The Extra Layer Illness Creates

The last week or two in my area, it has done nothing but rain.  Although rain is good for my plants and everything is lovely and green, I have had enough of it.  When life is passing through a time I am ready to have already passed, I start to think about planning for a time in the future when the circumstances will be different.  Seeing as today is rainy and tomorrow is supposed to be too, I started thinking about next year and a holiday I am wanting to plan.

My husband, much to his chagrin, is turning 50 next year.  We had talked for awhile about going on a trip to Scotland, as that is where his ancestry originates.  I thought that would be a lot of fun as neither of us have been there before.  That is where the extra layer comes in.  I have definite mobility limitations at this stage in my life from living with Multiple Sclerosis.  If I leave the house, I always use a cane, and for any distance, a walker or my scooter.  Although I have come to terms to needing these aids at the age of 44, planning a trip becomes much more intricate having this added need.  No one wants to go on a trip and feel like they are holding people back.  I also want to be able to do all that I can and to conserve my energy.  The thing with MS is that I never know what I am going to wake up to.  Yesterday, I went out and commented to my husband on how great my leg was working.  It wasnt dragging like it usually does.  Today however, when I went out with a friend, my leg was weighing me down like I had a foot made of cement.  It annoys me that I cannot predict how things will go from day to day.  For this reason, I have to plan for the worst when it comes to holidays.  I will have to rent a scooter and try to find out all I can about the accessibility of the location we will travel to.  I have already done some looking into Scotland and recently we have been talking about maybe not doing that trip at this time.

We are now thinking maybe of trying to go to New York City.  My husband is a HUGE New York Islanders fan.  I thought it would be really nice for him to be able to see a game in New York.  We could also do all the typical touristy things one does when they go to New York.  I of course though started wondering how hard it would be to get around on the busy streets of New York.  I turned to the internet and found a woman who writes a blog called Simply Emma.  She uses a wheelchair and travels the world.  She then blogs about her adventures and what works and what does not.  Her post on New York made me feel better and that it is a possibility for us to go there next year.  Although I feel better about planning a trip there, I still have a lot of trepidation about going to a major city.  There are so many extra things to consider traveling with a chronic illness.  Will the hotel be accessible?  Should I rent a scooter or bring mine and risk it being damaged on the airplane?  Making sure I have all of my medication in order prior.  Every venue we will want to visit, I have to do leg work beforehand to find out if it will be accessible enough for me.

For my 40th birthday 4 years ago, we travelled to New Orleans.  I was also very nervous about that trip.  We would be there during Mardi Gras so of course it would be crazy busy.  However, I have always wanted to go.  It was definitely on my bucket list.  So I planned away to make sure that it would go off without a hitch.  It ended up being one of the most amazing trips I have ever been on.  Although it was unbelievable the volume of people that amass in that city for the holiday, everyone was so helpful and patient with me trying to navigate my scooter on the busy streets.  I could not have asked for a better experience.  The picture I have included was taken on this trip to New Orleans.  Although it is a ton of work to travel with a disability, it is so worth it.  I am over the fact that I look a bit different than other 40 something year olds on trips.  That does not bother me at all anymore.  What is important to me is that I still get to do the things in my life that are important to me, and travel is definitely one of those things.  In the end, it is worth all the extra work to get to go on holidays and have it be safe and less stressful for me if I put in the extra planning beforehand.

The world, now that we have so much access to social media, can be great at times.  Bloggers write about their experiences so that you don’t have to do all the leg work every time.  I also have learned of a travel agent who specializes in planning trips for people with disabilities.  They will plan your trip for you and do the research for you if it is too much for you to organize.  The company is called Designing Travel out of Calgary.  I would provide the link but their site is being redesigned right now.  There are so many people out there that will help you if travel is one of your dreams.

As I was reading more of Simply Emma’s blog, I learned that she lives in Scotland!  How amazing is that.  I am going to reach out to her.  Maybe we will be able to do New York and Scotland.

Happy travels wherever your life may take you,

Christine

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

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