Saturday, November 12, 2011

Planes, trains and automobiles... We had a brilliant trip!

Well our epic 6 day adventure is coming to a close.... I'm typing this on the plane on the way home... Lol! So not home yet.

Well on Friday we headed for Toronto. Oatie and I hired a car, and drove to buffalo... We got held up at the border as we didn't cross where we wanted to... So ended up at the busier border crossing...

Anyway we sat in the queue for 45 minutes there was only 3 people in front of us... Meanwhile about 30 cars went by in the other lanes lol!

When it was our turn... We had to go in the office because we're British Citizens.... And explain the poppy (I was wearing)

Well we arrived at our hotel, it boasted being handicapable friendly.... Well they tried very hard... But..... The luggage cart was the worst I've ever used. Having one hand on Oaties wheels and the other on the cart it was almost impossible to push/pull both.... It took 20 mins to just get into our room...

They tried very hard with the bathroom and the drapes etc.

We grabbed some food and then we crashed for the night... Instead of Buffalo taking 1.5 hours it took 4.5 hours....

The next morning we got ready for our skating fitting/ session.

We got to the rink early we were very excited. We visited a lovely lady called Elizabeth runs it and she runs it non profit. Elizabeth designed the skates and the walkers and the skates are made by Riedell by hand....

They have non weight bearing walkers to person who needs minimal support... Oatie got the middle walker... One that has a bar he can sit on.... But doesn't have the slingseat.

There are different skates... One for CP, one for Wearers of foot braces and the other for people with problems with their feet.

Oatie got the CP skates....

Elizabeth was brilliant! She brought like 11 pairs of skates to get the best fit for Oatie... She brought two ice walkers for Oatie to try... And one harness.

Then, we tried on the gear. And got it ready for the session for handicapable people. Elizabeth's weekly ice programme.

Then it was time for Oatie to get kitted up.

Then, we waited by the end rink door.... Lovely rink it had a nice disabled ramp down to the ice surface.

The ice programme was amazing, they have one to one or two to one aide per skater. Most volunteers are teens or young adults. There was a huge range of physical ability. There were some kids who started with Elizabeth when they were two and now skating around independently.

The format was lovely. First they shout their mantra. I can skate it and I can do it. There were three groups and the end with parachute and ball kicking.

So then two volunteers and Elizabeth came to help us on the ice... All I can say is WOW! Oatie LOvED it!

They thought he'd skate 5 steps and then need a rest... But not Oatie... He skated for a whole hour!

Oatie weaves in and out of the the pylons/cones.

Then we played a parachute game and then after it was ball kicking. Oatie really didn't want to leave the ice... So while I looked online at our rec centre and saw that there are some spaces in the parent and tot.... So Oatie is now signed up for this Monday!

So after that we grabbed our bags and headed back across the border. What was nice was when we came across the border the immigration officer said "welcome home" and it does feel like home...

So we toughed out the Toronto traffic back to the airpot to return our hire car...

Where I met my cousin in the parking lot. So we headed back to my aunts and uncles house which was absolutely wonderful. I haven't been to their house for 19 years. We spent two nights there.

We had a great time with our family. I went shopping with my little cousin and Oatie tried some bubble tea.

My uncle dropped us off at the Toronto downtown station on Monday Morning.

Well they have dug up all around the station so my uncle waited with Oatie while I went and found a porter who was fantastic. (Via Rail) she came and walked 5 mins to get my bags. Helped us to get our tickets and even get our bags checked in.

The journey was about 5 hours. The train was great with a snack cart service and free wifi and power cables so we had a great time.

When we got to Dorval, they have a shuttle to Trudeau airport. A via rail porter gets your bags and puts them on the shuttle. The driver was so nice he even took us to the car rental side which he didn't have to at all..... Even with Oatie shouting hommmmeee massssssss (ohh Mannnnn) from Swiper the fox in Dora the explorer.... At every corner and also shouting out you're driving too fast.....

The car rental person was great... He even loaded our bags, and the we headed off to the hotel that we often stay. Heavy traffic took us 1.5 hours to reach it rather than 35 mins.

The next day we set off for our ABR session and had a brilliant day. We met two families that we've trained with before and met 3 other families which was lovely. We now do 3 sessions... So we did one each day.

Oatie's progress was really good but I wasn't expecting a huge leap as I had been so ill this year with the lump. But there are still significant changes from the ABR machine. And still a major improvement which goes to show that the machine really does work...

On Wednesday we had lunch with another ABR family which was lovely to catch up on the past 6 months.

Hello to Sue and Noah xox

On Tuesday Oatie's preschool aide popped into our hotel to see Oatie.... (the amazing lovely wonderful aide)

He was so excited to see Oatie and Oatie was right back... So much so that after an hour Oatie asked to sit on his lap and fell asleep on him... Oatie was out for the count for 5 hours and woke at midnight... So I gave him a light supper and put him back to bed... Lol!

Our exercises are mainly on oats back with one on the neck and one on the head.

We learned how to use the eggs which is really exciting.

We've had a brilliant training session and they really have catered our exercises to our home setup.

I just need to get going when we get back with it....

So we had another nice person at the car rental. As soon as he realized that Oatie was special... He told me not to offload the car as he then dropped us off right outside the checkin desk door... So that was amazing. Oatie fell asleep in the car and had a huge screaming fit so WestJet were lovely... They basically took our bags early helped us push his ice walker and car seat to the oversized baggage belt and were really lovely.

So we're on the plane on our way home. Oatie has been totally amazing he's travelled so well it's amazing!

What I still can't get over is all the really nice people who couldn't do enough to help me or JJ. On our last visit where he was harder to manage not being able to stand at all and I needed more help... Just one soldier and a cab driver who were just so amazing, who I'm still thankful today for their help.

This time... I've had a nice car rental guy who took our cart to the car in Toronto... Elizabeth's team and volunteer army in Buffalo... Lovely porter at Via Rail Toronto... and in fact brilliant staff... Lovely shuttle bus driver in Montreal... and a nice passer by who pushed our delinquent cart to the car hire desk to this guy getting and loading our car for us... To one of the other ABR families who we had lunch with and it was walking distance from the centre... Who's dad insisted on carrying Oatie back for me to give my arms a break...To the nice car returning guy who dropped us off in the car outside the terminal in Montreal. To the lovely west jet staff who did a brilliant time checking us in with the loudest tantrum that Oatie's had in public for 15 months and were just so nice.

So there are some nice people out there... I think I've just had a lifetimes quota in 6 days...


  1. Quite an adventure I'd say! I love all of the details, pictures - my favorite, of course, is Oatie on skates (precious, precious). You and Oatie did it! He's on skates AND he continues to progress in spite of the curves life constantly throws our way. You really are willing to move mountains for your children - very impressive my friend.
    Love to all - Sharon

  2. That sounds like such a fun trip! I love that last picture at the end, his face is lit up like a Roman Candle. I love it!! And there is no better place like home. I'm glad you're home (almost) and safe and sound.

  3. Dear Sharon & Lizbeth,

    I have to say, it was a wonderful adventure but it is nice to be home :)

    Oatie and I had so much fun together, he truly is a great travel companion...

    Another wonderful ABR family was feeling bad about their hours, and Sharon I told them what you told me...

    I still can't believe we did all that in 6 days... and I managed to drive where I drove and co-ordinate it all... and pack and repack repeatedly! (airlines very strict on weight of bags, so distributing all of that... and packing my skates and all of Oatie's skating gear was a bit tricky lol!

    So much fun and tomorrow it's his first skating class ...

  4. So, now you're home and you can hopefully take a bit of a break...takes us a week to get over the exhaustion of the ABR trip and training...must be that we are so much older. BTW, Oatie looks just great and I am so happy to see him on the skates.

  5. Dear Phil,

    Meeee toooo! A week! On the one hand it is nice to be home and have your creature comforts back, like not washing up in a tupperware bowl for a week! (although our dishwasher died at home lol!)

    But on the other my lovely hubby let the housework slip so I walked in the door and went O.M.G....!!!!!! (to captain caveman) so nothing that a mini cleaning squad and me and my hubby couldn't sort out for MOST of the next day lol!

    But I so agree.... today I'm wanting to be raring to go...but I'm tired and Oatie's tired.

    I know it's funny isn't it. you do more ABR hours a day than you do in training, but find it more exhausting... and well I usually do the 2-3 in a day prelump... and well I find 3 hours Exhausting there... like when we return to our hotel, I'm ready for a nap!

    Sorry I was out of touch for a week (Phil, Sharon and Lizbeth) but my apple keyboard died during the trip :( and two finger typing on the ipad was way too much work lol!



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