There might be some light at the end of the tunnel now...
Continental had in writing from the manufacturer that I have a sticker stating the suciton machine is FAA approved. It took them over 48 hours for their "safety engineers" to tell me a verbal ok for flying now. They still will not put it in writing, but I don't see how else they can refuse me now that I have the sticker on it saying FAA approved.
So we should be able to fly with them after all....but oh wait they don't want my pulse oximeter either even though they told me on the phone it was ok. So I have to get a finger one that I explained runs off of a AA or AAA or watch battery - but is not something that ever plugs in or recharges. So nothing to worry about right? Wrong, they wanted the make, model and battery info on it. So their are two possible ones I could get. One runs on 2 AAA batteries, one runs off of a 3.6V lithum watch battery. They don't want me to use the one with the watch battery. I asked "Does this mean you don't allow anyone on board to have a watch on?" Seriously! If Dillon can't have a medically necessary piece of equipment just because it runs off a watch battery than I sure hope they wouldn't allow anyone else to have for non-medical reasons. But you and I both know they don't stop you from wearing your watch on board - they just make life as difficult as possible for a disabled person. So GoSouthernMD.com - read more about them below - is making sure they get me the one with the AAA batteries.
So I still need 15 batteries for the oxygen concentrator to be able to fly with Continental since they informed they don't do on board oxygen. I had one man who promised me he would get me all the batteries so I wasn't worried about it. I called him back yesterday and he said oops I can only get you two. TWO? I need 15! So I started making calls - begging companies to let me rent just the batteries so I could rent from several places and get all that I need. Most wouldn't even let me do this. Well I called GoSouthernMD.com and they promised me they would get them for me. They are emailing everyone they can asking them for help to make this possible for Dillon. You see, every other company all but laughed at me when I told them I needed 15. They cost about 350 each and they don't last very long until they won't recharge anymore so most companies only have a few. GoSouthernMD.com is the only one who said they would make this happen for me. I can't express I gratitude to them enough. It is going to be a lot of work for them to get them for me, but they said they will. I did not plan to have to rent 15 batteries so I am not sure how much it will come to, but some how God will provide! Please pray these kind people will be able to get all the batteries we need in time for our flight in 10 days.
The ONE positive thing with Continental is this... She told me that the flight from IAD to EWR is with a different carrier. I didn't know this because I don't fly much and didn't see it on my tickets. Janyce said if they don't allow my equipment they would have me fly out of a different Washington DC airport with one of their flights. I explained how EWR is closer to my home and that we were only going to DC and having the lay over becuase it was cheaper. I asked if we could just board in EWR so it will be MUCH easier on me and on their ground crew. She told me it is a "pretty for sure thing" that they will let us board in EWR which means we would have a direct flight to Beijing. It would only be a little over 13 hours, and no lay over to drag 75 pounds of batteries around an airport. So I am praying they will come through with this and let us board in EWR.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. I don't have in writing from them yet that they will allow me to fly with my FAA approved machines, but I am planning that they will. I am not sure why God allowed all this. I am not sure why things worked out so we need the 15 batteries - but I am thankful for the wonderful people at GoSouthernMD.com for helping! If they didn't help I would have to book different tickets - even after all we have done to get to this point with Continental. I am not sure what God's plans are, but He is still working, He is still providing. And while I still don't have anything in writing - I am trusting God that it will all come together just in the nick of time!