We had rush hour traffic on the way to Dulles, of course, and I checked the big bag at the door and asked the ticket agent to order a large wheelchair. The seating area in that part of Dulles is on the heat/cool raised grate along the windows. It was difficult getting through the TSA bit, as usual, with taking shoes off in a wheelchair and getting stuff into the boxes and walking through. This year, though, they had flat mats instead of the mats with tall fringe tops that made me fall sideways into the magnetic arch to be reprimanded. I completely forgot to tell them I had meds with a cream and liquids in my bag, but it went through fine. The pusher also had to take his stuff off, put it through, push the folded wheelchair through a narrow space between the outside of the arch and the wall, and come through himself. It took us a while to redressed and me back in the wheelchair. He took a novel route to the gate, but I don't think it was any faster than the usual route.
I had some time at the gate, so I read most of the WashPost. A woman saw the discarded part on the table next to me and asked if she could have it. I said "sure," and she said she just wanted to do the crossword. I told her I hadn't read Style yet, but she took those pieces anyway. I got really sleepy, but as I saw the agents getting ready to let people in, I packed up and went and told the agent that I was partially paralyzed and if he let me start now, the plane would only be half-full by the time I got there. I was pretty close, it was a third full.
The plane was completely booked with about a third of the seats occupied by kids. The babies weren't so bad, it was the older ones with "Mommy! Mommy!" that were annoying. I had to squeeze in my seat to make room for the guy next to me. In the seat behind me, a man was sitting and a woman came up and said she had that seat. He insisted it was his. She got the flight attendant who got the gate agent who looked at the man's boarding pass and said "Sir, you're going to Detroit." The man said "Yes." The agent said "This plane is going to Minneapolis." The man got up and the woman sat down, but I wonder how he got through the gate. The lady who'd wanted the paper was a row in front of us on the opposite side, so when I finished the WashPost, I asked my outside rowmate to hand it to her. The woman gave me an OK sign with her fingers. We had a bumpy ride, but landed safely and 20 minutes early. We actually got to the gate on time because the plane that was there had to pull out first.
The wonderful part of Mpls airport is the carts. You sit in a blue chair with wheelchair sigil and they stop to take you places. They have routes, so you have to wait for the one with your route, but it's never very long. Then there's the exciting wheelchair ride to the baggage claim. They've added a new elevator since last year, so it's only about half the length and ups and downs on different elevators, but it's still amazingly stupid. My bag was waiting on the side since most people walking get there faster, and the pusher managed to push me and pull the big bag.
We went to the place to call the hotels for shuttles and the next for the Sheraton Bloomington was 45 minutes. The pusher put me on a bench next to the shuttle area, but although it was covered, it was really outside and it was really cold. I maneuvered me and both bags inside and onto a chair near the door and finished reading a Smithsonian I'd brought.
The shuttle was on time and I got checked into the hotel to the same room as last year. I think this is because they have two handicapped rooms per floor in that tower and they're stacked up the tower; I got the first default. I was in a lot of pain and traded shoes for slippers and had dinner in the bar before I went back up to sleep for nine hours with leg cramp meds. I woke up an hour in having to add more meds. I watched the news and unpacked, had my Gatorade for the day (I brought a canister of powdered Gatorade and a tupperware to mix it in), and read a bit before sleeping for the night.