Saturday, June 2, 2012

Operation Surprise the Sister

Our family and friends know how much I love my surprises. I love, love, love to put smiles on faces. To Chaz and I, life should be about fun and you should pack it in where ever you can. Chaz says the worst thing about me is he never knows when I'll strike with another one of my surprises. You know that he really does enjoy them. He always gets a kick out of what I can pull off. This time I got to master mind with my hubby and then add our cuties in too.

Chaz's only sibling, his sister, Aszra picked June 2 for her wedding date a few months ago. Unfortunately we wounded warrior families cannot commit to anything beyond a week in advance and even then plans can change very quickly. We knew Chaz had to have his surgery in May. His surgeon scheduled it in late January. We told Chaz's family we just couldn't come because of the surgery, but in the meantime we got busy on some serious planning. All the while we knew one little hiccup could have stopped us from traveling and next I am about to tell you about some of the ones that struck within the past week. But unbeknownst to them, we have been planning with Chaz's medical teams to work it all out. We knew the few risks, but the teams helped us to minimize them all.

To throw his family off our trail, I ordered some favors for his sister to have at her wedding. Then I ordered and had the wedding present sent to them directly. Chaz and I both reminded them again and again about how hard it is to get Chaz over 100 miles away from the hospital. Also we made sure the girls knew not to tell them we were coming. Once they knew they were in on the surprise the girls were so happy to help. We began working on the travel plans before Chaz's surgery. As usual,Veterans Airlift Command made the flight the easiest part of all of this! VAC is always happy to help great things happen. They were thrilled to help us pull this all off.

On May 18th, Chaz had his surgery and it all went well except for the little hospital administration mix up. Chaz was in a lot more pain then we expected. I made him take it super easy so this surprise could happen. This time Chaz really listened so we could make the trip happen.

Our real fun began May 25th. I called Enterprise and the hotel to make sure our reservations were all ok. Yes I had confirmation emails, but I like have names to call back on if necessary. The Enterprise agent asked for me to please call again on Wednesday to remind them to get a van for us, makes sense, no problem. Then I called the hotel to find our there was no record of reservation. We were driving back from the Baltimore Aquarium so I told them I would call back with the reservation number.

I got into my email to see booked us for May 1-4, not June 1-4. Well you can imagine how happy I was. I will bet the poor woman answering the phone had to take a break once she was finished with us. I ended up giving the phone to Chaz because I just didn't have the patience to deal with it. She put all the blame on us, so yes I demanded they pull the recordings. Guess what they found out when they did?! Yup, their agent booked the wrong dates.

He got it all sorted out and they booked us another room. It took many extra phone calls to get the full refund from the first room. Then Monday I had Chaz call the hotel because I just knew we needed to double check's skills. Sure enough they did not book the ADA room as requested. So the lesson learned was do not rely on one agent to understand ADA issues. The lady even asked Chaz, "Sir why can't you just bathe in the tub." Chaz said, "Ma'am, I do not have legs above my knees." She still did not get us an ADA room. Worst of all, we found out the room would have been cheaper if we would have just booked it ourselves. We also found out that the room did not have a shower bench Chaz needed. In the past I remember blogging about being helpful, I do believe I'll have to retract that.

Tuesday we spent our morning chasing down a travel shower bench. The OT department helped us with that one. Then we found out that Chaz's MRI showed that the pocket of fluid in his back is back. His Primary Care Manager freaked out. She tried to tell Chaz she would not authorize him to leave. So we had to sort that out. Luckily the surgeon who removed the pocket of fluid last June is still around so we decided we would consult him on Thursday when we were there for Chaz's recheck from his surgery. He had the ultimate say in us leaving. He reviewed everything and gave us the thumbs up. Of course, he gave me the what-if 101 and we'll have to come see him when we get back to Maryland, but we'll deal with that in two weeks. He really thinks Chaz will be fine, but they'll keep a close on him and his back.

Wednesday we just spent the day getting things done. I was in a horrible funk because of the back drama, so I was not my best person on Wednesday. Thursday I took the girls to the pool to swim out some energy. Thursday evening we had some of our friends over for dinner. Then we started packing. I always wait until the last minute to pack. Thanks to all this traveling I have learned how to pack quick and efficiently. Of course I really packed Friday morning. That's when the fun started. First I woke up to this.
When I was at the pool Thursday I remember being bit by something, but it didn't itch or anything. But I guess my arm did not like what ever it was. Oh well, I had a trip to go on. Then I get a text from our neighbor letting us know the elevators were out. So I went to the office at the apartment complex to find out all three elevators were out in the building, but the one leading from the shopping area to the garage was working. Yes I let them know that it was unacceptable. We have 35 units with wounded warriors in them. One family lives on the 13th floor. The elevators went out at 6 am and it was past 9 am. At least one should have been working. The female office person at least felt a little sympathy, but you could tell the male could have cared less. And no, no one offered to help us and yes, they watched us pass their office several times with all of our luggage, Chaz and the girls.

My neighbor drove our van up from G3 to G1, then she and I began carrying everything up and down the stairs. She and I both have injured husbands and we use the stairs all the time because the stairs are right by our door. Stairs were not a great option for Chaz, but they were the only choice. So he put his legs on and we followed him down with his chair in tow. Bottom line is, we wounded families always can create a plan a, b, c and d on demand. We just adapt.

We loaded up and got to the airport. Once again Veterans Airlift Command helped us get where we needed to go. The flight was super long. There was a lot of sleeping going on. But this cracked me up!

We flew into Owensboro, KY to refuel. My friends in Owensboro, if I had known in advance we would have had a reunion, but we were there for less than a half hour. I'll try to do better next time! But gees it was cold in the boro yesterday! I was so happy I made everyone grab jackets for our trip.

We were in the air for about four hours total. This was one of my favorite shots. Can you say Daddy's girl?!

We landed to find out Enterprise was not there with our van. They were still looking for one for us. I called them from Owensboro to make sure they were ready for us. So of course I was frustrated. But after a phone call, we got it all worked out and I signed and we drove away with a van that worked perfectly. We made a stop at Sonic, because we don't have them near us in Maryland. We checked into our room and it suits Chaz's needs very well and most importantly, it's clean!! (Big pet peeve of mine.)

The girls and I ran to Walgreens to get a few things that we needed. When we returned I found out that we forgot to put Chaz's wheelie bars back on and he flipped out of his chair and did this.

Yes he's fine, but yesterday was a reminder of how great my Girl Scout first aid course really was. I got to put my skills to good use. I had to joke with him that flipping out of the chair was not on the doctor's what-if list. After a long, hiccup filled day, I made Chaz take some more Tylenol. Then I put myself in a benadryl coma because my arm was swelling and itching really bad.

So the big day is here! We have just chilled out this morning. That flight was long and we were all tired from it. Chaz and I wanted to store up some energy for the wedding this evening. Chaz called his grandma and talked about the weather in Maryland to throw her off.

Demetria has even gotten involved in the surprise. She is going to post this at the same time that we will be surprising them. Chaz is going to call them and give them all the best wishes as we are driving there. Then when Chaz gets off the phone we are going to pull in the driveway. Yes we are sneaky, but it's for a great reason. We want his sister to have a great wedding day. We know how much she loves her brother and how much she wants him here, so we have literally we have done everything we can to make that happen. We also wanted to make sure this day was all about her and her new hubby. Since Chaz hasn't been home in five years, we were afraid that it would turn into a welcome Chaz home instead of her wedding. So now you can understand why we made it so top secret. We'll be in OK for Veteran's Day weekend and we can have a welcome home for Chaz then. This weekend is about his sister and her big day. So let Operation Surprise the Sister begin!!! The camera is charged and ready to capture some great memories!

1 comment:

  1. Hope all went well today and that you all had a fantastic time!
    Continuing to lift up prayers!
    Psalms 31:5, 7-8 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth (7-8) I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities; And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.
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