Last night, we had a team briefing &, looking at the weather forecast for today, it was pretty clear that it was going to be worse than yesterday. We decided to spend another night in Port Lincoln & have today as a true rest day.
This meant that our schedule to arrive into Aldinga & also Tooradin would be one day later. But that’s flying for you & we are at the mercy of the weather gods!
An early departure for a team member
Last night at the team briefing, Gordon mentioned that he had a medical issue that was now difficult to manage & he may have to leave us & head back to his home town of Griffith to get it sorted out. Today, he left early on a commercial flight.
I feel sad that he wasn’t able to complete the journey, just 2 flying days short of our final destination. It’s very disappointing, for him personally with his own goal of completing this trip, & also for us as a team, as we won’t be able to finish it together.
When I first told Gordon about this trip in 2011 & that I was looking for support planes & pilots, he immediately said he would do it. Then he asked Bob “Are you coming?”. Both were in straight away.
There is no possible way I could ever have set out to achieve this flight around Australia without Gordon, & all the other flight team members involved. Gordon has been a huge asset to the team, done a fantastic job, along with his son Paul in the Piper Archer.
We greatly appreciate everything Gordon has done & his commitment to being a part of this journey, showing people what someone with a disability can achieve & being an inspiration to others! It won’t be the same flying into Tooradin with one of our team members missing.
When I was planning this flight, one of my major concerns was pressure sores on my bum as I would be sitting in the pilot seat for so much time each day, & for so many days.
I worked out that flying between 1,500 – 3,500 feet was the optimal altitude for my Roho (air-inflated) cushion that allows me to sit for long periods of time without damaging the tissue on my bum. Fortunately, I’ve had no issues, which is fantastic.
What I didn’t consider was pressure on other parts of my body. Since Darwin, I’ve noticed my heels have been staying red, which is not a good sign as this is the first sign of a pressure sore. I was quite puzzled as to why I was getting this as I’ve been wearing the same shoes I have on this trip for the last few years & have had no problems.
I’ve now realised that it is probably due to the angle my feet sit on the foot plate in the plane & since we’ve added the bungee straps to firmly keep my feet secure, the extra pressure may not be helping. There is a patch on the back of each heel that has been getting worse over time & I now have a big blister on my right one.
Its been good to have the rest day as I’ve had the opportunity to leave my shoes off & give them a chance to heal.
When I was flying down from Carnarvon to Mandurah, I kept sweating & I thought the reason I was sweating was because my bum was getting very sore. With my quadriplegia, when I have a part of my body experiencing pain, I sweat, its called autonomic hyperreflexia. This signals to me that something is wrong.
That night in Mandurah, I realised that the sweating wasn’t due to a sore bum. With the heater on, blowing on my feet, one of the metal hooks on the bungee strap must have been against my skin & for over 3 hours, the metal hook had heated up & was slowly roasting a patch of skin on my left inner ankle.
When I took my socks off that night, I had a big red blister. There is not much I can do about this now, its just a case of keeping it clean & covered. I now wrap a towel around my ankles before using the bungee straps.
On a positive note, I slept in until 9 am this morning. It was such a luxury & I had a late breakfast & got back into bed for a quick snooze. Pure decadence!!
For the rest of today, I’ve just been catching up with emails, comments, facebooking & the blog. We’ll have a team briefing this afternoon at 5.30 pm to discuss if we can fly out tomorrow & I’m also looking forward to some really hot indian food as there is a restaurant across the road from the hotel.
Over & out,