Travel Fun

Today Maggie’s first words to me were “Wanna go for a walk with the dogs?”  And a nice walk it was.  Kali did great and Niko, well, she’s just a sweetheart.  Upon our returned we celebrated the outing with homemade smoothies, mine with protein mix and hers with fruit..  About one hour later, and very suddenly, Maggie’s smoothie was up and into the sink.  🙁  Later, while waiting for lunch at The Hub (our new-ish local diner), it happened again except more violent.  We took our lunch to go and left wondering why.

She’s not on chemo.  Her pain pump is dialed pretty low, we think.  She hadn’t just hit a bolus*  She didn’t bend at the waist.  Very frustrating, this throwing up bit.  I’m hesitant to complain too loudly because we’ve had a pretty good run recently.  To have a two-incident day be source of irritation is a nice change.  The question that burns in our brains the most is simply why?

*  Bolus means “Gimme a little kicker” and has been known to occasionally trigger sudden nausea.

We’re still working out travel plans for the new treatment.  Southwest has a dandy web-only special to Houston for $39 one-way, if bought a few weeks in advance.  $80 round trip even with two cab rides isn’t terrible.  I’m not sure it’d be cheaper to drive.**  The flights closer to the current date run about $120 to $170 round trip, half that for one-ways.  The catch with the flights is having to make all up-front purchases at the risk of our schedule changing so dramatically.  We’re going to test out how it goes on the 12th and, if all goes well, at least purchase a few flights.

**  Ok, my primal urgings got the best of me so I did a quick cost-analysis on each travel choice.  Assuming gas is around $1.60 a gallon and we average 20 MPG, it would cost about $0.22 per mile, all said and done whereas it would cost about $0.55 per mile to fly with the cheap tickets.  So there.  Now we know.  (Want to check my math? )

Her travel schedule as it stands today:
1/11 – 1/13 – drive
1/15        – fly   $170
1/19        – fly   $120
1/22 – 1/23
1/26        – fly   $80
1/29 – 1/30
2/2         – fly   $80
2/5         – fly   $80
2/9         – fly   $80  
2/12        – fly   $80
2/16        – fly   $80
2/18 – 2/20

The daily Southwest flight schedule to Houston doesn’t vary so her travel would be, roughly, from 11:00AM to about 10:00PM.  Her treatment lasts, we’ve been told, about two hours and is scheduled at 2:00PM.  Unfortunately, she’d have to wait for the last Southwest flight out at 8:50PM.  We may jigger her appointment schedule a little so she could catch the 4:40PM flight which would change her travel schedule to 9:30AM – 5:30PM.  Driving, on the other hand, would put her schedule at 9:30AM – 8:30PM.

We called Southwest to ask for a cancer special but they told us that they give away a certain number of free flights a year directly to institutions with MD Anderson being one of the main recipients.  We’ve got a call into MD Anderson but, despite our oppressive travel schedule, I feel almost terrible even suggesting that we be offered one of those flights.  Many people need those flights more than we do.

We also called a service that matches corporate jet use to people in need of transportation but we haven’t heard back.  Maybe there’s some muckity-muck Austin feller or misses that travels fancy-like to Houston frequently and wouldn’t mind sharing the ride.  Winds of change may be blowing in our face for that type of assistance, though.  Both the economic pressure from shareholders and newly-issued calls for charity-flight regulations could dry up that method of travel.

Today, much more than the other day, this all seems quite doable, like it’s going to be no biggie.  It’s just one more piece of this crazy adventure.

12 thoughts on “Travel Fun

  1. I have a free flight on Southwest that you are more than welcome to use. The reward seats are restricted, so it may be one that you book quite a few days out. I’ll be happy to look if ya’ll let me know what dates.

    1. Thank you, Sarah. Your offer is very generous. Let us see how we do on the 12th and then, if things go well, we may take you up on your offer. Thank you again.

  2. I’m scheduled to go to Houston/Galveston (not sure which area yet) leaving on the 14th and returning to Austin on the 18th. I’ll probably be traveling with someone from work, but if Maggie doesn’t mind staying one night in Houston, she is more than welcome to catch a ride to Houston with me. My hubby works for Sheraton/Westin and I can see about getting the employee rate for one of those nights if Maggie wants to stay…let me know!

    1. Thank you so much, Wendy. You are very kind to offer your assistance. We’ve decided that Maggie will stay in Houston until Thursday so she’ll only need a trip back.

  3. I’d be happy to come down for a few days to provide transportation down to Houston and back. I’d only need a few days advance notice to rescheduled meetings and stupid stuff like that. I’m a pretty decent driver … don’t think we were in a wreck even once when you were growing up (although we did have one particularly memorable close call!) 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mom.

      We are trying to map out plans for the next six weeks so that no one has to make any sudden adjustments. Once we see how the 12th goes we’ll have a better understanding of what expect in the future.

  4. Hey there Chris & Maggie, I have a long-time friend in Houston who is a private pilot. I just dropped him an email to see if there is anything he knows of as far as private planes going back and forth from Austin to Houston that might be of assistance. Fingers crossed! 🙂

  5. Hi Chris, not sure if you even remember me from high school, but I found your site through your mom on Facebook. My name is Racheal Pulver (used to be Honea). I live in Round Rock just north of Austin. To say the least, you and your wife’s story is very inspiring. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

    Rach

  6. Hey Chris and Maggie! Criselda and I just wanted to wish yall a happy new year. You are both in our prayers and our daily thoughts. My dad drives back and forth to Houston every week. He normally leaves on Thursday morning and returns Monday morning. I need to talk to him about it, but we could probably arrange taxing you guys. Lets talk this week and see what we can work out. It would be an honor for me to be able lend a helping hand. Keep your spirits up and remember God has both of you in his hands and your are a big part of his master plan. You guys are a blessing to me and I cant help but love yall for the way you have changed my life.
    Jake

  7. Chris,
    I wasn’t too sure if you would remember me. Mickey Frazier I used to live in Barnhart.I have been so moved by your story. Don’t ever give up. Your love and Maggie’s strength is inspiring to us all. I don’t live nearby you but please know that my thoughts and prayers will be with you everyday!
    God Bless you both,
    Mickey

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