Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Flying with an Implant

Flying is a giant pain for me. I suspect becoming a curmudgeon has much to do with it, but being deaf plays a huge fun stopping role in flying for me.

From the questions in the security line up by the "rent-a-cops" in their nice crisp Transport Canada uniforms to the mumbling overhead speakers that may or may not be announcing a gate change for my flight; I am not liking the ride as a cochlear implanted passenger!

I don't do a whole lot of it these days, and that is fine by me. The Toronto Airport is nice for about the first 3 visits and then you realize that traveling is A) not fun, and B) expensive and C) scary for the hearing impaired.

Parking is a silly ritual where you drive for up and down and back and forth in search of a spot until you realize that you have to drive to the end of the lot then go up the ramp until the air is thin and the roof disappears. Once you come to grips that you will have snow on your car when you return from your trip, you head out on the incredible journey to find the elevator.

About an hour or so into the discovery mission and realizing that you have backtracked and passed your own car about a dozen times, I consider canceling my flight for the third or forth time that day, as I have left the cozy confines of my our lovely home and my beautiful wife only to sit in Toronto traffic that starts and midnight and lasts about 23 hours. The trick would be I assume is to, is to try and guess the hour of non chocked up blocked roads. I always guess wrong.

Once parked and terminal found, the security anxiety kicks in. Will I get away with a carry on of the tiniest tube of toothpaste known to man, or will Helga the SS security person toss it out as it it can be squeezed into an unsuspecting pilots eyes (do they not lock the doors to the flight deck?)

They speak in low voices with accents and look away when the ask "oeuo iueopu jo duieu?"
" Pardon?" I say "
I have a hearing impairment can you look at me when you speak?"
Suspicion looms as they now think I am indeed a terrorist with an explosive magnet on my head.

I slowly reach for my wallet and pull out my "Advanced Bionics " card that states "This person has an implanted medical device; Cochlear Implant model # ci-144-02h

I get past checkpoint Charlie and head to departure area.
Overhead speakers say something or other. I never had figured out how any CI person can hear them. Not even sure if any of us do. So I go to nice airline employee and explain my deal.
"Cant hear, need help with announcements"

Get on plane, happy I got the bulkhead seat with all the extra space because it is an emergency exit. I love that seat as I get to stretch a bit.

Airline attendant comes by to explain the rules of what to do if a big old nasty flame happens in flight etc. I know the drill, have heard it many times.
She notices the magnet on my head and asks me to remove my "Bluetooth headset"
I explain about the blessings of a cochlear implant and how science and technology have given the deaf a hearing life.

"If your deaf you cant sit here" Helga's sister tells me.

I get bumped to a middle seat somewhere south of Mexico. So far in the back that it takes me half an hour to exit upon landing.

So at 10,000 feet in the air, the in-flight video/ GPS in front of me reads we are between Sault St Marie and Sioux Look Out.
I ask our flight attendant, Sue, how many more ways are there to spell Sue/Sioux/Sault? "Sue me" she says. " I don't know" she says.
"Why do you have a bluetooth headset on during flight" she snarls.

So I explain the wonders of ...........

I not that the outside temp at 10,495 ft is - (minus) 63 degrees Fahrenheit. I think at that point F and Celsius meet and greet! I wonder if snot crystallizes at this temp. I don't want to know.

Flying is fun going to Cancun for a week in the sun.
Flying to a cold clime in Canada in November is not fun!

Landing is nice, as I feel safe and sound....until I risk the perils of the Rent-a-Car people and the 101 questions about how can the deaf drive.




Kay Dennison said...

Have fun!!!! Delighted to see you are well!!! I miss your posts!!!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Do you get increased tinnitus from flying as well? My friend here (only one ear with implant) really suffered from her last cross-country travel.
I've avoided flying since they increased the security (is it really?) and will probably continue to avoid it for a while.
Hope you get another tropical vacation soon!

Government Funded Blogger said...

Enjoyed your post Dave . After travelling to the Left coast last Spring I have come to the conclusion that each airport in Canada is a miniature police state.Going through security at Pearson I thought that I was flying out of Bangladesh because of the number of east asian rent-a-cops who struggled with English there.

Dee said...

Oddly enough I want to go viait Canada in the winter. I don't know why but I do. It could be that I have just never been there and oh year I love French.

hot girl said...

nice blog.

Annieofbluegables said...

I hope you had a Merry Christmas. I'm sorry they were all so mean to you. The worst part was losing that nice seat. ::shakes head::