Another malaria pill dream for you.
We have made a flight home, but on the way Alynne worsens to the point of being unconscious. Lee and I find a diabetic on the plane with an insulin needle (clean of course) we can use to make IV access with a 30g needle. We are able to have the flight attendant boil some water, adding a pinch of salt to make 0.9%NaCl for our emergency IV. We fashion a bag and tubing out of an oxygen mask delivery device to be used in the event of cabin depressurization and pressure infuse her to save her from diagnosed botulism.
…..end dream sequence.
After being unable to slow the freight train of this sickness all night, we are well motivated to get our tickets changed. Each call we make to a phone number listed as an Ethiopian airlines customer service or agent number rings into customer service purgatory.
Looking at the clock, knowing this airline only flies out on Monday, Wednesday or Friday at 1:15pm, we again try and make ourselves presentable and pour ourselves into a cab and head to their main office downtown. They have moved. Good thing we took a page from a Hollywood script and asked the cab driver to wait for us and then say, “To the Golden Peacock Centre! And there is some extra Kwacha in it for you if you step on it!”
We putt putted through the traffic to arrive at the head office. In our observations of same, there wasn’t a single desk there with a telephone. Weird.
Either way, the lady at the desk is not only helpful, she was capable of handling the mission we presented to her. 20 minutes later, and $275 each, we were back in the cab hightailing it for the hotel. The clock is ticking! We went straight to the room, packed up what we had taken out the night before, threw the bags into his little Toyota and peeled out of the parking lot for the airport.
The amazing race contestants have nothing on us!! We arrived at the airport checkin with 8 minutes to spare.
We checked in with little fuss, grabbed a coke and began the return home leg.
Arriving in Addis airport, I have been able to make contact with my family dr and have been advised we should start the anti-parasitic medication I also put in my arsenal. She is from South Africa and well versed in the trials of travel here and my visit with her before coming has proved to be a smart one.
We only have about 40 minutes in the general area of the airport before needing to go through security, so there are many of you who will only be getting this blog as your souvenir. Sorry. Priorities.
I now enter the hell of security that is the Addis Airport. Again. Pacemaker Gate two. This one has a henchman that is unyielding when I have no papers to present to verify my need for alternate security measures because of my implant. He has two other security officers trying my case, but he thinks that the bully technique is the best one to try with me. Not a good choice my friend. Not a good choice.
I realize I am in a third world country where my rights are not the same as in Canada, and the possibility of jail is real if I don’t acquiesce and cause a scene…but when he says either go through, or don’t get on the plane something inside me snaps. Is it sheer self preservation? Is it due to fatigue and feeling unwell for many days? Is it watching too many TV shows and movies that seem to give me confidence in the law etc where I form the position that they legally cannot force me to if I request a manual pat down?!?!
I challenge the henchman in front of the crowd, because a) I want witnesses b) my choice is risk personal injury due to my device resetting or shocking me as a result of going through, or get left behind in a country that I must now find a way to leave without using this airport in a continent where other risks to my well being are real doesn’t seem like a good option either.
I ask what would happen if I had such paperwork from my Doctor? Would I get my manual pat down? No answer.
I say that if it is an issue of not having a female available, I would be happy to let a man do it. Not an option as he looks at me with disgust. That is not done here.
I show him my medic alert bracelet that identifies my device and condition. Stonewalled.
I resort to exposing my chest and showing him the scar and offering him a feel of it. You’d think I had lit his eyes on fire with a welding torch at the sight of my flesh. He recoiled and walked away. One of his henchmen came over and asked to see my bracelet and if I would be patient enough to wait. I said yes, and offered to show him my chest with a feel if he wanted to verify the device.
He blushed and said it would not be necessary.
On the other side, Lee and Alynne could only stand there watching and pleading with the henchman with offers of explanation.
Probably 20 minutes later, either the medic alert bracelet, my offer to strip in front of all the other passengers or the fact the law was in fact on my side, the henchman relented. He didn’t have the stones to come to me in person though, he sent over the blushing man to arrange for a manual pat down from a female officer and I was on my way. I debated quickly if I wanted to thank the henchman, suck up, or just walk away. In the interest if catching the flight that was being checked in as I spoke, I thought it was best to leave him with whatever misguided sense of power or masculinity he thought he had left with him, and instead thank the blushing man for his successful advocation. Best just to get the hell out. So I boarded and never looked back.
As I walked down the aisle of the plane, 16 rows in, a whole row of women’s faces lit up and shrieked …”It’s you!” I thought perhaps they were referring to Pacemaker Gate minutes before. When I looked quizzically at them, one shouted, “You were in Addis dancing with the band at the Yod Abyssinia Restaurant last week, weren’t you?” We all had a good laugh and the flight attendant remarked I had my fans with me on the flight! It was a nice moment of levity in a period of recent stress which was much needed. I didn’t have a solid plan C of how to handle my homecoming if the security situation had gone sour. It all worked out though, and I am sure while it would have added even more to the adventure, I could have handled that too. I just didn’t want to have to.
Here I sit typing now, 12 hours into a 16 hour flight of this leg of the journey. My companions are sleeping, my pants are open as I cannot close them comfortably due to the war going on in my belly, and I type.
I will say goodbye for now, and type my final thoughts on this trip on the leg from Toronto to Calgary, and potentially an epilogue in the days to follow once I am back home and sorted out.
Time for breakfast……oh goodie.