Intellectually I know there isn't. But I had myself fooled--for a little bit anyway.
We recently made the trek back East to celebrate my Grandmother's 90th birthday. Flying from a small mountain town in Colorado always presents travel challenges, but I generally like to look at them as adventures. And it truly drives me nuts when people complain about travel--roll with it or stay at home. Well usually. There was one time last fall when I missed the last flight home, had horrible allergies and a work deadline and burst into tears at the customer service desk. While I'm not proud of it, that tearful, snot-filled episode did net me a free ticket, two meal vouchers and a hotel.
Back to Grandmom's 90th. We were flying on the first flight of the day to Denver, so we could catch our next flight. I was risking it by booking tickets with less than an hour between connections, but really didn't care to hang out in the airport any longer than necessary. That was fine until our flight was delayed and delayed and delayed. Finally the girls looked at me and asked if we would make our next flight.
Barely. We disembarked at 8:21 and our next flight, which was 50 gates away, took off at 8:35. In a less than proud mothering moment, I took all of our carry-on bags and told the girls to run like hell to our gate. Whoever made it first was to tell them we were coming. I lost one child 35 gates in and the next 45 gates in and made it to our gate just as they were closing the doors. The gate attendant was kind enough to hold the door open for 60 seconds so I could collect my children. Once we all made it to the gate, the girls were stripping clothes and the kindly attendant was picking them up and forcing us through the door, "for an on time departure." This is relevant only because we were really coughing, I mean serious lung aching hacking, by the time we got on the plane.
The next day, we did a family fun run--so I'm sounding just a bit like Mommy Dearest--and my youngest continued coughing. Her cough worsened over the course of our trip, and I was worried I had caused her to stress or damage her lungs. She didn't have a fever, so I let her rest (as if in this family!) and loaded her up on fluids, cough drops and honey.
I broke out in a cold sweat when it was time for the return flight. I realized I was in an airport with a child who could not stop coughing and chances were slim they would let us on the plane. She held it together through security and then we bee lined it to the store to buy all the medicine available in the airport. The sales lady even took pity and gave us a free sample of cough syrup. I opted not to use it, but my poor child had more medicine that day than she's had in the past year. And it didn't help.
Sure enough, when we went to board, she started coughing and we were pulled aside.
"Is your child sick?"
Here comes the lie, but in my defense I honestly thought she had stressed her lungs.
"No, she has weak lungs and the humid air combined with jet fuel fumes are making her cough. So we really need to make it home."
After a pause, "Fine, but we need to arrange a mandatory wheelchair transport in Denver, just to be safe."
As both girls stood there with their chins on the floor, I said that would be just great.
Long story a bit shorter, we made if to Denver, by-passed the wheelchair because it was just a wheelchair and not one of the fun carts and made it home. I took T. to the doctor the next day to assess the damage I'd caused. After oxygen level tests, deep breathing and lung capacity tests it was determined that she had.....a cold. Hmm, that possibility never occurred to me.
It appears I was telling more lies than I realized, and I apologize profusely to everyone who traveled with us. I should probably feel a tinge guilt, but I don't. My daughter just had a cold, and I got to sleep in my own bed. I guess it's all part of the travel adventure.
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