I am back on the road, waiting for an early morning flight to Detroit, then Nagoya and then Manila. I am flying backwards in time zones until I am 13 hours ahead again – it remains difficult to wrap my head around this.

I have requested wheelchair assistance again, mostly because I cannot quite handle the long walks from gate to gate. Not knowing the places I will land, other than Detroit, this seemed like a good idea; besides it was a great experience last time, this zipping by long lines and all these hidden elevators.

Unlike the last trip, when I had an orthopedic boot on and crutches, and looked the part, this time I don’t look the part unless someone very alert notices my new rocker bottom sneakers that help with my gait. But those used to be advertised for butt firming, so who would know?

I felt a bit like a cheat when I sat down to wait for my wheelchair handler in a specially designated section of terminal A. I felt even more like a cheat when it turned out that my handler looked like he had had polio as a child, with a very crooked leg.

I learned that he was from Ethiopia. His bad leg was not the result of polio but, what we would call here medical malpractice; a leg poorly set after he broke it at the age of 8. He was living in a rural area and I could just imagine the kind of healthcare he received. He had had several operations, none of them seemed to have made things better, possibly worse. His leg will never get right. He told me it didn’t bother him anymore and that he could walk fine without pain. That made me feel better, and less embarrassed about being pushed by a limper.

He too, like Khin I wrote about yesterday, got his visa through the lottery and just received his American nationality. He is in the process of getting his wife here and then, he smiled, there will be children!

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March 2014
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