe he's really 18!
After a while, I fed Dear Son lunch in the lobby and then Dad and Dear Son headed over to the ice cream parlor for one final visit. Give Kids the World was great because they notified us earlier in the week that they called and set up someone at security for us at the airport. Griff from Vacation Mobility met us at the airport for the van drop off. What a great rental service for people with disabilities! Unfortunately, once we got to the airport, security was unaware of our escort however they made a few calls and within minutes they had a TSA there to escort us through security. I requested a visual inspection since I was worried about Dear Son's VNS being activated. Supposedly, according to the manufacturer, you are o.k. at the airport however they request that you stay some 10-15 feet away from the scanners. I opted for the visual for him. The airport was totally swamped so Dear Son's visual inspection took quite a while. They were extremely thorough and checked his back, socks, etc. It took around fifteen minutes. I could not believe the great service we got though at both airports. Each time, we were escorted right through security and never waited in any lines. That was really appreciated.
Dear Son at the airport.
Finally, we boarded the plane. As you may recall, Dear Son was pretty scared when the plane started moving around for takeoff however after I explained to him that "men" really like flying and that the pilot was going to step on the gas and go really fast, he loved it. For the return flight, he was really happy once we got on the plane and couldn't wait to take off! You can see him smiling with excitement now!
Here he is smiling as we prepare for take off!

On our way home!


One we arrived at the airport, we had to wait around forty minutes or so for United to get the aisle wheelchair for Dear Son. Another couple had to wait for one as well for their disabled child. United needs a better policy so they can deliver the aisle wheelchairs in a reasonable amount of time. Disabled people shouldn't have to wait until everyone has left the plane and the new staff arriving before getting them a wheelchair. When tickets are ordered, there should be a box on-line for you to check so that they can have the chair available. One of the flight attendants for the next flight recognized Dear Son from our trip to Orlando and decided to give him some "wings". She pinned the wings on his t-shirt. He seemed to enjoy it.From there, it was onto Windy City Limousines. They have executive busses that are handicapped accessible. We were the only passengers both times. The bus was only a week or so old.
Arriving home (O.K. I might have used the departure photo when we left, lol!) Overall, a really great trip. We couldn't have picked a better place for Dear Son's trip. When I asked for suggestions, most of you suggested Give Kids the World at Disney and you were right on the mark. It was so easy for us. Everything was totally accessible. Give Kids went out of their way to do everything they could to make it easy. They set up the TSA at the airport. At Disney, everything we did was accessible and easy. The passes allowed us to go on rides without any wait times. This was especially great for Dear Son since he didn't have a lot of energy and often was exhausted after a few hours. Our wheelchair van was like icing on the cake. It took our trip to a whole different level in terms of making it easier. It wasn't just easy getting around but having the van meant we could leave when it was best for Dear Son and come home when he needed to leave. I know it was certainly Dad's favorite thing since he didn't have to do any lifting. Dear Son is getting to be a pretty big guy at 180 pounds to lift into the car.
After arriving home, Dad made a picture CD and movies for school so Dear Son could show his classmates his trip. His teacher had stated that everyone was so excited to hear about it since a lot of times, not much happens in these kids lives and this time, it was not only big news but good news. The kids loved the movies and one of his classmates was laughing the whole afternoon. They said it was the perfect end of school day.
Now that we've been home a while, we still spend time talking about the trip. Dear Son loves to talk about it and see pictures from the trip. He watches the Barney Show that Dad taped from our trip, on his t.v. He seems to almost enjoy the trip as much now as he did when we took it. It's just a little easier for him now to take everything in because he can enjoy it lying down in his bed or sitting in his chair.
His favorite thing from his trip seems to be the Mickey Mouse they gave him. Each day, GKTW left presents in the room for the kids. The first day was a Mickey Mouse and a large shopping bag full of presents. He continued to get presents every day and there were so many by the end of the week, that we couldn't take them all home. I took the ones that were age appropriate and that I thought he would enjoy and left the toys for able bodied kids there. He smiles every time he sees Mickey Mouse and he sleeps with him every night. Ever since the H1N1 last November, he seems to like these stuffed animals. They seem to provide a sense of security for him. I've never seen him like that before so it's definitely different. As for the Barney pillow, I put that between his ankles to support his legs/feet at night to prevent bedsores. In the last month, the addition of the pillow seems to have helped the swelling in his leg go down.

In the end, we had a great trip and a lot of great memories. Next month, when he goes to summer school, I make a scrapbook of the trip. In the meantime, it helps to pass the time thinking about the good times. Give Kids the World has a policy where any time you are in the area, you can come and spend the day there (providing you have other accomodations). I told Dear Son we might go back next year to visit and he just smiles. It's nice having something to look forward to.

In hindsight, I think this trip would have been more enjoyable for him two years ago, when he could do more and wasn't so exhausted. I say that because if you have a child and have the opportunity to take a trip like this, you should do it while they are well enough to enjoy it. I mentioned this to a friend of mine and she thought that it was the perfect time for Dear Son since this is when he seemed to need it most. After thinking about it some more, I think she is exactly right. Sometimes, we need all need a vacation just to get away and think about something different. In Dear Son's case, I think our timing was perfect. He seems so much happier now and although he's still tired, I can always get a smile by showing him Mickey Mouse, showing him pictures or just plain talking about our trip. And after everything he's been through, I am thrilled he has some great memories.

5 comments:

Jaymie said...

I am thrilled all 3 of you have great memories. Mostly, I have enjoyed all the photos of Dear Son with his parents who obviously love him very much.

You all have been given an amazing gift. I have no doubt that you will share that gift with many others by sharing your experiences.

Thank you for loving Dear Son.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the trip went so well. Seeing all of the smiles from Dear Son in the pictures show how much he loved it. What a joy for all of you and to your readers. Pat

Canucker said...

Dream Mom, thank you for sharing your photos and journal of Dear Son's wish trip with us. It brought back so many good memories for me, when we took a similar trip with Joe. He too enjoyed his week very much and it was so nice to remember those good times. His smile, like Dear Son's, said it all.

Canucker

Michelle said...

my smile is almost as big as his....thanks for letting us all be a part of this trip DM.

Donna said...

I have really enjoyed seeing all the pictures of Dear Son and his trip (and you and Dad too).
Thanks for sharing them.

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