Thursday, December 15, 2016
Travelling with MS
Grandma's house. It's just down the street!
Well, it is here. The holiday season. If you traveled for Thanksgiving then you already have a head's up on the preparation route. AND you have had time to recover, hopefully...
Now it's time to get back on that wagon and enjoy the ride. Whether you like it or not!:)
'Tis the season!
Fortunately I no longer have much required travelling in order to enjoy my holiday activities. Mom and Dad live right down the street; my brothers will be hanging out there; and my Dad will pick up his sister in plenty of time for the Chevy Chase mayhem that occurs annually at my parent's home.
Many of us, though, are not as fortunate in holiday travel plans. Travel with MS, even short jaunts, can be excruciatingly stressful.
Take a deep breath and experiment with some of the tips and resources I have found.
The first thing you need to do pre-travel is calm any anxieties regarding your medical life. Consult your neuro about your travel plans if you are overly anxious about your trip; but if that is a little too hard core, remember to rely on Common Sense (my good buddy).
Plan ahead. Do some research to establish the existence of wheels and slow walker accommodations. Do not overly plan events that will zap all of your energy too early. You are not obligated to participate in every single event on any given adventure/journey. Pace yourself so that what you do choose to do is an enjoyable venture.
If you are travelling via air, there are several things you can do to assure comfortable travel. Contact the airlines several days prior to your departure date to let them know of any special needs you may have. If you have the luxury to do so, select a seat that allows you ample leg room and appropriate proximity to the rest room. Pack smart by placing things you might need to access quickly on top of in your carry on luggage and make sure you tag all any and all mobility equipment.
Your medications, of course, need to hold top priority; so pack them in your carry on/purse/man bag/fanny pack. If refrigeration is needed you can either tote the adequate packaging. All medications need to be accompanied by the original prescription label and need to travel in the original packaging. If you self-inject make sure to have a safe used-needle container. A letter from your neuro is always a nice touch but not always good enough to satisfy security officials, so be prepared to be thoroughly questioned. Unfortunately, we MS Warriors do not always travel lightly. Be prepared.
If travelling out side the USA you may need to get a vaccination (or two). With our weakened immune system it is especially important to not skimp on that necessity. Log on to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) to inspect guidelines for each vaccination offered. www.cdc.gov/travel/vaccinat.htm
Just because we have MS (Yes, I said just, as if it is no big deal. It is a big deal, but should not impair our opportunity for adventure.), we are not locked into a no-travel zone. Get out there and live life. Regret is a horrible disease. Possibly more so than the one that inhabits our bodies.
In his awesome story Chef Interrupted, Travis L. Gleason tells of his decision to realize a life long dream of travelling to the "wilds of west Kerry, Ireland for the winter" after his diagnosis. Okay, this is a bit "out there" in my travel plans when my goal is to make it to the grocery store without mishap. But, it is a beautiful story and one that I hope you add to your winter reading. Who knows, you might be inspired to take a LONG journey.
Not matter what your holiday plans are, take time to consider all aspects of your trip and ENJOY. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
My personal travel tips:
Pack spare underwear.
Always have a bottle of water on hand.
Never leave home without a book (personal rule).
Pack spare underwear...Oh, already said that.
Don't be afraid to ask directions (if necessary...so far I haven't gotten lost in route to my mother's house).
Avoid all unnecessary additions to your trip.
Be happy where you are, where ever that may be.
Have a great weekend!