Tuesday, 30 June 2009

At my most vulnerable

Unable and incapable

I found myself in a place I never want to return to again, suffering from shingles but thankfully without the pain or the itch I was weakened to the point of vulnerable helplessness.

My being in Berlin for a long weekend only had me do something useful for just 2 of the days I was there, my hotel room was more a recluse but I had the pleasure of meeting Olumide of Loomnie.com though warning him first that if he had never had chicken pox before I was a seriously great risk.

We went to a Nigerian restaurant called Fifty-Fifty at Mainzerstraβe 17, not too far from Boddingstraβe underground station, unfortunately their website does not reflect their activities.

The atmosphere was mellow, the music was good and the food was excellent, the service was also very nice, our outlet here in Amsterdam just cannot compare on all those levels – one will return there but rarely to the one in Amsterdam.

On Sunday, I was completely put out, I had strength for nothing, my flight back home the next day was to be very late because I had planned to do things on the Monday – I could not face that tomorrow that I had to book an earlier flight back home.

It was becoming so obvious that I needed help, my taxi driver walked up to get my luggage, my voice was failing from weakness, and this was not I.

All the help I could get

When I got to the airport, the check-in for my flight was running late, at one time, I was crouched down, then kneeling down; the check-in clerk came round from his side of the desk to lift my luggage unto the belt.

After I was checked-in, the clerk asked if I would like some assistance to get to the plane, in my condition I obliged and at that point I realised, I had never been so vulnerable and helpless like that ever.

I like my comforts, I like service, but they are all as a result of a strong disposition for things being taken care of with expertise, professionalism and well, service.

A realisation in self-pity

As I turned away to go to the lounge, I just broke into tears, the clerk had phoned up the lounge to take care of me, arranged a wheelchair service to take me to the plane, arranged for a caddy to meet up with me in Amsterdam and help me to whatever transport I required.

When I got to the lounge, the lady was expecting me, as I sat down she came over to serve me a drink which again exposed my vulnerability, but she was cool about it and said she was there to help.

45 minutes later, the wheelchair arrived, I was through customs sat in the wheelchair, into a goods lift and then onto a bus because the plane was not on any of the airport gangways. I was first on the plane and others joined some minutes later.

An inaccessible airport

I could not eat but I drank lots of tonic water, the flight was smooth and comfortable, when we arrived in Amsterdam, I had to wait for most passengers to get off. The airport caddy took my rucksack and walked me to the concourse vehicle that I rode to the lift near baggage reclaim.

Interestingly, I have noted many times before, the airport at Schiphol is not fully accessible, I do wonder how those who are more incapacitated make it round the airport.

The caddy helped collect my suitcase and walked me to the taxi-rank where I got a taxi home. My neighbours let me in and prepared a pot of soup for me.

The night was quite easy, one thing I have noticed is when I am ill, I just have periods where I am completely helpless and suddenly I feel strengthen and able to do usual things.

The shingles are now moving past the blister stage to the drying-up stage, I have been spared the pain or maybe I have a higher pain threshold than I thought I had.

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