Transplant Athlete
Sunday, July 10, 2011

I arrived at Dulles well before the United ticket counter and the main security gate opened. I had been stressing about my bike, on the train it was supposed to be just $5, but the box I was using was oversized, which would have cost me around $225 in fees at the airline counter. I then tried packing my bike in my hardshell case, but again, that was overweight, oversized, and definitely a bike, so the United site said I could incur fees up to $325. I ended up unscrewing the derailleur to shrink the size of the bike down and cutting up the cardboard bike box I got from the Bikelane.
I was able to fit the frame and one wheel in the box and the weight barely hit 10 lbs. I added another 10 lbs of clothes and shoes and tools and taped it up. I stopped in at Uhaul and picked up a "mirror" box, which fit the front wheel and some more clothes perfectly. My PACTour carry-on was virtually empty (and I figured it would need to be because it was technically oversized for carry-on. My Camelback HAWG was stuffed.
At the ticket counter, my homemade oversized bike box was first on the scale. When asked what was in it I replied, "mostly clothes, shoes..." He cut me off and said, "Fine."
Whew! Only cost me $60 for the two boxes. Now I have my fingers crossed that the boxes made it onto the plane and that they will get through the Denver airport and on to The Kalispell flight without a hitch.
Since the main security gate wasn't open yet, I headed downstairs for the only open gate. As you can imagine, the line was pretty long. I wasn't so lucky at security. This was my first foray through airport security since the nude scanners and pat-downs have been in force. I was picked out of line for the X-Ray Backscatter machine, I politely opted out and was made to wait for the pat-down. Cue the scary music here. What I found interesting was they didn't send me through the Metal Detector first, they pulled me through a gate. The pat down was physical, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The guy was nice about it, but he was still rubbing my seat area with the back of his hand and not in a "I'm looking for weapons kinda way." It made sense later when he swabbed his gloves and sent the sample through the explosives detector. When he got to my crotch, he did brush up against my genitals when he ran his hand down my left leg, but not when he went down the right side.
By the time I got through security, it was almost time to start boarding for my flight, but I still had to take one of those buses out to the terminal. The gate was empty. Not a good sign. A janitor mentioned that there was a gate change and there was a couple of us that had to rush from one end of the terminal to the other.

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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