We're starting something new this week. Every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few months, Kyros will be sharing his experience traveling with an invisible illness. He will cover what preparations he took before traveling and what he does to minimize the adverse effects of traveling with an invisible illness.
Sorry this wasn't ready for Tuesday morning as planned. Today was Kyros' Black Lab's first radiation treatment for cancer and he was a bit scattered all day. He promises that future Travel Tuesday and Thursday posts will be available on the correct days.
Kyros accompanied his husband on a work trip to England, Sweden, Switzerland, and India over the course of two weeks. He and Monica thought it would be a good opportunity to blog about traveling with an Invisible Illness. Our most recent roundtable discussion was on this topic as well, so some of the things mentioned here were most definitely brought up there as well. For those of you who don’t already know, Kyros particular Invisible Illnesses are peripheral neuropathy in both feet, a torn meniscus in my left knee that has refused to heal correctly, and somewhere in-between severe lactose-intolerance and a medium dairy allergy. So this is his story...
Day 1 - 1/21/18 - Off To The Airport / Hello London
Everything went well at the airport. No major problems getting my suitcase dropped off or getting through security. Thank you, TSA Pre-check (which I get automatically because I signed up for Global Entry) for saving me from having to stand in long lines or having to take my shoes off! Since we were flying internationally, we had to be at the airport two hours before our flight. So I used the extra time to get a quick foot massage and soothe my feet a bit before the flight.
Once we were on the plane, I was overjoyed to discover I had an entire middle row to myself. I could actually lie down and maybe get some sleep. However, that joy was short lived as I realized I had mistakenly packed two of my very critical travel items in my checked luggage instead of my backpack: compression socks that I wear to reduce swelling in my feet and legs on long flights, and thick wool socks that keep my feet from getting too cold. Forgetting one would be bad, but forgetting both meant I was in for a very painful trip. (Edit: Once we got to our hotel in London, I looked in my checked luggage; neither item was there. I must have accidentally left them on the table at home. Now I have a quest to replace both items before we leave in two days.)
My feet had already begun to swell up and ache by the end of the first hour. This made taking my shoes off a necessity as they had become so tight that they were crushing my feet. But without my shoes on, my feet quickly got cold, making them hurt even more. By three hours into our ten-hour flight, I was already tempted to take something for the pain. I tried lying down to catch some sleep, but my feet were hurting bad enough that I barely dozed. But on the plus side, at least I was lucky enough to have the whole row to myself, so I was able to put my feet up and minimize the swelling.The first food service arrived. We've traveled enough that we’ve learned that most airline meals are toxic to me due to their cheese or butter content. So my dear husband had pre-ordered a vegetarian meal for me when he made our reservations (though it can still be hit or miss as some vegetarian meals still use butter or cheese, and not all flights even offer a vegan / vegetarian option). Thankfully, this flight did and the meal was safe so I didn’t have choose whether to go ten hours with no food or risk getting diarrhea on the plane.
We have a total of eight flights during this two-week trip. Four of them are too short to have meals. Of the remaining four, we were able to order vegetarian meals on three. The only one we couldn't is from Newark to San Francisco, but for that flight, I'll be able to get something in the terminal and bring it with me onto the plane. Honestly, though, the main reason I’ll be able to eat at all is that I travel enough to know about these options. When we first began traveling together, I frequently went 10+ hours without food because there wasn’t anything safe for me to eat. If you have any food issues, make sure you check out the website of your airline to see if they accomodate special meals and whether they are offered on the specific flights that you are taking.
Distance walked = 2.47 miles