Ori (our one year old), Ellen, Myself, Liana and Mira travelled to Thailand on the thirteenth of February and returned on the seventh of March. The trip required extensive planning helped by our friend Gosia and generous essential financial support towards the cost of carers’ flights from the Cavendish Spencer Trust.
We flew with British Airways who were helpful and organised. My physical condition (C3/4 tetraplegic paralysed from the shoulders down) means I am completely immobile and don’t have voluntary control of my four limbs. Therefore I am completely dependent on carers, assistants and mobility aids to transport me. I boarded the plane by transferring with a 4-point sling from my electric chair (which I control using a head-switch array) to an aisle chair (a glorified wheelbarrow narrow enough to squeeze me down an aeroplane aisle). Transferring onto a standard aeroplane seat by being lifted (with sling) unceremoniously by two ground crew assistance personnel.
Throughout the 11-hour trip Liana and Mira alternated in providing me with pressure relief (leaning side to side and forward in order to revive blood circulation and alter pressure on my bottom in order to avoid the development of pressure sores) and making sure there were no creases in my clothing (also a potential cause of pressure sores). This was in addition to helping me keep hydrated and fed. We attached a night bag to my leg bag halfway through the flight to ensure the leg bag didn’t overfill.
We hired an accessible van from Bangkok for the airport transfers and some days throughout the stay with a friendly driver “Eh”. The accessible rental company would not hire the vehicle without driver due to the inherent risks of an unfamiliar driver on the wild roads of Bangkok. After a not so amusing game of vehicle packing Tetris we drove from Bangkok to our accommodation in Pattaya.
During our stay we attended celebrations of my brother and his wife Rn’s relationship and their daughter Sophia enjoyed time with her cousin Ori, spending lots of time playing in swimming pools and at the “na jomtien” beach.
We went on a boat trip and saw some remote islands (and lots of monkeys) accompanied by a very fast jet ski which my brother Oliver mastered control of. I transferred into the boat again with the 4-point sling by being lifted by 4 people on side of the boat, my manual chair being transferred into the back of the boat (placed perpendicular to the direction of motion of the boat) and then from the side of the boat into the wheelchair. Transferring into the water similarly by resting on the side of the boat before being lowered over the edge into the water. Returning into the boat I was aided by 2 people pushing up my legs and bottom from underneath and another 2 people lifting up from inside the boat so that I could rest on the side before being transferred back into the chair.