May 26, 2008


We’ve made it safely to California and I’m exhausted. It has been a day rife with a wide range of emotions. Fear. Relief. Sadness. Joy. Pain. Disbelief. Stress. Surreal.

Surreal... probably sums it up best. The whole day has just felt felt really surreal.

It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that it has really come to this...leaving my country for another country in order to get the medical treatment I so desperately need. And then of course, flying out in a Lear jet amidst a media circus certainly adds to the unreal quality of this reality.

Just shortly after noon today we flew out of a private terminal near Vancouver airport. We were met at the airport by TV cameras and reporters. As well, several folks from our LD Support Group showed up to send us off in style. I was overwhelmed with the support of these folks especially given that most of them are sick and lacking the medical treatment they so desperately need too. I feel guilty about having this opportunity when there are so many others who could use it too.

Dr. M was there too. He will be flying to California with us in order to provide medical care to Marie during the flight. While we waited to board I did a fairly lengthy interview with a reporter from Global News.

Then it was time to leave Vancouver for Victoria where we were to pick up Marie, her dad and a nurse before we set out for our final destination in California. It was a brief 13 minute flight to Victoria - I must admit that was pretty cool. When we landed near Victoria, we were able to leave the aircraft and head into the terminal for our "30 minute layover". Much to our surprise we were met by an onslaught of media there as well - TV cameras, reporters, several radio stations, and columnists from various newspapers. I was overwhelmed to find fellow Lymies from the Victoria LD Support Group had shown up in full force to send us off with their blessing.

It was all pretty intense...light bulbs flashing, TV cameras looming in your face and questions firing from all directions. Given the circumstances associated with this flight, there was such a high level of emotion bearing down on my overcrowded brain about WHY this was happening as opposed to WHAT was going on. Needless to say the WHY was pretty much my sole focus of the day. However, I must admit, that I did have the fleeting thought that hopping on and off a private jet with media recording your every move must be somewhat like the life of a celebrity. And now, given that I’ve just heard on the news that George Abbott (Health Minister) is making references to the ‘mental’ stability of us Lyme Life Flighters, well I fear the celebrity I can most be likened to is Britney Spears - apparently, we're both nuts and love to shop at Walmart. Ha.

Marie's dad, Jay and Dr M.

The flight itself was more something to be endured rather than enjoyed. For all intents and purposes, each of us Life Flighters (Peter, Marie and myself) are all bound for the great unknown, not by choice but because our hands have been forced by a hostile medical system that is combative and refuses to assist us in our quest for health.

Me and Peter

It is hard to put into words how I feel about this. Anger, disbelief, frustration, panic, dumbfounded…and I can’t imagine being in Marie's condition and facing this all. Marie is in bad shape. She needed constant monitoring and support from Dr. M. Seeing her in this condition brought me to tears several times. I have been where she is and I know what that kind of pain feels like and I can't imagine dealing with it amidst all the emotional upheaval of leaving family, friends, and home.

The rest of our flight went smoothly and time passed quickly (if only I could fly in Lear jet all the time!). Upon landing at the airport, there was a private transport waiting to pick us up. But before we were able to get off the plane, a customs officer boarded our little jet to check our passports and such. He was this gigantic guy with humongous muscles. His intimidating bulk filled our tiny 8 passenger jet. He could barely maneuver as he leaned in to check our passports and verify our citizenship.

He then inquired as to the nature of our visit to the US. When he was told that this was a medical flight, and that 3 of us on board were very ill, a look of sheer panic washed over his face and he broke into a sweat.

"Y'all aren't contagious are you?" He queried in alarm.

We all stifled a laugh. The look on his face was priceless and well, after the tumult of emotions, we needed to relieve some of our angst with a laugh or two.

Sorry, Big Guy, no offense.

The van took us directly to our hotel. And well, I pretty much collapsed in a heap on the bed and several hours later, I'm still lying here, re-living the day, my head spinning, still trying to wrap my foggy brain around it all.

I really can't believe that it has come to this.

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