After many days of questioning my ability to go, I’ve decided to make a trip this weekend. Any time a trip is considered, there has to be time spent evaluating my ability to complete it. Chronic illness has me in a place that makes travel so difficult and painful.
The only trips I don’t consider are doctor appointments. They are required trips. This trip is to accompany my child to a university where he is being courted as a graduate student. There will be one other trip in the future to another university. My purpose in going is to offer moral support and tour the campus.I’ve struggled with all the pros and cons of this visit, after convincing myself recently that I shouldn’t miss out on life. Sometimes I feel the need to tough it out and just endure the pain so that I can enjoy the good things in life. I’ve also considered the fact that my presence will just slow down my companions and be a negative influence.Traveling to a place that requires a lot of walking means that I need to pack my wheelchair. This is all so frustrating. I can walk, but not long distances. I don’t want to be in a wheelchair because of my vanity. Packing the wheelchair takes up a lot of room in our car and means that I’ll be in the way.
I know that all of these thoughts are not helpful and many of these fears are just plain wrong. But, these warring thoughts have been filling my mind. I guess that the more times I use the wheelchair, in order to travel with my family, it will get easier.
If things go well, it will be easier next time to not second-guess myself and my decisions to enjoy trips. Chronic illness brings with it so many adjustments.
Here are some ways to prepare for traveling with chronic illness:
- Plan – The more I can anticipate everything associated with the trip, the easier it is to plan. Planning takes time, but it prevents me from forgetting things that I’ll need. With chronic illness, it’s not possible to be as carefree with my time. I’m looking at the itinerary, maps of the campus, distances to various buildings, hotels, and restaurants
- Packing – I’m planning a complete wardrobe by checking the weather forecast and plan to dress in layers. Packing an extra outfit is also important. Outerwear will include gloves, hats, and umbrellas. Planning for meals is needed because of my food allergies. Taking snacks and drinks will be good, as well as a blanket. The most important thing I’ll pack is my bag of prescription medications. I will fill my daily pill package, but will also pack my original pill containers. It’s a good thing to take my list of doctors and their phone numbers. Any time I travel, I wear my medicalert bracelet. In case of an accident, my bracelet allows medical professionals access to my medical conditions and the drugs that I’m prescribed.
- Be ready to say NO – Even with all the planning and packing, things can change. Be ready to say “No” to anything that you feel will be too painful or cause too much fatigue. Have a Plan B in case your pain becomes too great. By having a campus map, I can see where the lounge areas and coffee shops are located. These areas will be good stops for resting. If all else fails, I can go back to the car and rest.
I look forward to the trip and dread it at the same time. As I begin packing, my heart will pray that my presence will be positive. I pray that my pain will not soar and my vision will be clear. Now, I must go pack.
@2019, copyright Lisa Ehrman