The Traveling Steve's

I’ll Be Home for Christmas! And Thanksgiving too!

It’s now December 1st as I write this from our home in the Orlando area. We’re going easy on the Christmas decorations this year due to my recovery, energy levels, and lifting restrictions, but fortunately we leave the outdoor Christmas lights up year-round, although we only light them for the various holidays. Steve (DOS) simply changed the color scheme via the remote, added a couple color ground lights, and set out the bush lights and voilà: we’re all decorated outdoors for the season!

Our trip from Seattle went well, with no medical issues impacting our travel.

We did experience the usual bit of flight cancellations and delays, (the new normal it seems), however, so we flew out of Seattle on Thursday Nov 10th, nearly two months after leaving home for Vancouver and our Alaska cruise. Our original Wednesday outbound flight had been canceled prior to us leaving for the airport, so we stayed an extra night at the Hyatt Regency in Seattle, and flew out the next day, Thursday.

We stay at Hyatt Hotels a lot, and DOS had gotten us a nice suite for most of the nights of our lengthy stay there, so it was nice to have a relaxing “bonus” day that didn’t require medical appointments, therapy or anything else. Everything had been packed up too, so it made for a leisurely day.

We had a bit of trouble getting our flights rebooked back to Orlando, so we ended up leaving Seattle on Thursday (instead of Wednesday) and taking an overnight layover in DFW, while taking the connecting flight to Orlando on Friday. Shown below, we are in the lobby checking out, and then happily taking the hotel arranged SUV to the Seattle Airport.

We were concerned about taking such a long trip as I was still mostly confined to a wheelchair, and using supplemental oxygen, but American Airlines was very accommodating with boarding for us, as well as the sky cap who assisted with our luggage. We had to pre-arrange and rent an airline-approved oxygen concentrator for the flight, which is a small device (in lieu of actual oxygen tanks) that produces oxygen. The unit is a bit noisy (we had a similar one in the hotel room which we put in the bathroom when sleeping with a long cord to the bedroom) but with the plane’s engines it couldn’t be heard (much).

Due to our Admiral’s Club membership, we were able to use the Alaska Airline’s lounge in Seattle while waiting for our flight to Dallas. This was extra nice as the flight to DFW kept getting delayed and we didn’t get into DFW until after 11pm.

Boarding at the gate was orderly, and the American Airlines gate agent boarded us and another wheelchair couple first, which was a big help as we had the carry-on oxygen condenser as well as a couple carry-on bags. The wheel chair was checked at the gate, and again delivered to us gate side once we got to DFW Airport later that night.

When we finally got to DFW, it was quite easy to get to the hotel as the Grand Hyatt is connected to terminal D, which is walkable/wheel-chair-able, plus we didn’t have to reclaim or checked luggage as that would be sent on our flight to Orlando the next day.

There are two Hyatts on property at DFW, but only the Grand Hyatt is located inside the airport at terminal D. The other Hyatt Regency is near terminal C, but requires a shuttle ride to get there or a long walk thru the parking garage and up some stairs. We’ve stayed at both which are very nice, but headed to the Grand Hyatt for the easier access and no stairs. The photo below was taken outside our 8th floor window from the Grand Hyatt, which shows the Hyatt Regency across the airport from us, near one of the control towers.

After a good night’s sleep, DOS and I had breakfast at the Grand Hyatt before we were going to check-out for our noon flight to Orlando. As luck would have it, our connecting flight to Orlando was running several hours late, (again the new normal!) so we got a late check-out at the Hyatt before heading out for our flight, and were able to enjoy a late and leisurely breakfast.

As we only had our carry-on luggage and had our boarding passes already, we headed straight over to our gate in the “A” terminal, using the Skytram to get there from terminal “D” where we had gone thru security. We still had a couple hours before the delayed flight departure, so we passed the time in the Admiral’s Club before heading to the gate.

We had priority boarding, and like the flight from Seattle to DFW, the boarding and flight itself was actually much easier and less hectic than we expected. I just wore the oxygen on boarding and de-planing, and I was fine without it for the duration of the flight.

As we had been gone for nearly 2 months, in the midst of 2 hurricanes, we didn’t want to arrive back home to Orlando in the dark not knowing how the condition of the house might be, so. we stayed overnight at the airport Hyatt Regency Orlando, which is conveniently located inside the airport terminal. We again had a late morning sleep-in as it was after 11pm when we had landed in Orlando. We had a leisurely late breakfast in the hotel before Uber-ing home around 1pm.

Fortunately there was no damage to the house, and boy did it feel good to finally get home! You can see how tired I was as I plopped into my favorite rocking chair (something I haven’t had for 2 months!) and finally relaxed at home. Exhausted, but so happy to finally be home!

Since we’ve been home for a couple weeks now, we’ve alternated between days at home resting up and recovering, and follow-up visits to my local doctor, Cardiologist, lab tests, and bi-weekly INR tests. I’m on quite a bit of medication now, including some strong diuretics, plus with my new metallic heart valve I’m on Coumadin which requires regular lifetime blood INR tests to monitor for blood clots.

On the travel horizon, we’ve canceled all of our major trips up thru April, including an Antarctica and an Australian cruise for next January and March respectively, both of which we had been looking forward to for months. For now though, those trips seem not only a world away, but surprisingly not important at this time as I have a long way to recovery and don’t want to be on a cruise ship in a remote place outside the US right now. Hopefully we will be able to go to one or both of these destinations in 2024.

For now, we’re enjoying simply being home. And yes we both celebrated Thanksgiving at home this year for a first time; just the two of us. I set up the table layout, with a nice fall floral decoration my brother Andy had sent us, while DOS did all the food preparation and cooking.

For starters we had jumbo shrimp cocktail, which DOS arranged into heart-shaped servings.

DOS also prepared and served a delicious (sodium-free) prime rib and garden salad with fresh berries and walnuts. I am on some dietary restrictions, mainly low sodium and leafy greens due to the blood thinner drug Coumadin I am taking. I can have salads, but need to keep this at a normal and re-occuring level, that is not occasionally but to have about the same amount daily. Also no cranberries on this Thanksgiving either due to Coumadin.

Anyway, it was a wonderful Thanksgiving and an extra special time of thanks this year!

It’s so nice being home now, and really appreciating the everyday things in life. I’m doing my daily walks and am up to a 1/2 mile at a time around the neighborhood, without the use of a walker or oxygen. While that doesn’t seem like much, DOS keeps reminding me how little I could walk in Seattle, or even when I first got home a couple weeks ago. “This too shall pass”, and I’m doing a bit better each day. My cognitive skills are returning, and my attention span is much improved over what it was in Seattle. I’m even able to write this blog entry, although I am still a bit slow in doing so and it takes hours as my concentration goes in and out, and sorry for any typos or incoherent thoughts.

That’s all for now; I’ll write as I can. I do want to share my thoughts while I was in the hospital at some point. I jotted down a few notes as this whole ship to home scenario played out, and it has been therapeutic for me just looking back over what I had been thru since starting in Alaska.

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, messages, and prayers. DOS has been so wonderful I can’t ever thank him enough and as I’ve often said, would not have made it without him. The many nurses, doctors, technicians, therapists, dietary workers, and other staff were all so compassionate to us they really made us feel at home away from home.

I have a couple good stories from Seattle that I’ll share soon. May God bless you this Christmas season and always! Thanks for stopping by!


  • A couple take-away tips for traveling. ALWAYS have good travel insurance when leaving the US, as most policies do not cover costs outside the country. Our trip evacuation alone via private leer jet and later 90 mile ambulance ride to Seattle would have cost us mega-thousands, plus the two nights aboard the hospital ship was over $10 grand, all fortunately covered by our trip insurance. The Seattle hospital stays (but not hotel) were covered by my regular insurance and I had easily met my out of pocket portion prior to the trip.
  • Always take extra medicine with you to last at least a week longer than your trip. (That’s also why most countries require at least 3 months left on your passport just in case you have an accident or medical issue.) We had a couple weeks extra meds with us, and once in the hospital they issued me their meds from their pharmacy, while DOS was able to have Walgreens fill his remotely in Seattle.
  • “This too shall pass”, “take things one day at a time”, “pray often”, “try not to complain, and be extra-nice to all those wonderful people helping you”.
  • Try your best to keep a positive attitude and be patient with your care!
  • Love, family, and friends are priceless!
  • Be Thankful!

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