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An Injured American In Paris: Maitaitom's Christmas Miracle Trip

An Injured American In Paris: Maitaitom's Christmas Miracle Trip

Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:04 PM
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An Injured American In Paris: Maitaitom's Christmas Miracle Trip

(To fully explain the “miraculous” part of our journey, I am forced to give you details of events leading up to it. This is a story about the importance of really good friends, the extreme kindness of absolute strangers, the love of an incredible wife and the dumb perseverance of yours truly. Finally, it is about my favorite city on earth, Paris.)

PRELUDE TO A MIRACLE
It was 11 p.m., and as I attempted to get up from the dinner table at our friends’ dinner party on that Saturday night, I came to a very terrible and unsettling realization; it was 36 hours before our flight to Paris, and I was literally unable to walk.

Now, usually that would mean I had consumed too much wine or had downed one (or two) extra martinis earlier in the evening, but that was (unfortunately) not the case. In August, I had undergone arthroscopic surgery on my right knee, and after some physical therapy, I had been absolutely fine…until earlier that day when I felt a slight twinge of pain. That slight twinge had now turned into incredible, sharp pain. I could not bend my leg without groaning (ok, I yelled a little bit). Timing is everything!

Having suffered rheumatoid arthritis since I was in my mid 30s, I am pretty immune to most pain, however the pain I felt that night surpassed my worst days of RA (I’ve been on a great med since the late 90s, and I have felt great for the past eight years, but I’ll never forget the pain I endured those 12 previous years).

On Sunday morning (after a night of no sleep), I gimped down to my local Urgent Care in the faint hope I might see a doctor who has practiced medicine for more than a few months. As usual, Urgent Care lived down to my lowest expectations, and the doctor could not figure out what was wrong, so he gave me a pain shot that was completely useless. It was now 23 hours until our flight.

When I got home, Tracy was packing (hopefully to go with me and not leave me. I will usually come up with any reason not to pack, but feigning a crippled person (a lame idea, don’t you think) is not one of them. For the rest of that day, we grappled with the thought of not going, but we had the hotel booked for eight nights, and our plane reservations were made through Priceline, so God knows if we’d ever see any of that money again. Canceling the trip could cost me two to three thousand dollars (that’s a lot of vin rouge). On the bright side, weather.com said the next week should be sunny in Paris.

After another night of little or no sleep, I woke up at 6 a.m. on the day of our flight and tried one last desperate measure. I called a local doctor (unfortunately my RA doc and Orthopedic doctor were not possible to see and get to the airport in time that morning). I had been to this local doctor before on numerous occasions and thought for sure he would give me a shot of cortisone to ease the pain of the journey. My leg was actually worse than the day before.

To my dismay (and my orthopedic doctor’s dismay when I related the story to him upon my return), he would not do it, but said, “Hey maybe since you are in such pain, they will put you in first class.” At the time, to say the least, I was pretty upset. Fortunately, the cats were already on vacation and didn’t see my display of temper.

I could barely get my leg in the car, and Tracy asked one more time, “Are you sure we should really go?” The smart answer would, of course, have been “no”, but I have never been all that smart. In my best Gary Gilmore impersonation (at the time, I think I would have been happy if someone did shoot me), I said, “Let’s do it!”

As Tracy drove to the airport, I thought about the movie, Star Trek: Wrath of Khan (Vicodin does strange things to people). Thinking about his dead comrade (well, at least for part of another movie), Kirk remembered something Spock had told him, “There are always possibilities.” At this point in time, I was hoping there were possibilities for me, but none were top of mind at the moment.

After parking, and as the shuttle brought us to the terminal at LAX, I realized this trip was going to severely test my motto of “Enjoy The Journey. Attitude Is Everything.”

Dragging our luggage toward the Air Tahiti check-in, I began thinking, “This could be the dumbest decision I have ever made in my life (and believe me, I’ve made a ton of bad ones).” As the bags disappeared on the conveyor belt, I realized we had passed the point of no return. For better or worse, it was Paris, here we come!

COMING UP – DAYS ONE AND TWO: NIGHTMARE AT 38,000 FEET, DAWN OF THE DEAD, THE FERRIS IN PARIS AND THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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Geez, do we have to wait?
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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Well, you have me hooked.
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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More! More!
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:19 PM
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Oh, poor Maitaitom. How distressing to start a trip in pain, but I'm happy to know that a miracle awaits us along the way.
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Oh, dear, get to the really bad part and get it over with, so you can tell us something good. Joan
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Ready for another holiday miracle.
More please, and soon!
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Glad to hear that a miracle is forthcoming, but my first thought was, boy, is this ever a good example of why trip insurance is a good thing to have...
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:40 PM
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maitaitom - another of your typical trip reports! You have me hooked.
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:42 PM
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We're waiting... =D>
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:44 PM
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I'd rather be in pain in Paris than at home!
I hope you're feeling better now.
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Coincidentally I just posted today "Where is MaiTaiTom's Trip Report" and when I signed on this afternoon, there it was! However, I am sooooo sorry about the beginning of your trip. Please quickly give us the next installment! I've (we've) been waiting to hear from you. Glad you're back in one piece! Can't wait to hear the miraculous!

joy/luvparee
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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Maitaitom,

I have been waiting for this report. Sorry it started in a painful way.
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:48 PM
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OK Tom...don't tease us like this...you have this way about you that gets us sucked into your stories...and we just have to know the rest!!!
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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We are all waiting..I say as I am feeling impatient..I hope you can post the next installment today. What a cliff hanger. And I am cringing thinking about how stressed you two must have felt plus the pain in you leg. But the title sounds encouraging thankfully!
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 01:50 PM
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Not to waylay the thread, but although I'm very much in favor of trip insurance, I'm not sure it would have worked in this case, because I think the problem that MaiTaiTom had was related to a pre-existing condition. I am sorry you had to endure so much pain!
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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This trip report is salve for the wounds of being cooped up with the phenomenon called "winter" here in Texas...hurry up, man!
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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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Yes Hazel, trip insurance would have been a good idea, but.....

willtravel....as it turned out, this was not due to a pre-existing condition (details in the future), but I did not know that at the time.

all the rest...Thanks. I remember the hard thing abut starting these reports is you have to keep writing the next installment. I did the first one during lunch at work, but all my trip notes are at home.


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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 02:13 PM
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well, at least he lived to write this report, so we know nothing terrible happened (and from the title).

I never prepay anything so I would have cancelled and paid a change fee on the air ticket. However, trip insurance probably would have worked as long as it was bought in the right time period and was the right policy as many do waive preexisting conditions as long as you buy within a short time period of your money outlay. I had one last summer (Travelex) that did. I def. would have bought one if I knew I had surgery not long before and had a bum knee, and was prepaying hotels (well maybe maitatom can say why he didn't buy any).

at least he has a good attitude.

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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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Christina, I didn't prepay the hotel, but it had a seven night cancellation policy, so I would have to pay many of the nights. Maybe if I had given them a sob story, they might have reduced my damage.

As for why no insurance, it was minor arthroscopic surgery. I was fine and back playing basketball by Labor Day. I didn't book the flight until November, and there was really no reason to think anything would happen with my knee (as I said, my RA has been in check - Enbrel - for years), because it had felt good for3 1/2 months.

As you'll see later, this stupid knee event had nothing to do with RA or my summer surgery, but the timing could not have been worse. On the flip side, however, if it hadn't happened, I don't know what I would have named my trip report.



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