Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Amazing Race

After a long night of packing and logistics, followed by a morning of multiple “do we have everything?” thoughts, we finally loaded up the car – two suitcases, two small carry on bags, a diaper bag, a breast pump, and a portable oxygen concentrator housed in a giant military container. Oh and a car seat, stroller, and our most precious of cargo – Zoe Madison. Off to the airport we went.

Once we arrived at the airport, Grandpa dropped us at the curb and we unloaded the myriad of contents, which we loaded in, like a game of Tetris, just an hour earlier. We drug all the bags to the curb and encountered a sky-cap who was unfamiliar with portable oxygen concentrators. When we unveiled it from its cargo box, he stared at it like it had a detonator. Recognizing his befuddlement, I explained what it was. He only heard the word “oxygen” and said “you can’t have that on the plane.” I took a deep breath, smiled, and explained I can and will bring the oxygen on the plane. I explained to him that the model was approved by Southwest and we provided the information on our reservation. He continued to look confused so I asked to see his supervisor. He summoned a supervisor who immediately asked us for the doctor’s certification for the oxygen. I turned around and Stacey, anticipating the next move, already had the letter in her hand to hand-over to the supervisor. Once we were approved, we headed in towards our gate.

Fortunately, at the security checkpoint, there was a dedicated line for families with infants or travelers with disabilities, technically we had both so were safe in that line, which allowed us to get right up to the front of the security line. As we navigated through the security line we ran into two different friends, who were able to sneak a peek of Zoe.

We pre-boarded the plane, got situated and readied for the long journey to Philly. Just prior to takeoff, Stacey and I almost needed cardiologists of our own. The oxygen comes with batteries and we had three of them. The oxygen company instructs you to check the power on the batteries before your flight. Early this morning, I checked the batteries and the meter displayed full strength. Once we were on the plane and powered up the oxygen, I realized there was one battery I did not check. So as the plane was preparing to back away from the jet way, I frantically put the last battery in the machine and tested it's strength. FULL LEVEL!! After Stacey regained her breath and retracted the threats of harm, we were airborne. After all that, we only needed two batteries on the flight and didn't need the third.

Zoe was excellent on the flight. She remained on oxygen the entire flight. We checked her oxygen sats every half hour or so and, with the oxygen, her numbers were good.

Bottom line we made it to Philly safe and sound. On the cab ride to the hotel, we drove right by CHOP, with its logo illuminating the night sky.

It feels weird to be back, but comforting at the same time. This is where Zoe was brought into the world, where her heart was touched and tweaked, where her life was saved. Being back for the second chapter feels good, nerve racking, but good. We have the utmost confidence in CHOP and Dr. Spray and we know we are in the right place.

We made it to our hotel at midnight local time, gave Zoe her meds, fed Zoe, and now we need to get some sleep. We have to be at CHOP in the morning for a day of pre-surgery testing.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and positive thoughts. We will let everyone know how the testing goes.

The Lihns.


  1. So glad you guys made it there safely! Your post gave me the chills - not sure why, I guess because we're so close to Bodie's Glenn as well. Praise God you're there safe and sound and ready for surgery! Good luck tomorrow - lots of prayers for a great day!

    Heart hugs,
    Amy (& Bodie!)

  2. Thank you for the update! Stupid Southwest skycap. I guess he is just doing his job, but it is soooo frustrating when things can't go as planned. It's a good thing you were talking to him instead of Stacey, because I think Stacey would have set him straight immediately :) Love you guys and sending lots of prayers!

  3. Chuckling at Megan's post. I so look forward to meeting you Caleb. xoxo