After yesterday’s post about the kidney stones I was supposed to be sharing all the good things that happened at Fitbloggin, but first I need to explain what happened yesterday.
Originally when I scheduled my flights for Fitbloggin I had decided to leave at 5 on Sunday because I had nowhere else to be and I want to hang out in Baltimore a little more without rushing to get home. That was the plan before the kidney stone episode. Because I had to get prescriptions filled and return to the hospital on Sunday in order to get all my prescriptions, that flight time turned out to be perfect. I ended up catching a shuttle around 2, getting to the airport at 3, and then writing my blog post before grabbing some food and getting on the plane.
I was on a packed flight on a 757 to Atlanta with Delta to catch a flight home to Memphis. I got on the plane and planned to eat my food and take my meds once I got in the air. We all got on the plane and taxied off down the runway. Then at the end of the runway the plane pulled off to the side next to two other Delta planes and the captain told us that we had to wait 50 minutes because of the stormy weather in Atlanta. Everyone on the plane was laughing at the fact and we all figured the wait wouldn’t be too bad. We had some hilarious flight attendants and they said they would show us a movie since the flight was extended. It seemed like a bad situation that everyone was trying to make the best of while we were in it.
Since we had a wait I went ahead and ate my food and took my medicine because it was time for my next round (every 4 to 6 hours as needed… so far it’s been needed). Once they kicked in after a while I was a happy camper and just drank my water and watched the Blind Side. Then after 50 minutes had passed the captain said that we were going to be another 50 minutes. I started getting worried about making my connection but at this point I couldn’t do much about it so I just tried to relax. Stress doesn’t do me any good.
After the second 50 minutes passed and we waited up until the 3 hour mark, the captain then came on to tell us because of federal law we had to go back to the gate. So after three hours we were not leaving Baltimore, but headed back to our gate. Awesome. I was trying to just stay focused on watching the Blind Side so I wouldn’t freak out. When we got back they said we could get off if we wanted but had to be close and be able to get back on quickly in case they got clearance to head to Atlanta soon. Since I’m not moving quickly at all lately I figured my chances were better to stay on the plane. I was close to the restroom and all that and was NOT going to get accidentally left in Baltimore. That was just not an option for me.
So I sat on the plane at the gate and then after half an hour or an hour we got clearance to take off and everyone got back on board. We finally left Baltimore for real and headed to Atlanta. The flight itself is short – maybe an hour and a half an hour long. But by this point it had been hours and my medicine was starting to wear off. When we got to Atlanta because of all the delays and problems there was no gate for our plane and we had to sit and wait. At this point I was starting to feel pain. I needed to get to my medicine and take it to stop the pain but after my first experience taking the medicine without food I knew I couldn’t do that because I would end up throwing up on everyone. Classy, right? That would just make everyone on the plane really happy.
Since we were on the ground I figured it wouldn’t take long. Of course, that turned out to be wrong. We waited for a gate for a while. Then because I was toward the back of the plane I waited to get off. By the time we were all getting off I was crying again because the pain was really bad. But I had to suck it up and go figure out the flight situation.
My flight that was supposed to be two hours took over six and instead of landing at 7:30 we landed at 11:30. I clearly missed my original flight home but when I got off the plane I was told a flight was still boarding for Memphis a few gates away. I walked there as quickly as I could. Even though I got there and it said still boarding I was told it was closed. I was then told to go wait in the line that had a thousand other stranded passengers in it. Instead I scanned my ticket at the missed ticket kiosk thing and it printed me a new pass for the 11:50 to Memphis flight from the same gate I had just been at.
Once I knew I couldn’t leave immediately I had to get food to take my medicine. I was told by three places they were closed before finding a place that had a few sandwiches left. There weren’t a lot of options but at that point I just needed something so I wouldn’t get sick with the medicine. In the grand scheme of things I probably should have done it first because of the pain, but I was trying to get out of there! The pain wasn’t a 10 so it could wait if the couple minutes meant I could get on a flight. But alas, I didn’t. Once I had some food I went back to that gate where the Memphis flight was supposedly leaving. The pain was starting to get really bad and I couldn’t help crying.
I sat there crying and eating my sandwich that I didn’t really want just so I could take the medication. While I was eating several irate passengers (some of whom I think were on my flight) came up to the desk and started yelling at the Delta employee. I felt bad for him since he had been nice, if unhelpful, to me when I talked to him. They cussed and screamed and yelled and it was actually pretty scary. I was stressing out and it caused me to start shaking while I was eating. I then took my medicine with lots of water and started pacing a little bit to try to distract myself from both the pain and the screaming angry people trying to get to Memphis. Eventually a police officer showed up and escorted some of them away and I got in line to see what was going on. While I had been sitting there the flight time had changed from 11:50 to 12:15 to nothing.
When kidney stones are moving they can really hurt. Standing in line waiting – they hurt. My medicine hadn’t kicked in yet and the pain was pretty high. I was trying not to cry while I was in line because I needed to calmly talk to the women and figure out the situation. When I finally got my turn she told me that the next flight out was at 7:35 am and she could put me on standby. She asked if I was okay staying in a hotel and I told her I didn’t have any more money (spent the last of my cash on my prescriptions + food to take them). At this point I realized I wasn’t getting home that night and I couldn’t help but cry because of the situation. The pain was finally going away because the medicine was kicking in, but at the same time I was miserable because I didn’t want to stay in Atlanta alone that night. Plus, I wasn’t guaranteed a flight the next morning. I was standby on the first three flights out the next morning if they went, but those flights were full and had all the other people who missed out first flight on standby too. I wasn’t guaranteed a seat on a flight until Tuesday. That just made me freak out and cry. It was terribly embarassing but I couldn’t help it – the stress and the pain and the whole situation was too much.
I will say that the guy behind the counter was nice and tried to help calm me down or get me medical help once I broke down and was basically having another anxiety attack. At that point I didn’t need it because my medicine was starting to work, but I just needed someone to help me calm down. A nice retired teacher named Gwen came up and hugged me and talked to me and calmed me down. I took my hotel voucher and standby tickets and we went and sat back down. I wasn’t sure what to do so I called my mom to talk and ask for suggestions. At that point I was tempted to ask her to drive down and get me.
In the middle of my phone conversation Gwen stopped me and asked if I wanted to ride back to Oxford, Mississippi with their group. They were the only calm rational people at the desk – they had been trying to get home for over a day from Honduras but weren’t being crazy about it. I thought about their idea… that ride would put me an hour away from Memphis so my mom could come get me and plus – I wouldn’t be alone. I said I would go and decided to just drive away with them rather than wait for a flight that might not happen for me until Tuesday. I wanted to just be home by that point.
They rented a car and I told my mom the plan and updated twitter (I think). I liked their little group of friends and was so grateful to be with someone who was helping me and being nice to me. Thanks to Gwen, Beth, Laurie, and Lisa (hope I spelled it right!) for letting me tag along with you guys. I had a lot of nice people help me over the weekend and I’m extremely grateful for that. I would have been a lot worse off without the help of complete strangers.
I think we officially left at 1 am or something around that. It took us a while longer than normal to make the drive home because we had to stop often and got lost and missed a turn once or twice. All in all I still was happier to be with them than stuck in the airport trying to get on a flight competing with much angrier people. They always seem to get their way while I end up missing out, so I was glad to not be stuck in the airport trying to win a losing battle. We got to Oxford and my mom got there about the same time since I had called to let her know when to come down. She picked me up and we drove back to our house. By the time I got home it was 10:30. Officially 20 hours after I left the hotel to come home and 12 hours after I should have already been home. Awesome. Long ride home indeed.
My mom called Delta for me to get my refund for the experience since I’m sure I would have just cried on the phone. She tried to get a refund for both, but they would only refund the flight I didn’t actually take. So in the end I got nothing out of it besides a refund for a flight I didn’t take. I sat on a plane crying in pain, got lied to at the airport, was offered very little and was stressed out to the max. And they gave me a refund for what I didn’t fly. Nothing else. I’m honestly shocked. I’ve never had such a bad experience with customer service with an airline. And I’m even a frequent flier with Delta! HA!! And for that? DELTA SUCKS. So thanks, Delta. I understand weather delays and problems, but how about next time you actually try to help out a little and make the experience less painful all around. Actually, no, you know what? There won’t be a next time around with you.
At least I’m now at home thankfully. I’m just happy to be here where I know my surroundings and am as comfortable as I can be. My mom and little brother have both had multiple kidney stones, so they understand and they can explain stuff to me. I still have my three little kidney stone friends with me, but for the moment they are just hanging out and behaving. I’m trying to just chill out, relax and calm down. If I think about the weekend I just get stressed out, so I’m trying to forget the bad stuff for now. I think I might even have a chick flick marathon or something that will just numb me out and make me smile, because I need it right now.
So this is the second bad recap from the fitbloggin weekend. At least none of it had to do with Fitbloggin directly. I promise I’ll try to write about some good stuff eventually. But for now I’m going to take off and try to relax. My body and I need it.