How I got From Florida to Massachusetts during the Pandemic

A Pandemic can throw off even the best planner.  If you have been a subscriber to my newsletter for a while you know I am a planner.  Not only do I plan but I think of everything that could go wrong and have a contingency plan to move forward whatever happens.  However never in my wildest dreams did I think a pandemic would come and stop me from returning to Massachusetts with my mother. 

The problem didn’t seem insurmountable in late March when I changed my flight reservations to return from May to July.  By July I was sure this virus would be over or at least it would be subsiding so we could fly home easily and safely.  Boy was I wrong!

Both my mother and I are in the high-risk group because of our age.  Add to that that my mother at 106 years has diabetes and heart failure, both of which make her even more vulnerable.  In Florida we were pretty much quarantined the whole 4 months.  I did the grocery shopping once a week and went to the pharmacy as needed.  March – May were nice months and although we had to stay in, I was able to get out and walk.  It wasn’t bad at all.

By June the weather was heating up and it was less pleasant but I was packing to return to Massachusetts so I could see the light at the end of the tunnel or so I thought.  Then the numbers of Coronavirus  cases in Florida started to climb and by July 1st things were pretty bad.  My flight was July 11th.  On July 4th my mother woke in the night screaming in pain.  First it was her back then it was her stomach but always on the left side.  I tried ice and then Tylenol.  By Monday she was still waking with pain so I called the doctor.

It was then that I learned that the doctor was only doing telemedicine and if someone needed to be seen they would have to go to the emergency room.  Hospitals in regular times are not good places to be for the elderly but in a pandemic?….   I was frightened.  If she went to the emergency room, I could not go with her and I might not see her again.  What could I do?

I contacted our primary care in Massachusetts and told him the situation.  He said he would see my mother in our home in Swampscott on Sunday, the day after we returned.  What a relief!

Then I started to feel sick and since I have no doctor in Florida, I had to go to one of those free standing urgent care places.  Scary!  They put me on an antibiotic.  Now both my mother and I were vulnerable and I was definitely scared.

I couldn’t see us going through the airport, dealing with security, and getting onto an aircraft.  I wasn’t sure either of us could make it.  What if something happened to one of us.  We’d end up in the emergency room, separated from each other and if it was me then who would care for Mom?

I decided to investigate a private medical plane online and found 2 companies that said they would do it.  They would provide transportation to the airport and a nurse from pick up, through the flight and on the drive home.  The cost would take your breath away but both companies came up with essentially the same figure.

I knew I had the money in my savings and that I could easily access it.  In that moment I decided peace of mind and our health was more important than any amount of money so I decided to go ahead with the plan. 

The company that flew us back did a good job of following through on their promises.  I had checked their reviews online but did not know anyone who had done this so I wasn’t sure what would happen.  I made all the decisions in one day so there wasn’t time to do a thorough check. 

The flight on the Learjet 35A (an 8-passenger plane) was smooth.  There were 5 people on the flight: the nurse, the pilot, the copilot, my mother, and me.  We arrived back at my home in Massachusetts in about 3.5 hours.  My son and his SO, Zoey were there to greet us.

I am very relieved to be back! 

What did I learn from this?

  1. Sometimes you can’t think of everything that can screw up your plans.  Then you have to rely on your inner strength to see you through.
  2. Before this I would have told you that in a scary situation I don’t think clearly.  That is why I am big on planning.  Now I see I can think clearly and am more confident in my ability to make good decisions when necessary.
  3. I am grateful that I had the money necessary to do this.  All the years that I worked in industry I was careful to not spend all I earned.  I’ve lived rather frugally so when I needed it the money was there.
  4. I am grateful to have friends, family and a medical team in Massachusetts to help me when I needed it.  The support of family and friends in both Florida and Massachusetts got me through this.  They encouraged me to do what was best for me.  I am eternally grateful to Dr. Barker who did come to the house to see my mother on Sunday and will return if necessary.
  5. Sometimes fear can be a good thing because it can force you to making a choice you might never have made if you weren’t scared.  I made a good choice. 

Need support making good choices during this pandemic? I can tell you from experience that talking it through with someone is helpful. Just hearing yourself describe the issue sometimes is enough to solve the problem. Coaches ask good questions to help you find your own solution. If I can help you with the issues you are wrestling with, feel free to call (781-598-0388) or email (asparker@asparker.com) me.

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