We all made it safely to Germany...yeah! The second leg of our trip was delayed some, but not enough to make Bryan wait too long for us. He ended up needing the extra time because, alas, when he went to pick up his luggage from the carosel...it was not there. Ahhh...flashbacks from Disney trip 2007! I hope that his luggage does not take half of the trip to arrive like mine did (at least he is not wearing all white!) The airline called here at the clinic just a moment ago and claimed that they would be delivering his bag by midnight tonight, so we'll see.
The travel for Brad actually went much more smoothly than any flight we have taken over the last couple of years. My wonderful Aunt Karen donated air miles to get us first class tickets this trip. Our seats went back so far...we were almost laying flat...it was WONDERFUL!!!! Brad slept better on the plane then he did the night before in his own bed (during previous trips he hasn't slept a wink). Thank you Aunt Karen!!!!
Another blessing was the nice plane attendent from Continental Airlines loaded Brad's wheelchair directly into the cabin for us, so we had the chair for the layover in Paris. For those of you who have not traveled with someone disabled through an airport...this was a HUGE help!!!!!!! With the delay, we ended up spending 5 hours in the airport and it was so nice to be able to wheel Brad around and not be solely dependent on his crutches.
The second blessing came very unexpected from the airline attendents with Air France. Those attendents actually broke down Brad's wheelchair and spent several minutes trying to find a way to squeeze it into one of the overhead bins. I was just impressed that they tried so hard to accomodate. And, when it didn't fit...they gate checked the item and had it ready for us as soon as we stepped off the plane in Munich. Yeah Air France! (Alright Kathrin...you have to stop bad mouthing that airline now). The reason this was so surprising was due to all the difficulty we had from British Airlines in getting our wheelchair (or any wheelchair for that matter) during our last trip to and from Germany.
The third blessing came at the car rental. Last time when we were here, I went to the desk to pick up our car and the woman behind the counter said she didn't have my reservation. The real problem was she didn't have the car in stock that we had reserved. Even though I had the print-out and confirmation number, she claimed that it didn't matter because I 'could have' canceled it on line (which I didn't) and I would still have the old paperwork. The process was grueling, but we eventually complained enough to get a car. THIS TIME...there was no fuss, no hassle. The receptionist was nice...she spoke English...she had my reservation and she even upgraded the car to a mini van to ensure that we would be able to get Brad's wheelchair into it easily! Thank you National Car rental.
Now, when we got to the car...it was parked between two other rentals with about 8 inches between each vehicle. While there weren't any scratches on the car before I got in...I'm pretty sure there might have been one on the car next to me from trying to sqeeze into the driver's seat. Once I got in...I quickly realized that I would be driving a standard (which I did know...but had forgotten). Now..I don't mind driving a standard...that is the type of truck Brad drove when we first started dating so he had already taught me how to drive one...but that was a good 12 years ago! And...I certainly wasn't thrilled about testing my skills in a new, rental, with three cars surrounding it less than a foot apart, on an incline...not a lot of leeway for an error. And to make matters worse, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to take the parking brake off. So, here I am, in the car...trying to sike myself up to figure out how to drive this thing. Brad and Bryan are patiently waiting.... in the middle of the road with 3 bags of luggage, crutches, groceries, etc....while I try to figure out how to pull out. As I keep putting the car into 1st gear...I am praying that it is not in Reverse so that I don't slam into the car behind. Finally a very kind German man offers his help...which I GLADLY take. The only thing that made me feel a little less retarded is that it took him a few minutes to figure out how to release the parking brake also. Whew....he pulls the car out and then I am able to practice in the road without being pinned in.
The boys only have slight neck injuries from the gear-shifting. When I would complain about my own driving skills (or lack thereof), Bryan just kept saying he was going to continue to keep his mouth shut for fear that I might hand him the keys :)
As we left Truncht Linghen, a town we frequently get lost in and were approaching MB, we were wondering if we might have taken a wrong turn. We continued to drive and question whether we were going the right way. Brad promptly said that he knew how to tell if we were close. So he rolled down the window. The smell of manuer came pouring into the car. Brad turned to me and said, 'yes, I know we are close.'
Ms. Pappenfuss was waiting with keys in hand once we reached her home. It was nice to already be familiar with all the surroundings...that certainly made our arrival that much easier. Driving into Markt Berolzheim gave me the feeling like we hadn't ever left. I guess when you live somewhere for over a month and then return a month later...it feels like that.
Monday's treatment was fairly easy. Brad hadn't taken Celebrex that morning so Dr. Thaller gave him a lower dosage of the virus, which gave him a slight fever, but not too bad.
Today's treatment was VERY hard. The hardest we have ever experienced. Brad's shaking was so bad in the beginning that he was having a lot of difficulty catching his breath. He had to sit up in bed and put the oxygen tubing into his mouth so that he could breathe through he mouth and still get the oxygen from the machine. That series of shaking really scared him. At one point, he looked over at me with panic in his eyes and I knew that he was afraid that he wouldn't be able to calm himself down. Dr. Thaller gave Brad some sort of relaxation medication and after about 15 minutes the shaking slowed and he was able to calm down. It was really quite unsettling. I'm sure that because of today, he will be more anxious about going back into another fever therapy session. Please pray that tomorrow's therapy goes more smoothly so that he will be able to better relax.
Brad is also only sleeping a couple of hours each night & really not any during the day either. His coughing has actually been much better, but now it just seems that he is struggling with getting comfortable and staying asleep. The lack of sleep is making both of us much more emotional. Please pray that he can get into a pattern of better sleep. I know rest will help lift his spirits.
I am so thankful that Bryan is here with us. His company has meant so much to both of us. Of course, I have heard enough fantasy football talk to last me a lifetime, but hey...if it keeps Brad entertained and distracted from all of this...then that is fantastic.
I will write more later. I need to go home and cook dinner for the boys. We love you all.