Saturday, March 29, 2008

Goodbye! Let's hope I get there.....AND back.

For some reason, while very nervous, I also have an odd sense of calm. Unfortunately this is because I have a secret conviction that I won’t be coming back. I have spent so long imagining what it would be like to take this trip, weighed up a few weeks back if I should cancel, decided to go ahead, and I have no idea what lies BEYOND. I have no idea really about what lies in Japan but maybe it is easier to think about what might be there than about coming back to another year and more of unrelenting tests.

Of course, Linda’s parents calling tonight because they feel the same way does not help this stubborn conviction that I won’t make it back. They worry because they might come and rescue us from BC, but Japan, not possible! Actually calling to say you anticipate my speedy hospitalization on the eve of departure is well, hmmmm……ONE way of showing you care (perhaps not the most ENCOURAGING!).

In the same way people follow my rants, antics and meandering, I have been following a lesbian couple for a year through YouTube. Natalie and Naiyeli are youngish: 19 and 24 (if ages posted on YouTube can be believed!) and part of their relationship is doing music videos of lesbian/yuri themed anime as well as making little lesbian themed anime videos for each other at Xmas or Valentines Day. Just over seven months ago they celebrated their first year together by making Dedication videos. Naiyeli’s is here and pretty much captures all that you could want for a couple in love. It also captures the thoughts I have been having about every little thing that Linda has been doing for me. That I go to Japan, whatever happens, is because of Linda, and that makes me a very fortunate individual. That over 14 years later, she made my dream into “our” dream. The song is You Raise Me Up by Secret Garden and for the animed music video, Naiyeli’s sings it HERSELF for Natalie (and a fine singer too). It is the kind of tear-jerking video that makes me think “What’s up with this new generation of lesbians! Why can’t they be all twisted and closeted like we were!” – oops, knee jerk response, I meant, "it makes you realize how precious love declared and reciprocated is." Just watch it (hanky warning!)

After tonight, I may not be able to consistently reply to every comment but I will be reading and appreciating them (or having them read to me). I realize that in disability world, a trip to Japan is pretty privileged and I am fortunate. My hope is that you can feel you are going WITH me, instead of being left behind. It certainly hasn’t been all smooth and I apologize if you received a snappish email or comment or blog post over the past month.

Linda started the day today in a bit of a panic as her booked appointment to do BLONDE highlights (yup blonde girl and pink/red head, we are SO going to fit in), was “double booked” and thus cancelled. She found another spot but then I wasted an hour because she was away and I couldn’t sleep with visions of her hair falling out or her so freaked out with stuff to do she was in an auto accident (Me? Worry much? Why do you ask?). So when she came home and I finally slept (say hello to my friend VALIUM).

We have done the final checklist. I tried out the new wheelchair today and it sucks but will work. It is like riding a bike that is really small so you can’t get any strength in the pedals. Or specifically, the wheels are small and the axle is set FAR back, so I actually have to reach BEHIND me to start the wheeling. Not exactly a power position. Also, I haven’t found a pair of gloves to stop the slick metal on a down slope, but I have some goat skin ones I am going to scratch up and see if that works. Also, since it is a swing away post-polio chair, it has angled foot plates which look like a cowcatcher from a train, except my toes (the ones I can’t feel) overhang the front part. But like I said, it is 26 inches wide for Japanese doors and it will DO! But, I wonder what I will be happier to return to, my home, my hospital bed, or my wheelchair?

I have two more hours to get some things done, including a final edit of the BBC piece; will try to put a short update post from Seattle if they have a connection and then it is off to the body cavity search…..I mean airport security. We have enough pills to be dealers if we weren’t such nice people. I mean, 6-8 synthetic opium a day times 20 days looks pretty damn suspicious (plus the other 8 different pills). Cheryl has our oxygen concentrator (meeting her tomorrw), which is a mini-steam punk machine that hisses and huffs and will go on board the airplane with me. I bet after seeing all my crap and noise, people will WISH they had a baby next to them.

We hope to upload pictures as we go...if we go: as so far, after a promise last Saturday from JR that they would reserve our train spaces for the entire trip, we have gotten: two requests for additional info, request for scans of our airplane tickets but not a single reservation. Anyway: on to Tokyo!


cheryl g said...

You are going and you will both have a good time! You are also coming back! You may need some recovery time when you get back but you will return - I have decided! After all, we have things to do this summer and fall...

The video is beautiful and made me weep and you have got to quit ruining my butch street cred like that.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Cheryl: We have AirMed to fly us back if worse comes to worse thanks to recommendation by Raccoon. And I have to just think happy and calming thoughts and make sure I arrive in one piece instead of pieces.

The Video made Linda cry too and she NEVER cries, while me, I tend to get mushy watching her butter bread; so my crying is no real accomplishment.

N1nj4G1rl said...

A scary title to read from one of your favorite bloggers when you have been away from the internet for what seems like forever!
But after reading the post the fear has been replaced with envy at your trip to Japan! So much envy...sigh.
No trips to Japan for a while for me! A small baby + long airplane flight would probably equal a very special kind of hell.
My best wishes to you for a fun trip of awesome good times, I hope to see many pictures!

Victor Kellar said...

Elizabeth, this is only my second comment but like many people I have been following you trip prep with admiration and a bit of awe.

I understand your reservations and your concerns but I truly admire your determination to go

Many years ago my wife and I planned a trip of a lifetime, to central africa where she would work with children and I would film something that would justify all my years of making commercials. Five days before the trip I did something stupid and pretty much broke every bone in my left leg

I was on my back for a good part of the year, unable to work and my wife had to pick up the slag. Eventually I recovered very well (there are days I don't need the cane) but become so focussed on re building the business and working so my wife could take a break .. well, I have yet to go to africa.

So, a hug to Linda from a stranger cause her dedication to you reminds me of my wife and a big admiration hug to you ... you are going. You are returning. You seized the dream and that will carry you thru whatever lays ahead

SharonMV said...

I'm so happy that you & Linda are going. I'll be waiting for my postcard. And you will come back (Please, we need you.) Besides, I'm just getting to know you & you don't know me at all yet.


kathz said...

Bon voyage! Have a wonderful time.

Elizabeth McClung said...

N1nj4g1rl: Sorry for the title, but hey, I'm still blogging every day, for five months now. Well, if you read all we've been though to get to this day, maybe a little less envy. Myself, I would like to sleep by my body says otherwise (I think mabye heat exhaustion). I will post lots of pics so you can have the trip with us.

Victor: Well, I hope you keep commenting, I like your posts, they add a great viewpoint.

AHHHHH....what a sad story. I am glad you are up and around and you rebuilt the business, I hope the africa dreams comes true. Linda wants to go on Safari in Africa, has for several years but we can't as yet, figure out how, at least not with me; though maybe she will go with a friend and bring back pictures. Either way, that is in the future. And I have enough to worry about NOW.

Thanks for the hug - yes, we are away, I hope, if my body will ever let me go to sleep!

SharonMV: Have no fear, the postcards are our number 2 priority (actually getting to the reserved and paid for hotels is the number 1 priority). So I hope to start sending some out in a few days (once know, get to japan). True, we will get to know each other more!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Kathz: Thanks - I hope your cold is getting better!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Japan!! I can't imagine the work that has gone into this trip. Just getting a hotel to understand what 'accessible' means is an accomplishment. Airports are also so 'welcoming' to travellers with differences. But, screw 'em, go and kick ass if necessary.

The Goldfish said...

Bon voyage! Here's hoping everything will go swimmingly well and you'll both have a great time. Looking forward to hearing all about it.

rachelcreative said...

Will be thinking about you both ... turning Japanese :)

shiva said...

Wow, awesome! I didn't realise you were going this weekend - for some reason i thought it was in another week, maybe i misread one of your previous posts...

Well... dunno what to say exactly, except i hope it's everything you want it to be... and that you come back even more of an ass-kicking crip warrior than before... :)

Oh yeah, and pics please...

tornwordo said...

Bon voyage! I'm so glad you're doing this/able to do this.

wiccachicky3 said...

You'll have a great time!! Enjoy the culture, the food and the people. It's a wild ride. Can't wait to see your pictures when you get back!

Penelope said...

Have a wonderful time in Japan!

shiva said...

Also, thought you might be interested in this:

Tayi said...

Oh my, the trip is finally here. I'm excited for you, a ridiculous amount of excitement really, considering that I don't get to go to Japan myself. But I'm eagerly looking forward to pictures and stories and postcards and everything. I'm sure you'll have a great time, AND make it back in one piece and breathing. Have fun!

Dawn Allenbach said...

Even my cynical ass cried.

You. Will. Come. Back. Healthy. Dammit! Afterall, we have a screenplay to write. *grin*

May the Higher keep you safe and healthy. May you have a wonderful time. May you buy at least one pretty kimono.

Remember, dear -- do not focus on the frustrating bits, because you will then ruin this opportunity for you and for Linda. This is your dream, so make the most of every second. Can't get up stairs to something? What can you do that's fun and memorable where you are at the bottom of the stairs? As you've said, this may be a once in a lifetime, so do what you can and do not mourn what you can't.

And if you see Makoto Nagano, Ninja Warrior champion, air mail him to me, OK? I'll pay you back.

Love to you both!

Lene Andersen said...

It will be amazing and you will come back. Bruised, likely, exhausted definitely and more than exhilerated! I feel like I'm going with you in a way and am so proud of you both for going on this adventure. Gives me hope of things that are possible.

So there you are - your trip is All About Me. ;) Now go and drink it all in. Can't wait to hear all about it.

p.s. that video? Thanks for making me cry first thing in the morning.

yanub said...

Beth, have a wonderful time. This is a crazy, medically-non-recommendable trip you are taking, and, as such, is the best, most audacious, wildest adventure ever. You and Linda are goddesses to do it. Well, at least demi-goddesses. The story of your trip to Japan will become mythic, told to amazed children around campfires. And the adventure begins right away, as you must first pass the Test of TSA. Ooh, such excitement! I feel a chill!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Dave: Thanks for the errr..send off - in Japan "barrier free" is the phrase they use, and as to airports, I'll let you know.

Goldfish: Thanks, hear is hoping after 6.5 hours of sleep last night I make it to Seattle without mishap

Rachelcreative: Mmmmmm...that reminds me of song, somehow ;)

Shiva: No problems, pictures are our priority - watch this space! Cheers

Tornwordo: Thanks, I'm sure I'll be glad too, right now I'm kinda terrified.

wiccachicky: Thanks, but hopefully exciting in a GOOD way not the kind of excitement I usually attract. And we're posting pictures LONG before we get back, like in 2 or 3 days hopefully!

Penelope: Thanks - off to the ferry we go!

Tayi: I just have this odd feeling that just being ME there will be PLENTY of stories, so I hope to share most of them (the strange, unusual and sexy ones - I had a dream where linda burst in and said, "WE HAVE to go to a Love Hotel....NOW" - that's a good omen right?

Lene: You are right, it is about you - I even had a dream about you last night and if I had time was going to email you about it - odd since I never met you face to face but knew you right away, we were up in the arctic circle and you made money by going to remote locations and dragging a sonar behind your snow plow for ground depth (there, try to find THAT in a dream book).

Yanub: Thanks, I just need to know, what is the Test of TSA? We are off, Linda is booking the taxi so got to run!

Lene Andersen said...

That dream sounds very much like this winter in Toronto - well, except for the making money bit. I'll work on that while you're away. ;)

Also glad to finally have met someone whose dreams rival mine for weirdness. Excellent!

Now stop mederating comments and go conquer the world! Or at least Japan...

KateJ said...

Bon voyage! I hope the trip is everything that you and Linda have hoped and dreamed. I hope it brings you even closer as a couple and gives you priceless memories to cherish - and laugh over - for the rest of your lives. Watch out for ninjas!

ps. loved the video, too.

donimo said...

What, no time for haiku with the million details you've had to take care of? Wow, you've worked so hard, for so long and off you go. F'ing amazing.

When I fly, I always use a wheelchair and have found the airline folks have been very helpful. You might even ask if they have room in first class because you and your "attendant" need a bit more room for oxygen use (or whatever). I've been bumped up twice. At customs, I've been whisked ahead of enormous lines and then waved right through (which was great in Mexico because I had cheese and hot peppers in my bag and they would have been confiscated). NOT that you want to bring in contraband or anything! Airline wheelchair porters really help one navigate through a busy airport.

Getting there, being there and getting back... we'll all be here.

Ruth said...

How exciting! Have fun -- be safe - bon voyage!

Gaina said...

You *are* coming back and you *are* going to have a wonderful time. :)

With regard to gloves, I'd recommend going to your nearest saddler's to get some riding gloves as they have grips in the palms to stop your reins slipping. I'm sure you can get the fingerless variety now too.

yanub said...

Ah, the Test of TSA. By now, you have either passed or failed the first stage, though not all who pass carry through the Gates of Security all they brought with them, or even much of their initial dignity. (TSA is the US notoriously arbitrary airport security detail.)

There are other initial trials which you have already encountered. I look forward to your tales of the Luggage Lottery and of the Voyage of the Airship.

Raccoon said...

By now, you are winging over the Pacific, headed for that weirdest crooked line that is on ll of globes -- the Date Line!

I'm very anxiously looking forward to your postings and pictures. As, obviously, everyone else here is, too. Now, are you going to be taking some of those pictures? Send some to Linda's parents? (Probably not ones of the Love Hotel, though.)

You will make it back. I mean, the next dream trip is to Africa! They have air condition lodgings & vehicles; I've been told that some of the day trips Safari rides have turbocharged air-conditioning.

Don't push yourself too hard on this trip. Relax and enjoy it.

Maggie said...

Sorry we missed you for lunch. Cheryl should have just called. We wish you both well and you must and will return. Matt is looking forward to advising on your next work and I'm looking forward to our next visit. I'll tell you why I liked the red book so much. How's that for a cliff hanger? Be safe!!!!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Lene: see, this is how I was able to recognize you even though we have not met face to face.

KateJ: Thanks, right now GETTING there is harder than we anticipated.

Ruth: Thanks! We have sort of failed the safe thing but are heping the fun thing will happen once we get it under control.

donimo: Thanks, I will be asked in a very subtle was ( and subtle) about the first class. Also will try your tips and play the 'poor little crip girl' - sorry, no time right now for Haiku, will do one over the ocean.

Gaina: Thanks, I will keep an eye out for a saddlry place, right now am using different gloves and running into people.

Yanub: Thanks for the translation - my biggest concern is that my little chair is taken and put in luggage though they have said they will "try" to keep it on board, because for example, a wheelchair with ONE pushhandle instead of two is kinda not the same.

raccoon: actually, due to an error, which I will talk about in the next blog, we instead have other people WINGING directly over our head. Pictures are a high priority and we hope to post plenty. I CAN'T WAIT to take it easy, I am starting to look at Japan AS a vacation.

Maggie: I assumed you were in hetero bliss and I will be there for many months (one hopes) while True Love will only have so many days/hours - but seriously, haven't you started noticing the annoying aspects yet? That always happened after a few days of Linda and I getting together. So....does this mean you were a crime scene photographer?

saraarts said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Linda is a superhero.

Y'all are going to make it there and back again, just like Bilbo on his own adventure. I refuse to believe otherwise.

I just realized that you are probably in the air as I type this. I hope you are. I hope you're napping and eating bad airline food and annoying the crap out of uptight people, and that no one is looking at you all wet-eyed telling you how brave and special you are and then talking about you to Linda as though you are an object. See, they don't know about your martial arts training, and someone could get hurt. ;)

Happy landings.

Marla said...

Wahoo! I am sooooo excited for you both. I hope you have a kicking good time!