Month: November 2016

Surgery 5 at The Land of HOz – The Story Part 27

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It was another cold blistering day. 4 a.m.  I peeked out the window and saw the world covered in frost, but was glad to see the roads not covered in snow or ice.  I slid off the bed only half awake without the assistance of an alarm to wake me up. I tugged on Amanda’s arm to wake her up to get ready. Amanda normally takes a half-hour to get out of bed, but today she knew she had to get ready right away.

I put on loose clothing. Some heavy wool sleep pants, shoes, t-shirt, no matter how cold, I always wore a t-shirt, and my watch. I looked down to confirm the date and it blinked through the dark room 1/6/15.

The holidays were over, the trip to Disney behind us, it was time to get down to business once again.  It reminded me of being at work. Come January the decorations were gone, the festivities were done and all that was remaining was working on our budget and business plan for the year. Though this business was different, this business was to get myself walking again.

Normally, I would never be starving at 4 am, but knowing I could not eat magnified the affect of hunger.  Amanda was in the kitchen eating a little bite before we left and my nose was pressed against the cold glass of our window waiting to see the headlights of my dad’s SUV.

This was the most serious of all the surgeries, and my parents wanted to accompany Amanda and me. The surgery was scheduled for 8:30 a.m., the second one of the day. We were told to be there an hour and half early, and with a 2 hour drive we had to leave a little before 5 a.m.

Fifteen minutes before 5, I saw the lights break through the darkness of the morning and turn down my driveway.  It was show time. I gathered my belongings to spend overnight at the hospital. Amanda gathered her electronics and we walked out the door. Immediately as the door opened, the blistering cold swept down my winter jacket, through my wool pants, and around my right ankle. The pain from just the wind was almost paralyzing. Quickly as one can with a bad leg, I made it through the cold wintry air and hopped into the back seat. The doors closed, and with the cabin of the car already heated, my dad backed up and headed down the road towards the highway with all of us in it.

It was early and not much was said besides hello. They knew not to ask me any questions.  I was tired and though just a little worried I did not want to talk about it. It was scheduled to be a two-hour surgery and I had to spend the night. Amanda was staying with me and my parents were going to come back down to get me when I was ready to leave. I had no choice.  The doctor stated the nurses would have to control my pain for at least a day before I was let go. Knowing I had to spend another night in the hospital put me in the mood of not wanting to talk.

As we were driving down 83 South, the darkness of the day was broken by the first rays of sunlight. We were about an hour into our trip when my cell phone rang. It was Johns Hopkins.  My stomach hit the floor. Were they calling to reschedule to a different day, were they calling to tell me they were going to be hours behind, was I going to be sitting in the waiting room waiting longer than expected? As the thoughts filled my head the phone rang for the third time.

I was brought back to reality when Amanda hit my arm, and I quickly answered the phone. “Hello?”

“Hello. Mr. Donnangelo?”


“This is Johns Hopkins. You are scheduled for surgery today and there has been a cancellation. We wanted to move you up to first surgery. Can you be here any sooner?”

Feeling relieved to know I was not going to have to wait longer, I responded, “Umm. We live two hours away, but we’re only 45 minutes away from the hospital now.   I can be there as quickly as possible.”

“That will be great, we will see you soon. Thank you.”

I told my dad the news of being moved up the schedule and I swore I heard the rumbling of the engine get a little louder.

It did not take 45 minutes to get there. We were there within 30.  Greeted by a concierge with a wheel chair at the front entrance, I slipped into it and Amanda exited the car, leaving my dad to park it.

In the wheel chair, I was wheeled up the hall way, down a corridor, and then into the elevator to the floor we needed. I am not sure what floor we were on, the main hospital was so big. But as Amanda turned the corner with my chair, I heard a doctor standing by a bigger than life scheduling chart asking, “Has anyone heard from Mr. Donnan..Donnange..” My name was always hard to pronounce. Amanda wheeled me right behind him and I stated, “I’m here”.  He turned around and exclaimed, “Great, let’s go.”

A nurse took over the chair and I was wheeled back to the prep room. They told Amanda they will get her when I was ready and my parents as well. Amanda wished me luck and stated she was off to find my parents. A kiss later, I was turned around and wheeled back to the prep room.

The prep room was déjà vu. In and out came personnel asking questions and telling me what to expect. They went over the procedure I was having.  They had me sign waivers upon waivers.  An anesthesiologist then came into my room after many others left. She was very pleasant.  She asked me what I hated about surgery the most. I knew immediately what it was. I told her how I hated feeling groggy after the surgery due to anesthesia.  She stated that they did that so the patient will feel less pain. I told her since I was receiving nerve blocks that will last 24 hours, that I will not be feeling pain anyway. She looked at me, thought for a second, and agreed. She stated since I had a nerve block and I was staying overnight she would give me a medicine with which I would wake up and be aware immediately. I was overjoyed hearing the news.

After she left, the Wizard came in – Dr. Ficke, one of the best doctors this world has to offer, in my opinion. He thanked me for getting here early and stated he wanted to get my family together to go over the surgery all at once. The family gathered in my room and he noticed that my mom was very worried. He spoke slowly and kindly and in words my parents could understand. He stated the procedure was going to be two hours long. He stated that if the procedure went 100% according to plan,  I would be expected to recover only 60%. My mom kept her questions to a minimum and he answered them in kind. After five to ten minutes, he stated it was time to start the surgery.

Everyone piled out of the room. In an instant, I was surrounded by doctors and nurses. Once again I asked them not to tell me when I was going to be put out, and as I headed towards the magical surgery room of HOz where all is cured, I literally broke out in a loud song. I blame it on pre-surgery drugs, but I am not sure if they had given them to me yet. As I was wheeled to my next destination, I burst into song with a chorus of: “HAAAA HAA HAA HOOO HOO HOO All the day long that is how we do surgery in the wonderful land of HOz. A cut, cut here and a cut, cut there, everywhere we cut that is how we do surgery in the Merry old Land of HOz.” I am sure it was at that time, they put me out, because I remember nothing after that…

Two hours.  It would be about 11 am, when I woke up. As promised, after the surgery was over and I was put into recovery, my head came right off the pillow. I did not feel groggy.  I looked up at the clock on the wall.  6 p.m.  I was so confused. Was it really 6 p.m.?  It couldn’t have been. It just couldn’t. I came in at 8 a.m.  The nurse saw I was awake and came over.  “How do you feel?” I said fine, I told her I couldn’t feel my leg, but I knew it was from the nerve block. She agreed and stated, “Yeah, that will last 24 hours and we will make sure we control your pain after that”.  I said, “OK.  I am tired.” She said I would be and I would probably go back to sleep soon. Then I asked, “How can it be 6 p.m.?” She said the surgery took almost 8 hours.  I replied, “But it was supposed to be 2”.  She said yes, but some things needed to be done and it took some time. I then asked if my parents and Amanda were still here and had they waited all that time? She looked at me, smiling, as she said yes, and assured me they were on their way to see me.

Just as she said, my parents and Amanda entered the room as she left.  My dad said it took a long time, because the doctor wanted to get it right. I asked, “Well what about all the surgeries after mine?” Dad stated he assumed they had to reschedule them. I felt bad immediately.  I couldn’t imagine how those people felt, waiting in the room to be called back and then finding out they needed to be rescheduled. I felt awful about it.  Amanda stated not to worry about it now. My parents, seeing I was OK, stated they were going to go home and rest and would come back down whenever I was ready. I gave them a hug, and they left.  Amanda sat on the chair beside me and I was starting to feel drowsy again. I told Amanda to hand me my phone.  I made one phone call that day and it was to my district manager, my great friend, the gentleman who gifted me with a Mickey Christmas sock, Mr. Brad. I spoke to him a few seconds and handed the phone to Amanda while he was still on it. I heard her explain the procedure to him and was told there were pictures that in the near future I refused to look at. As she was hanging up with him, I once again hung up on reality. The darkness of sleep overcame me and I was out.

A few hours later I found myself in bigger room. There was a bed to my left in which Amanda was sleeping.  My first thought was how much better that was than the uncomfortable chair they gave her following the last surgery at Penn State. I still couldn’t feel my leg, and by the darkness from the windows, it had to be the middle of the night.

I called for the nurse and asked for a drink.  After performing some tests she gave me some water and asked how I felt.  I told her I was still tired and going back to sleep. Before I did I noticed a sign stating TV was ten dollars a day. I laughed and thought; they give you a better bed for your friend, but charge you for TV. I think not. With that thought, I fell asleep again. I stayed asleep the whole night.  I do not remember any nurses coming in to check on me, disturbing my sleep like they did at Penn State. I was happy I did not feel pain, and I was happy I could rest.

As I woke the next day, I immediately wanted to go home. Amanda said she rested pretty well and asked if I felt pain. I told her no, but it was probably the drugs they were giving me.   I told her my toes were starting to tingle as the nerve block was wearing off.

As the nurses came in to verify I was OK, they started to send in multiple doctors to make sure I was in good condition before I was discharged. A physical therapist came in, and I sent her on her way after she helped to the rest room.  She earned a $300 charge on my medical bill for that.  I do not remember seeing Dr. Ficke after the surgery, but Amanda assured me I did and that he said it was a success. He stated the reason the surgery took so long, was that he wanted to get an exact fit from the donor cartilage and bone and it took a lot longer than he expected. I was honored he took that much time for me, he truly was a Wizard.

We called my parents to come pick me up, knowing that their two-hour drive would take as long as the discharge process. I put my woolly pants back on and was wheeled down to the car. My dad fitted his SUV in the back with pillows and blankets, so I could lie down and be comfortable.

After being loaded up, we said our thank yous and goodbyes to the staff, thanking them for their kindness.  As the door closed we were on our way. My mom started to ask questions, but could see I was already out.

I don’t remember how I made it through the doorway and up the stairs when we got home.  I was told I managed to crutch to the door.  I crawled up the steps – dragging my leg behind, and rounded the corner of the living room.  Hauling myself onto my chair, I sank into its pillows once again.


Dr. Ficke really did everything above and beyond his call of duty.  The staff at Johns Hopkins was very nice, polite, and helpful.  Overall, I could not have asked for a better surgery at the time…  

A picture taken right after surgery.  I finally felt like I was cured and after years and years of surgeries it was over…

Christmas With A Mouse Part 2 – The Story Part 26

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Finally, we landed and still had twenty-minute ride on the bus to the resort interrupted by drop-offs at other resort locations before ours, and we had to check in at our resort and pick up my scooter, with only an hour and half remaining before show time to see Cirque du Soleil. If the plane would have been on time we would have had four and half hours before show time when we landed.

When we arrived at the Animal Kingdom Resort, the view was astonishing. A large Christmas tree towered in the center of the room and every pole and banister was decorated with garlands and lights. I was truly amazed and taken aback by all the festive decorations and just the size of the lobby. I felt immediately pleased we upgraded to this resort, and the disaster of our flight was slowly forgotten as I looked around.  However, we had no time to take in all of the sights or even go to our room. Amanda ran to check us in and I slowly walked towards the bell check-in.  Thoughts of not having my scooter ready had me in a panic, but as soon as I was greeted with a smile from the bell hop I could see about five red scooters lined up in the back.

The bell hop processed my reservation with Buena Vista Mobility Rentals, and brought my scooter to me. I thanked him but waved him off, telling him I was already familiar with the controls.  I slowly turned around in it and headed towards Amanda at the front desk.

Luckily she was finishing up at the same time.  We quickly headed back outside to the left and down the walkway to catch the bus to Downtown Disney. We had about forty minutes to get there. The first disaster in Florida on our vacation almost took place immediately.  When I saw the bus we needed was approaching, I pressed the control lever down to full power to catch up to the bus. The scooter took off like a rocket down the walkway. I passed everyone walking by and thank goodness there was a direct line of sight to the bus with no one blocking. As I reached the bus before Amanda, I stopped the scooter immediately. The scooter bucked and leaned to the side with one of the wheels off the ground. I swore I was going to tip.  Only by the grace of God and after what felt like five minutes in the air on the verge of tipping, the scooter landed with a smack back on the ground. My heart was pounding and Amanda ran up in shock. I turned around and told her I never had a scooter with this much power before. We both were relieved that it landed back on the wheels, and the driver sighed and suggested he help me onto the bus.

It took five buses and five tries before I got used to getting the scooter up the ramp, pulling it forward and then parallel parking it into the handicap spot: so this first time the bus driver took the controls while I was still in the seat and showed me how to do it.

Avoiding disaster, I was buckled in, the rest of the people came onto the bus and we were on our way.    Disney is always amazing, but to see it for the first time at Christmas is truly an experience that I wish anyone who holds the season in their heart could see.  We pulled up to the bus station to get dropped off and I already saw trees decorated and the entrances all lit up.  It had already exceeded my expectations, but there was no time to truly enjoy it. Ten minutes to show time, and I was still buckled in on the bus as everyone else was getting off. Handicap scooters and wheelchairs are the first ones on, but we are always the last ones off, due to needing the ramp.

The bus driver unsecured me and helped me down the ramp.  As soon as the three wheels left the metal ramp and hit the cement below, I looked at Amanda and told her to hop on. Amanda took a seat on my good leg, and traveling at 8 miles an hour we whipped past everyone to get to the other end of Downtown Disney for our show. It was a lot warmer than home so the breeze was not bad passing our faces. We received a lot of ooohs and ahhhhs as I weaved in and out of people and down towards the building. I pulled off a few zig zags that would leave Richard Petty in awe. The scooter was straining under the extra weight, but it kept full power. We flew around turns going up on one wheel than falling back down, but with four minutes to spare we arrived at the front of the building with our tickets in hand.

Somehow, someway, after a four-hour delay of our flight we managed to get to the location just four minutes before the show started. As I was led to my seat and got off my scooter, I swear I could hear it breathe a sigh of relief.

The show was wonderful, Amanda and I loved it. I always enjoy shows like that.  After the performance we finally had the chance to breathe. We slowly made our way back. We were completely exhausted. We stopped at a few shops, but gradually made it back to the bus stop.

It didn’t take long for the bus to arrive, which can be a problem down there, and we both napped on the ride back.  For the first time we entered our room. It was big enough for our scooter, but not too much larger, but it was beautifully decorated. I took no time to look around and hopped into the shower.

As I was taking a shower, I heard Amanda shout with glee and surprise.  I yelled from the shower: “What’s up? What’s going on?” She shouted back: “We got a present, waiting for us here!” “A present?  From who?” “Umm let me see, it is from Brad!” she stated. “It’s from Brad!! Oh My God! How the heck did he know where we were, and what room?”

I hopped out of the shower immediately and dried off. The present was so nice. It was a Mickey Red Christmas Sock filled with goodies. The sock today hangs by our Disney souvenir case. I see it right now as I type this. Brad has always amazed me.  We immediately called him to thank him, and told him it was such an amazing day. Going through what we did, making it to the show, and now being treated to an unexpected present. It was all overwhelming – the feeling of joy and the spirit of Christmas. We thanked him and thanked him and said it really surprised us. We hung up the phone, looked at all of the goodies inside the sock, sampled a few treats, and went to bed like two children waiting for Xmas the next day.

The following four days were amazing. Each resort was decorated from top to bottom with Christmas decorations. I truly loved it.  I have always loved Christmas and kept it in my heart. Although Disney might decorate for commercial reasons, it truly felt to me Disney kept Christmas in their hearts as well.

We went on all the rides, watched the Christmas Parade, enjoyed the Osborne Lights at the Hollywood Studios, enjoyed the Mickey Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, and even saw LeVar Burton, from Star Trek perform the Candle Light Processional.  Those days were amazing and filled with the magic of Christmas. I will never forget them. It brings me peace just thinking about them.

There were two days remaining on our Christmas Vacation, before heading back to the realities of home and surgery. I was happy that I got to enjoy the parks and felt that I was being compensated for the time that was stolen from me on my honeymoon. If you recall I lost the last two days being stuck in the hotel room due to my ankle.

The second to the last day we woke up, and headed to the bus for the Animal Kingdom Park.  Fifteen minutes into the park I looked at Amanda and said, “I have to go back to the hotel. I am not feeling well.” Amanda was disappointed. It was only 10 am. She thought my legs might be in pain from the trip and conceded and told me to go back.

I scooted on and off the bus and headed towards my room on my scooter at full speed. I was starting to feel violently sick.  As soon as I entered the hotel room, I ducked into the bathroom and spent a half hour there. It felt like all of the life in me left my body. I fell to the floor and turned on the shower to the hottest setting. All of a sudden I was freezing.

I must have passed out in the shower, because when Amanda entered the room two hours after I had left her,  I was woken up by her screaming “What the hell!!” She opened the bathroom door and steam billowed out into the rest of the room and filled it. You could not see. The steam was thick and covered the air. She helped me out of the shower and onto the bed. Sweat started to form on her forehead from the room being so hot, but I lay on the bed shivering. She got blankets and covered me up and went down the lobby to buy medicine.

An hour after I took the medicine the shivering stopped, but I felt horrible. I just wanted to rest, but that afternoon the pounding of drums echoed in the room from a show in the lobby. I was so sick that I could not move, I could not sleep, it was awful. Once again Disney got the best of me. I spent the last two days in the hotel room sick as a dog.  Amanda had to enjoy the dinners and parks without me once more.

I lost at Disney again. This time because of a flu that overtook my body like it has never done before. I was never that sick in my whole life, besides the feeling of being ill after surgery. I do not know how I made it onto the bus and onto the plane and back home, but I did. It was all a blur.  I was in and out of consciousness on the return flight.  I remember getting back on the wheelchair and seeing my parents faces go from joy at seeing us to concern over the way I felt.

“That’s a shame”, came from both of my parents, and I just waved a hand at them. Amanda assured them I enjoyed myself the first few days. On the way back home they all agreed that I must have caught something the first day.  Since I was no longer used to being around people I was probably highly susceptible to any virus. In the car I vowed from that day forward I was going to get a flu shot every year (which I have) and that would return to Disney to enjoy a vacation for the entire booking! I was 0-2 for enjoying a full vacation at Disney, but as I look back, I still won. I did enjoy my time with Amanda when I felt good. The lights were amazing and impossible to describe. Thinking of the surprise and joy of finding our present lying on our bed, and all of the shows we had seen before I got sick, the trip was definitely a win.

After we arrived home, Amanda and I were both depleted of energy. All of the bags and souvenirs would have to wait till the next day. We both immediately went to bed to energize and prepare ourselves for the upcoming surgery.


I cannot begin to describe or tell you how amazing it was down there. Everyone knows I love Christmas.  It is Nov 15th today, and my decorations in the house have already been up for 14 days. Brad’s gift of the Christmas sock hangs from our cabinet and reminds me of the fun and the trials we had to overcome at Disney.   Though I did lose the last two days of the vacation, it truly was the best I ever had.

I want to thank Ms. S once again for everything.  It is hard for me to write my blog entries at this time due to some issues that will be discussed later.  I write them very fast and she spends a lot of her own time helping me correct the entry while keeping my voice.  It is truly appreciated. 

I also want to ask people to follow and share my blog. You never know who might benefit from it. What to expect at appointments, recovery, surgery, and soon how to handle insurance denials, claims, fixing medical record reports. Once I catch up with the story, I will share reviews on equipment. Almost every time Amanda and I go out people ask about my scooter. So, please share, help me get the word out. I want to give back, but I cannot without your help.  I want to thank all of my followers the new and old from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Our Disney gift from Brad, empty after enjoying all our treats that were inside.
A magnificent view of the entrance to the Animal Kingdom resort.  It is easy to forget your plane troubles when greeted with decorations like these.
LeVar Burton, from Star Trek and Reading Rainbow performing at the Candle Light Processional.

Christmas With A Mouse: Part 1 – The Story Part 25

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With the magical journey to HOz behind us, there was only one thing left to do before my 5th surgery.  That was to seek complete and utter revenge of fun on Mickey Mouse and Disney World. It had all started there, about six years ago: My ankle felt pain on the way back to the hotel, I lost two days and a large sum of money as I lay in the hotel room the last two days of our honeymoon, recovering from the pain. This year was going to be different!

I wanted to go to Disney for multiple reasons: the Christmas lights, the food, giving my wife a chance to wind down after a hard year of work and taking care of my medical needs, also having a last hurrah before going back to sixteen weeks of non-weight bearing on a chair.  But most of all, most of all was to enjoy the full duration of my vacation at Disney as I left my worries behind back in PA.

We were more prepared this time, this was our second visit. I wanted this to be special for Amanda.  I know everything she went through the last six years and I wanted to make sure it was a vacation she was never going to forget. We booked rooms in the Animal Kingdom, a resort she always wanted to stay at. We booked our dining plans again at the Raglan Road Restaurant, and Be Our Guest Restaurant – two restaurants she wanted to visit last time.  We scheduled seeing a performance of Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs) which was to begin five hours after we landed. We also scheduled the Mickey Christmas Party as well as their Candlelight Processional, with the bonus of seeing the Osborne Lights afterward, which is no longer offered.  I was guaranteeing this was going to be the trip of all trips for Amanda. This was our Christmas present to each other and from my parents to us. This was our salvation for the next sixteen weeks after surgery and this was to bring us closer together after such a trying year. To make sure this would all work out, we used a travel agent to help us book everything: that was recommended by my former district manager, Brad. Everything was scheduled without a hitch and I was promised a mobility scooter would be waiting for me at the hotel to use during the entire trip, eliminating the problem of my legs and ankles being hurt any further at Disney.

The day of our departure came quickly, even though the anticipation of leaving our worries behind for a week was killing us.  We made sure we arrived five hours early at the Baltimore Airport. It took us that long to get through the line the last time on our honeymoon. I also reminded Amanda of how the stewardess had treated me like a terrorist for getting too close to her when I was exiting the bathroom. I told her I would make sure that would not happen again, even though they did apologize for it.

As we arrived at the airport, it was no surprise to see the security lines backed up for at least an hour.  It might have been a shorter wait this time since we were leaving in the middle of the week instead of the weekend like we did our honeymoon. Amanda checked in our luggage and grabbed a wheel chair that was off to the side by the entrance door. I looked at Amanda and said, “Here we go”. She wheeled me up to security, and the wait line for the handicap entrance was only a minute, not hours! There is always a silver lining when you look for it.

We approached the non-existent line and made our way to the front. The TSA agent asked if I could stand up to be scanned and I stated with the wooden cane I could. I warned him of all of the metal in my leg and he proceeded with the scan. As suspected, the image must have shown metal, as I was asked to step aside. I got back into my wheel chair and was pushed over to an uninhabited corner surrounded by screens. My wife was not allowed to follow.  They asked me again what was in my leg.  I told them again it was a plate with screws. My shoes were already off.  I told them I could undo my brace. I proceeded to do so and showed them my scar on my skin. They scanned my skin, and of course an alarm went off. They again asked what was in my leg.  I looked at them and stated, “Are you serious?”  I pointed to my skin, my scar, and stated again it is my plate. After about ten minutes they must have confirmed that I was not on the terrorist list.

Reuniting with my wife, I told her, “So much for not being treated like a terrorist on my second flight!” She laughed and said, “Only you”, and proceeded to wheel me the full length of the airport, and up to the second the floor, to relax in the boarding area for the remainder of our waiting time. We had to wait for three hours since the line went so fast for us, despite the TSA shakedown.

Now what I am about to write, I tell you in truth. This is not out of the movie Airplane, this is not a Leslie Nielsen script that did not make it to the theater. This truly, truly happened:

We were on the second floor all the way over to the left of the airport if you were looking straight at it.  We waited hours due to arriving early. However, when it was time to board: ten minutes passed, fifteen minutes passed, then forty minutes passed without Southwest making an announcement. At the hour mark they stated that they were having technical difficulties and that all passengers would have to board at another terminal.

The other terminal was all the way to the right of the airport. Taking pity of the situation, and noticing Amanda’s smaller structure, a Southwest employee offered to and did take me down a floor and all the way to our new boarding area. We were now one hour and fifteen minutes behind flight schedule and we had a late night Cirque du Soleil performance to get to. All of the passengers were waiting to board the plane and it took another fifteen minutes to start boarding. Because of the wheel chair, we were the first ones admitted to the plane; after a half hour we were all buckled into our seats, ready to go.  As the cabin door closed and the airline stewardess gave me a smile, an announcement came over the intercom throughout the plane.

“Ladies and Gentleman, we apologize for the delay, however we will not be leaving from this flight.  You will be redirected back to the original boarding area. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

I turned to Amanda in disbelief.  I stated, “You have got to be kidding me.  This is why I hate flying.  We are going to be late for our show, we are two hours behind and we already been here all day, and I got treated like a terrorist!” I was starting to fume, but I noticed not too many people around me were too happy, so seeing the other people in misery I calmed down a little.  Misery truly does love company.

Once all of the passengers were off the plane, we once again were wheeled all the way to the left side of the airport.  This time they were ready for us.  As soon as we arrived we were wheeled onto the new plane, and waited for everyone else to be seated. Again, apologies were echoed throughout the cabin, but they assured us this time we were ready to go. Two hours after flight time.

Buckled in, annoyed, but ready to get our vacation started, our plane finally wheeled out onto the runway. I looked at Amanda and said, “We are finally ready to go, we should have about an hour to get to the show, because it still takes forty minutes to get to Disney after you arrive in Florida”.  The plane taxied out onto the runway and we sat for another fifteen minutes. I said to Amanda, who was trying to keep her cool, knowing if she got upset I would be even more upset, “Did these people forget how to take off? Did they forget to get gas?”

I kid you not, five minutes after I said that, an announcement from the pilot came over the loudspeaker, “We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are going to have to taxi back to the terminal, we need to get gas.”

“Is that not the first thing you check before you leave the taxi area? That you have gas!” I now shouted.  Apologies were once again echoing throughout the plane. We taxied back to the starting point, and forty minutes later, the tank was filled with gas.

Before we were told we were getting ready to take off, I asked: “Are you sure we have everything? Gas? A plane?  Wheels to land? A pilot?” Amanda was not amused, but neither was I.  I looked at her and said, “Can we have a trip that goes normally?” I also stated that I did not think we were going to make it to the Cirque show.

More than three hours beyond the initial flight time, three hanger areas, two planes, and a full tank of gas later, we made it into the air. I still had my doubts that we were going to get there and not have to turn around for more gas or water, but we finally arrived in Florida, battered, beaten, hungry, and restroom-bound.

I was disappointed in Southwest. The only consolation they offered was a little bag of peanuts.

Now, suppressing thoughts of my future surgery, and memories of our horrible flight, I moved toward the Disney buses to start our vacation. . . .


I had always hated flying. This sealed the deal.  It was nonsense going from one end of the airport to the other. If I missed my show, they  would have a whole other situation to deal with when it comes to facing the Wrath of Donnangelo.

How many South West planes does it take to get out of the Baltimore Airport?  Three…It takes three.