The best of a good day yesterday: Ticketmaster rang us back. TICKETMASTER RANG US BACK!!! Have you ever heard such a thing? You ring Ticketmaster to get a wheelchair ticket with company for a concert on one of the two extra days announced, on 9am sharp because that is when the sale opens. After a 10 minute wait they tell you that all the wheelchair tickets have gone, unfortunately, to people who had some mysterious code. You bring the bad news to Pádraig. A few minutes later the house phone – I mean: the HOUSE PHONE. Doe ANYBODY still ring your landline???? – the house phone rings. It’s Ticketmaster. And they got two tickets, one for a wheelchair and one for a companion, NOT for one of the additional dates, but for one of the ORIGINAL dates!!!! Which is when the scene changed radically. Of course, I was going with Pádraig. But then his sister assumed straight away that she was going. One of his PAs decided that if Pádraig needed help, she’d be available. Who is your best friend, Pádraig????
Then the journey to the airport, the journey on the plane. Never since his accident everything worked out so smoothly. The flight was, almost, a pleasure. How much better have we got, how much better has Pádraig got to manage the transfers, the sitting in a narrow seat, to stick it out for two hours on the plane.
German ‘efficiency’ stopped us in the tracks for nearly an hour, when the loaders in Hamburg decided to bring the wheelchair to the luggage area – never mind the big yellow sticker on the chair telling them to bring it to the plane where we were waiting to disembark, and hundreds of passengers were waiting to embark. For the first time, apparently, the Aer Lingus flight from Hamburg to Dublin was late. What was really admirable was the kindness, the patience and the professionalism of the crew!
Once we had found our luggage – it had been taken away after an hour circling around the luggage carousel – we were on to the S-Bahn, and from the S-Bahn to the Avis bureau in Hamburg’s Central Station.
You should have seen Pádraig in that station. He was soooo happy! He loved the buzz, the hassle, the people, many not taking trains at all but passing the night in the ‘Wandelhallen’. We passed through that station so often when Pádraig was in hospital in Hamburg. And now, he was so alert, so amazed at what was going on there, life!
Then into a Ford Tourneo for wheelchairs, slightly to small, but we managed to make Pádraig and the wheelchair fit. Quick stopover at a supermarket, like in the old days, on a weekend night on the way to the North Sea.
I was walking on clouds. How brilliant all this was is impossible to describe. And how much Pádraig enjoyed this incredible adventure of a journey that was utterly exhausting.
We tried to get the heating going in the house, tried to get the blankets out, tried to stay warm.
Today, we had a lie-in, we slept it out, took a lazy breakfast and went out food shopping.
We are still exhausted but in a happy way. What we did yesterday, what Pádraig did, was extraordinary.
He truly deserves the ticket to the U2 concert in November. And although I’d love to go with him, I think he might have a better night in the company of a younger family member…