Saturday, August 11, 2012
Still in Georgia...
My flight to Abu Dhabi left. I wasn’t on it.
I went to Emory Hospital to see Dad before my flight left. He seemed to be having a good day and he smiled wide when he saw me. I was able to spend almost three hours with him.
When I left the hospital, I hugged him, I kissed the top of his head, I went out of the ward, made my way into the elevator and collapsed into a crying heap the minute the doors closed. On the way to the airport, with my husband driving, I kept thinking this might be the last time I might ever see Dad. Fate, or whatever you want to call it, had other plans.
I reach the airport, unload my three bags, tip a sky cap, get my bags inside while my husband parks the car. I swipe my passport and the machine won't accept it. It directs me to speak to an American Airlines representative. There are only four people working the check in counters, so I wait. When the lady looks at my passport she explains that it is not valid. There are two holes punched along the bottom side of the I.D numbers on the passport. I don't understand. But finally I see the problem and I want to kick myself: the name on the passport is my maiden name. This is my old passport. I grabbed the wrong one.
Jim and I go sit in a row of airport chairs nearby to try and figure out if there is anything we can do. My flight is being delayed due to weather. I live two and half hours away. Jim and I decide to risk it. We rush back to the house, run in, get the correct passport and Jim throws a few items into a bag. We are in and out of the house and back in the car in five minutes. Another two and half hours and we are back in Atlanta, but my flight left at 7:30 p.m. An hour later I learn that the people on the flight I missed are stranded in Chicago because they couldn't make their connecting flight out. I phone my brother who works for United Airlines in Chicago. There are five flights going out to Chicago tomorrow, August 10. If the Chicago people don't leave until later the next day, maybe I can still catch up with them. I call Royal Jordanian Airlines. They tell me that since I missed the first leg out of Atlanta, that they canceled the rest of my flights. It is hopeless. I am stuck in Georgia.
I am despondent, angry (at myself) and incredibly frustrated. Jim is calm and cool and tells me everything will be fine. He doesn't get angry. He doesn't blow his top. He doesn't chide me for my error. He merely reassures me that these things sometimes happen.
Jim and I go to my brother's house in Fayetteville, about 20 minutes from the airport, to spend the night. I email the travel agency about the situation. They email back and tell me that I have to contact the Abu Dhabi Education Council and ask them to give the travel agency permission to reissue another ticket. I email ADEC. I email TeachAway (the company who recruits for ADEC). I don't expect to hear anything back from ADEC until Sunday, since Friday and Saturday is their weekend. Plus, they are right in the middle of Ramadan. In fact, I'll be lucky to hear anything Sunday. The next group flies out between the 22-25 of August. Looks like I will be around a few weeks longer.
The sky cap who took my bags back out to the car in Atlanta told me that things happen for a reason. I told him I don't believe in fate. He told me he was wise man and to believe him. I don't know what to believe or think. I only know that more waiting is in store for me. I am tired of waiting.
Before I head home to Cochran, I go back by the hospital and visit my dad. He isn’t having a good day. He has an I.V because he is getting dehydrated, and he is very agitated. Sitting in the wheelchair is hurting his back and he keeps trying to get up. He doesn’t even seem surprised or happy to see me. I stay for two and a half hours, but it is difficult. Two and a half hours I can't even begin to describe. I am able to get dad to eat half a pint of chocolate ice cream and drink two full cups of water though. I leave and dad is sitting at the table in his wheelchair swiping his hand at something he thinks he sees on the floor. Before I even exit the hospital I am sobbing. My dear Jim holds me and pats me, but there is nothing he can do. I take half a doctor prescribed Xanax. About three quarters into the long ride back home I finally fall asleep.
Now I wait all over again for a date to leave, a ticket. Another goodbye with my dad…I don't know how many more goodbyes I have left in me.
Posted by Liti