Enjoying a magical night with Taylor Swift, thanks to preparation
A concert from the Eras Tour goes without a hitch for this columnist
My sister and I have been listening to Taylor Swift together for years. On the whole, we’re two very different people who used to struggle to find common ground, so it’s pretty special that Swift’s music is one of the few things we’ve been able to agree on, time and again.
When I was in college, we saw Swift’s “1989” tour (which ran 2014-15) together and had the best time. It’s a memory we both hold fondly.
When Swift announced her current Eras Tour, the thought of going to see her together was a fun idea, but posed a lot of barriers for me. There were many considerations — from my oxygen needs to my mobility. And of course, as an immunocompromised person, I have to weigh the threat of COVID-19 on every decision I make.
With that said, we took a chance. When tickets were released, we purchased handicap-accessible seats for a Friday night concert in Minneapolis, not knowing if we’d end up using them when the date rolled around.
As the concert drew near, we began to prepare, knowing that we wanted to keep open the option of attending. For events like this one, my typical strategy would be to coordinate a drop-off and pickup near the entrance. Given my shortness of breath due to pulmonary hypertension, this plan would help to limit unnecessary walking.
In hindsight, this same plan probably could have worked this time around. But being conservative and not knowing what to expect of the experience, we opted to purchase a wheelchair for me to use.
Other logistical preparations included contacting the venue regarding bag policies, since I’d be bringing in multiple bags with oxygen tanks. We also used the information shared by other fans to plan how many oxygen tanks I’d need. We reserved one for the car ride and three for the concert, which we’d heard always starts at 8 p.m. and lasts about three hours and 20 minutes.
I’ve only attended one other concert since my heart-lung transplant in 2018, and I haven’t attended anything remotely this large since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
I know that the right choice for me will always be to avoid crowds as big as this. But I also prioritize my quality of life. So this one time, I opted to take the risk while being as safe as possible. That meant masks and hand sanitizer were on the checklist for the night.
We purchased four tickets, but to keep things simple, given all of the unknowns, only my sister, my mom, and I attended.
I had a lot of anxiety leading up to the concert, so I was truly shocked that everything went as smoothly as it did. We arrived about 40 minutes before Swift took the stage, when most people were already inside.
Thanks to my sister’s research, we were able to prepay for close-access parking, and we knew exactly which entrance to go through. Everyone at the wheelchair-accessible entrance was friendly, and we were able to quickly move through security. Once inside, my sister pushed me to our section within a minute.
We were a bit confused, though, to find seven or eight steps leading up to the seats. But an usher quickly showed us around a corner, where there was a wheelchair lift. This route brought us up to a separate section of handicap-accessible seating.
Under different circumstances, it might have bummed me out to be so isolated from the rest of the crowd, bringing further awareness to my disabilities and differences. But in this case, it was a huge relief.
At our backs was a large wall, and in front of us, glass panels separated our single, spacious row from the large crowds below. I’ll never claim that an indoor stadium is COVID-19-safe, but being distanced and partly walled off from the rest of the crowd felt like a best-case scenario.
The rest of the night was a dream. The concert was amazing, and it was especially memorable to share it with my mom and sister, who put so much thought into making it happen for me. We made our speedy exit halfway through her last song, “Karma,” once again missing the major crowds.
The planning and the night itself were exhausting, both physically and mentally. But we learned a lot about what we’re capable of as a family, in regards to pursuing my accessibility for events like this. As my health continues to change, I’m reassured that we’re always able to adapt. While I probably won’t be attending another large event anytime soon, I’m glad we took the chance this one time.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.