Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I have seen and personally experienced this problem on United too many times to believe it is not caused by a lack of caring.  They diverted a flight from Houston to Portland to Salt Lake because of a disruption from a child with autism.

The child cannot communicate what she wants to eat so it is a challenge.  The parents came prepared with her favorite snacks.  They tried to get her to eat something in Houston during the lay over.

The problem developed when the flight attendant refused to heat up a chicken sandwich.  Apparently the child prefers hot meals.  The flight attendant refused saying it would become soggy.  Eventually a hot first class meal was provided.  Mind you - it is not a question of asking for something free.  United charges for its meals.  I believe I typically pay about $8.00 for the chicken sandwich.

The family eventually made it home - but the entire thing maybe could have been averted had the flight attendant simply had an ounce of sympathy and done what she was asked to do.

I fly way more than I want to fly.  I can tell you the flight attendants on United range from awesome kind sympathetic people to brutal jerks who know they can make your life a living hell because they control the cabin.

Here is the autism story.

If you have health problems travel is increasingly becoming a problem.  During my B-Day trip to NY I checked my bag with my Androgel because I did not want to have to explain to the TSA agent again what it is used for and how it is used.  Their questions can be invasive and embarrassing in front of everyone on line waiting to get through.  As it is people get frustrated that I have to remove my entire CPAP so each part can be inspected.   Well when my luggage was lost, I was left without my testosterone replacement therapy.  So in the future I will just suffer the humiliation of the TSA agents asking a thousand questions.  The law is clear.  If there is a proper prescription label on the bottle it gets through.

When United and Continental merged flying became difficult for me.  The 757 middle seat on each leg has a regular electrical outlet plug.  I cannot sleep without my CPAP.  I follow the rules and notify United in advance so that my particular devise can be cleared for use on the plane.  Well since the merger I am told every  time they cannot accommodate me because United will not put the plugs on the 737's which is the plane they now use instead of the 757 for the Houston NY flights.

When I returned from Peru I intentionally chose the Red Eye so that I would have one full day to myself in Lima.  I followed the rules and was assured the middle seat had an electrical outlet.  When I got on the plane I checked it and it was not working.  There were at least 10 flight attendants on the plane travelling back to the US as passengers.  I asked that I be switched to a seat with a working plug.  I was told no and in fact one of the passenger flight attendants made a snot nose remark about my request in addition to making a comment about me walking with a cane. 

The flight attendant assigned to my part of the plane got in a fight with an elderly lady and delayed the take off because he would not return to the plane until she was removed.  He lost.  He was mad at me for making a stink about the plug and I found several bags of earphones being dumbed on me by the jerk.

My complaint to United was dismissed.  They simply said they comply with federal and international law on the issue of CPAP's.  I had to stay awake the entire 6 hour flight from midnight until about 6 a.m.

At Newark airport good luck finding a United employee who gives a damn.  I cannot walk the distance from the gate I arrive at to the elevator I use to get to the train to take me into Penn in NYC before transferring to Eastern Long Island.  They just ignore you when you ask for a ride.

When my miles with United run-out I am going with American.  United clearly does not see health or disability issues as issues they care about.


Anonymous said...

"I cannot walk the distance from the gate . . . . "

When did this happen? I remember reading an article by you where you walked a great distance from your home to I believe Pep Boys' in flip flops in a record time of something like 23 minutes or so in the middle of summer. Are you physically now unable to walk like you did before? If so, indeed you do need to take care of yourself and keep all your doctor's appointments.

BobbyWC said...

That was before a bunch of procedures on my back. They helped a lot. Now it is just a big challenge with the breathing. But I did walk to Pep Boys - but not in record time - and I did have to stop a couple of times.

An airport is different when you are caring things with you. I always have my CPAP, laptop [now source pro] and carry on.

In Houston I ask for a ride and I get it. I tell them in Brownsville I will need a ride to the rail to change terminals and I always have one. But in Newark - good luck. The Houston flight always seems to arrive at the furthest gate from the escalators to baggage claim where I have to go before I get the elevator to tunnel walk to the train into Penn Station.

Sometimes United has great specials into Newark so rather than use my miles I pay $350 for the trip to build up my miles.

I am heading for more back procedures maybe.

Yesterday a specialist at the VA cleared me for shunting surgery. The neurosurgeon has the voucher already. He will decide on the 19th if he will first try to use a spinal tap to drain the excessive brain fluid. This issue is papilledema. The vision loss is actually quite significant at this point. But because the cause of the papilledema is also the cause of all of the problems with my hypothalamus - low testosterone, cognitive fog, fatigue, no metabolism, and on and on and on - shunting seems to be the option.

The vision will probably never restore fully or at all. We will not know until after the procedure.

Because so many years have gone by untreated we do not know if the hypothalamus will be restored to normal function. We do know there will be no further damage. If it restores I could lose weight and that will help with my back and breathing.

Also, the VA is reviewing me as a MOSH Patient. Male Obesity Associated Secondary Hypogonadism. It means low testosterone caused by problems with the hypothalamus, with associated obesity.

The problem is what came first the low T or the obesity. You see the hypothalamus problems can cause the obesity thereby contributing to low - T but secondary hypogonadism - meaning low T is caused by a malfunctioning hypothalamus.

The VA in Houston has a 93% success rate in resolving MOSH with a special form of bariatric surgery.

Between the shunting and bariatric surgery I could easily lose 100 pounds and begin to heal my liver and lungs from the fatty infiltration. It will resolve the fatigue - cognition fog and on and on and on.

So on the 19th the neurosurgeon will tell me the direction he wants to take. But the VA has approved the surgery and his choice of hospital.

On the 21st they do the procedure to remove the gallstones from the cystic duct. That one has me nervous because he will not know if he can do it until he gets in. The bile duct from the duodenum is very small and he is not sure he will be able to enter it. If he cannot, then I will have to have a more advanced surgery.

I am working my fingers to the bone to get things done before all of this starts to happen.

But if I can lose the weight, my back and breathing problems should resolved themselves. But that is not going to happen so long as I have no metabolism.

Bobby WC