A brand new day, and a brand new post for the WEGO Health ‘National Health Blog Post Month’. Today is the 16th day of this month-long writing challenge; and once again I have chosen to write a post based upon one of the bonus prompts provided.
The topic I have chosen as you may have guessed by the title is travel. The prompt asks to write about what it is like to travel with your condition.
Admittedly, I haven’t actually been on holiday for around six or seven years (it’s actually been so long since I have been on holiday I cannot actually remember the year I last went on holiday!). Instead, I have decided to write a post on some of the challenges, I would face if I were to go on holiday – and if anyone has any ideas on how to overcome these challenges, I would love to hear them, so get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or email, or add a comment to this post!
If I were to go on holiday, my dream holiday would definitely be Italy – I love the food, and it just looks like such beautiful scenery. I have especially wanted to go and visit the country after watching the film ‘Letters to Juliet’ – especially, as the beginning of the film is set in Verona, which is the place within Italy I would most like to visit, as Romeo and Juliet happens to be my all-time favourite play, and so would love to visit the balcony etc!
So, what about some of the challenges I feel, I would face whilst travelling. For starters, if I had to fly to go overseas somewhere, it would not in fact flying that would prevent me from doing so, but instead the airports themselves! If you have been reading my posts, you would know, that I have problems with high ceilings, as they increase the severity of the dizziness, and also increase the incidence of the episodes of vertigo. Obviously, most airports have high ceilings, so spending time in such a place for approximately 3 hours (not including delays!) would be incredibly difficult for me, and would certainly make me feel incredibly unwell – all before even leaving the UK!!
So, what are the other options – I know that local bus companies offer a holiday to Lake Garda, including a trip to Verona; or perhaps an option would be a cruise? However, my fear there would be all the motion from the bus or cruise ship would also make me feel very unwell, and could potentially make the dizziness or vertigo even worse. My balance is incredibly poor on dry land, so i can only imagine what it would be like on a ship!! Then there’s the weakness in the legs, recently, I was invited to a meeting regarding the introduction of a Life 4 Living group elsewhere in the South Wales area, and was collected by a Social Worker who runs the group in Pontypridd. I cannot remember how long we travelled for, but it must have been over an hour – and by the time we arrived at the venue, my legs were so weak, and incredibly stiff, and was in a lot of discomfort afterwards. And this was only after an hour, goodness what I would experience after several hours travelling on a bus.
Another potential problem is the unpredictability of the condition; never knowing which days I am going to be well, or even how I will feel an hour from now. It would be a shame to spend a lot on a holiday only for me to be laid up in bed for a day or two; it would feel like a wasted trip especially considering the costs involved with holidays. Often, the symptoms are often exacerbated by fatigue and overexertion (too much walking for example), and very often on holidays, there is a lot of walking involved, whilst sightseeing and many people report feeling fatigued whilst on holiday or immediately after – so what would a holiday do to someone like myself living with a chronic illness. I would certainly have to use a wheelchair that has been recently been given to me, although before I even think about going on holiday with it, I will really have to learn to be able to get used with using the wheelchair (at the moment I am having trouble adjusting to it – but will save that for another post!) in places that I am familiar to, before going somewhere unfamiliar.
I know a lot of people, often spend holidays lying on the beach or around the pool at the hotel they are staying in, but that has never really been me – I have always preferred to go out and soak up the atmosphere and culture of the place where I am staying. I love to go and experience local museums, art galleries, or other tourist attractions – I would much prefer to be doing something rather than just lying around somewhere – even though it has become more increasingly difficult as the illness has progressed, becoming worse and its symptoms becoming more evident.
What are your experiences of travelling with a chronic illness? Are there any tips that you could share that would make it easier for someone living with a chronic illness to travel and go on holiday? Share your thoughts!