Harriet’s Journal

Recently I flew back to Detroit Michigan from Ft. Myers Florida. I haven’t flown alone for a long time, especially not since I’ve been diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia. I was okay doing it, but it did give me a sense of caution.

In Ft. Myers they were loading early and quickly. There was a bit of anxiety among the passengers as we found our seats. My seat was one of those exit seats over the wings with the doors to be opened by the passengers in case of an emergency. I was in the middle seat between two guys. They seemed fine enough, at first. The Captain came on to tell us to get seated quickly,  he was going to try to get airborne before the storm hit. About that time the storm hit! We were stuck! WE were there for one and a half hours waiting out the storm. I’m only telling you this because, I was fine. I can’t say the same about the guys next to me. The one by the window seemed to have a bladder problem and went to the bathroom three times. The aisle guy was looking at his tablet showing where our plane was and where the storm was. His screen was completely solid with lightning strikes. He kept muttering to himself.

Finally, the storm passed by and we were on our way, and it was a bit bumpy but, in such weather, it was pretty good.

We landed in Detroit, the fun part, for me, started. I checked out the arrival board to see where my luggage could be picked up. I kept forgetting and would  have to look at the next board again. I should have written it down, but I didn’t think to do that. It’s a relatively long walk to baggage claim. But I found my luggage without any problems.

Next step was finding with my daughter in law. I felt anxious about connecting with her. Her phone had died but I didn’t know! I came out of the Delta exit, and was watching, watching, watching. I received three calls from the same number, which I didn’t recognize, so I picked up the third time and it was a woman from Texas, who said that she had spoken to Michelle, and that she was going to go around one more time and I should stay where I was.  Finally, forty minutes after landing, we found each other.

All of this doesn’t amount to much, but when it is a person who has FTD, a person who’s tired from a long day, stressed from thunderstorms, and sitting between two  freaked out guys, I think I did pretty well.

I don’t like to think about my condition too much. I am able to travel alone. I can read and write, and I’m adapting to a lot of the things that were hard at first diagnosis. I recognize faces, including my own, and remember many names.  I still have bad moments at check outs, but not as often as I did a few years ago. If I don’t allow myself to go with the flow, and try to do what I can to stay calm, deep breaths help with anxiety.

Sure, I can’t organize like I used to. I can’t always find the words I want to say, and  still lose my train of thought. There are other things that I have trouble doing; like talking on the  phone. I don’t know why, but I get stressed out and have a hard time looking at our whole schedule and deciding when to set appointments. All things considered I am very happy that I made the flight and I did it by myself!!

Next time I will write about being home while David was in Florida taking care of his dad and my struggle with sleeping a lot.

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