The Funny Thing about Flying

Friday, September 14, 2018 5:31 PM | Mitchell Elliott (Administrator)

These days I find myself flying commercially far more than in the past. To manage the craziness of a national practice, I try to enjoy the humor in my flying experiences. 

Early in my return to RDG, we were asked to bring an example of a wireless nurse call system to a client meeting. Refusing to check baggage, I loaded everything in my carry-on...including the sample wall device, complete with six foot cord and the little red push button switch. My partners claim the “ignition switch” was dangling out of my carry-on, but that was not the case. Passing through the TSA inspection, I was quickly pulled aside. TSA agents unloaded my carry-on and demanded an explanation regarding this “ignition device”. I calmly explained that it was a nurse call. The TSA agent asked if I expected to call a nurse while on the flight. Oh...the many sarcastic responses that flew through my head!  Fortunately and maybe for the first time in my life, none of them came out.  Somehow I was able to convince the TSA agent that the cord with the red push button was benign, and our client was able to review the wall device. My fellow travel companions yucked it up during my entire interrogation and this has become a popular story...with all kinds of embellishments. 


During a line up for a flight on Southwest, one of my flying companions raised the terrorist threat level to the highest color. He was traveling for the first time after hip replacement surgery. I was in line before his arrival into the “cattle call” line up. As he joined me in line he declared proudly, “I made it through the metal detector and it didn’t go off!” The entire group in the Southwest line up quickly prepared to assault this would be terrorist. I broke all HIIPA rules and revealed his recent surgery and condition, but saved his hide in the process. Note to self...don’t celebrate making it through the TSA process undetected!

Speaking of hip replacements, many of you may know that I also went through this procedure at the end of June. A couple of days prior to my surgery, I was again flying back from a client meeting. The gentleman next to me was watching a video documentary that involved an in-depth surgical procedure...a hip replacement no less!  Are you kidding me!  Blood, drilling, muscle stretching/cutting...the whole nine yards! I couldn’t look away, but at the same time, I was losing it. This was not the Netflix series I was anticipating in preparation for some time off for rehab!  The guy must have noticed I was squirming as he asked, “ are you OK?”  I told him of my upcoming procedure. All this young man said was, “Woah...dude” and returned to his gruesome video.  Now I felt old...and squeamish.  I still couldn’t look away!

My last installment of humor again involved the TSA process. As I am progressing through the line having emptied my pockets of all my worldly possessions, the TSA agent was listing everything that needed to go in the bin...cell phone, money clips, keys, wallet,etc. He then paused, looked at me and asked, “Beverage?”  I responded, “No thank you. I just finished a bottle of water, but a beer sounds kind of good.”  I thought the TSA agent and his buddy were going to wet their pants in laughter. His buddy did admit that it sounded like he was offering me a beverage. As I collected my possessions they were still laughing. The terms laughter and TSA aren’t usually used in the same sentence...so it was a good day. 

I have found that enjoying the humorous things with commercial airline travel makes the long days somewhat bearable. Working with clients who are passionate about doing the right things for their residents and their staff keep this all fulfilling. 

Keep flying, keep smiling, and hopefully experience an occasional belly laugh now and then. 


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