Our Israel trip empowered us with so many important lessons!
Before our trip, I felt like I’d plateaued in terms of risk-taking and my comfort level.
But I knew if THIS trip would be successful, my comfort zone would expand exponentially, and I would be willing, ready and able to take on virtually all of my dreams!
So I did what I could to prepare for this colossal adventure. This included spiritual as well as physical preparation.
Spiritually, I slowed down on my daily prayers and really concentrated on the meaning of each word. I wanted to be totally focused when I got to the Kotel (so I would block out all distractions and intrusions to my concentration). After all, who knew the next time I would ever be back again?
Physically, I pounded away at my cycling machine (I killed my previous record the day before we left by racking up over 30 minutes with NO breaks!). As well, I worked like crazy by sitting on the floor for as long as I could to strengthen my trunk muscles.
Yes indeed – I was in tip top spiritual and physical shape. I felt as though NOTHING could stop me from experiencing Israel to its fullest!! I never felt more in control and on top of the world!
I also took all possible precautions when it came to the actual 12+ hour journey. My traveling aid and I practiced and fine-tuned manual transfers from my power chair into a regular chair (mimicking the actual transfers I would make from my wheelchair to my airline seat) and back again from a regular chair to my power chair (mimicking the actual transfers I would make from my airline seat to my wheelchair). We over practiced and over trained these procedures at least 20 times!
As well, I worked with my physiatrist (a spinal cord specialist) to coordinate my many medications with my “inner plant”, and the havoc the seven hour time change may cause on my system. For weeks before our departure I selectively ate like a champion, and I insured that I took my necessary vitamins and supplements.
I also ordered a special air cushion to sit on while sitting on the airline seat, in order to prevent fearful and devastating pressure sores.
We anxiously and excitedly counted down the days until D-Day! We just couldn’t believe that the trip of our lives was imminently about to take place!
I reasonably thought that I prepared for every eventuality, and that I had everything under control.
Or, so I imagined….
Departure date finally came! We raced to the airport, arriving well in advance of our departure.
Everything flowed like a well-oiled machine. We were called to board 20 minutes before the rest of the passengers. The transfer from my power chair to the airline transfer chair went flawlessly, as did the transfer into my seat. Actually, this was the first obstacle that I overcame, because para and quadriplegic individuals routinely receive bulkhead seating, in order to afford them the space they need for their transfers. However, this was not a possibility for me, because I had to stow my BiPAP machine (my respirologist nearly canceled the trip, until I guaranteed him that I wouldn’t fall asleep without putting on my BiPAP and its mask) and its 10 pound battery beneath the seat in front of me. As such, I had to take a regular seat, with its tiny space behind the seat in front of it. This made the transfer a lot more harrying….but we got it done with surprising ease!
This would turn out to be the first of MANY situations beyond my comfort zone – I went with it, and said, “goodbye” to my fears!
….. Stay Tuned for, “Our Amazing Trip to Israel – part 2”!