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. 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...
If you missed previous installments of this series, go here to catch up before reading this.
Day 2 - 1/22/18 - London
We landed in London at 10 am. I’d barely gotten any sleep on the flight due to my feet hurting. So getting from the plane to immigration control and to get our luggage was a long painful walk. I read a New York Times article a few years ago about how Houston airport found that people were angry about having to wait a long time for their luggage, so they increased the distance that people on arriving flights had to go to get to baggage claim. It didn’t take less time to get their bags, but customer satisfaction went up because they weren’t sitting and waiting. While this may be good for the airline, for someone with difficulty walking, it adds to an already painful experience. By the time we got our luggage and got a cab, my feet felt like they were on fire. I thought I had a rock in my shoe, but it turned out that it was just a new manifestation of my peripheral neuropathy. My big toe on my right foot was reacting to my sock moving by spasming with every step and it felt like I had a rock in my shoe. Yay for leveling up to a new kind of pain!
After we got to the hotel, I was so wiped out from pain and lack of sleep that I took a pain pill and passed out for a few hours. When I woke up, I decided to go across the street to the pharmacy and get something for my sinuses, which between the recycled air on the airplane and the heater in the hotel room, had completely dried out. While I was out, I ran into my husband and his co-worker who were coming back from their meeting so we decided to go to dinner.
Finding a place to eat was a bit of a challenge. My husband’s co-worker is vegetarian and between that and my dairy allergy we had a difficult time finding someplace we felt would have something for everyone to eat. The area we are staying in has a lot of French restaurants, which are generally dangerous for me because French food is heavy on butter and cream. We finally settled on an Italian restaurant about a block away. One of the things I absolutely love about traveling in the EU is that every restaurant must have an allergen menu or have common allergens listed on the menu itself. So either there will be a series of numbers after each menu item that lists all the allergens in the dish, or there is a separate menu that has a grid of the dishes and the allergens they contain. It saves me from having to have the server go back and forth to the kitchen trying to figure out what’s safe for me to eat. Just that small change makes eating out considerably less stressful. But it also means that sometimes, like this night, something I thought should be safe when I looked at the menu in the window before we came in, turned out not to be when I looked at the allergen menu. Oh well, at least I didn’t get sick, right?
Distance walked = 2.92 miles