Las Trampas client Jeff and his sister Amy overcame their obstacles to enjoy the summer trip of a lifetime together. Any recounts their trip and reveals how she makes every minute count for both her and her brother.
Just this past summer, my brother Jeff and I went on a couple of great trips. Jeff slept most of the way through our flight, after figuring out how to use the fold down tray for his favorite drink in the world wait for it, COFFEE!
At the beginning of our journey in the Hudson Valley, my brother, Cliff, picked up our tents at REI. From that point on, we began our camping adventure which lasted the entire 3-day, 3-night festival – something Jeff had never experienced before. The nights were dark and it was hard to find the porta potties, but Jeff and I did pretty well. He slipped and fell once though which prompted me to ask myself: would he do better with a wheel chair?
On our way to the Falcon Ridge Festival, my brother Cliff picked up his tent at REI which was at the beginning of the Hudson Valley. Jeff and I camped all through the festival for 3 days and 3 nights, something we had never had before. You can tell from the photos that he really embraced the hot days filled with trekking back and forth to camp. He was a real champ.
Public transport can be a challenge. For instance, you always have to take the stairs to the subway. Moving down the aisle of an airplane can be a challenge as well. It is getting more and more difficult to get a “handicapped” seat on a plane, so I always get a seat at the back, closest to the bathroom. Another challenge, Bathroom accidents. I always carry diaper wipes and extra underwear and pants. New York City in general is tough as it is an older city with uneven sidewalks (I’m always on the look-out for “trip factors”, stairs, doorways that have awkward steps, etc.)
I think Jeff really enjoys the fact that he doesn’t have to be in a wheelchair however, now I always request a wheelchair at the airport. When we go to Disneyland or Universal Studios we always rent a wheelchair. I have noticed that as Jeff gets older, he moves slower, so we always allow a lot of extra time. Lighter shoes help (crocs are great), easier for his paralyzed side.
We played and swam in the Atlantic Ocean on Long Beach Island and on the bay side of Cape Cod, in the Lakes in Vermont and the hotel pool. I see my brother in the water and it hits me, he can glide through the water weightlessly. What a wonderful feeling for my brother who has Cerebral Palsy.
We visited friends, drank beer together, and picked raspberries. We managed to have a family vacation, after which we all loved one other even more than before.
My advice to other families traveling with a loved one with special needs is to plan ahead. Check in often with your loved ones as new environments can be intimidating. Jeff’s social skills are lacking, he often gets very shy, looks down, that sort of thing. So, we practice “greetings, saying his name, etc.” We make sure to rest well.
Jeff was most impressed with the fact we had camped in a cow field. He said now I can check that off my bucket list.” Me too, now that I think about it.