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 5 - 1/25/18 - Basel / Stockholm / Uppsala, Sweden
My pain levels were still pretty high when I woke up, so exploring Basel was out of the question. There was no way I could manage walking around the city on the same day we were traveling. The amount of walking entailed in just getting through the airports at either end is probably going to almost do me in by itself. So I spent the day hanging out at the hotel until my husband finished work. We were able to catch a bus to the airport from right outside the front door of our hotel.
Basel doesn’t have an incredibly huge airport, but with the condition my feet and especially my knee was in, I was limping by the time we lined up to get on the plane. Basel airport had a unique gate experience. The jetway, the long hallway you walk down from the seating area to the actual plane, crossed a two-lane road, descended two flights of stairs (which was not good for either my feet or my knee), then exited the building onto the tarmac, where I could see stairs pushed up against either end of the plane.
Our seats were towards the back of the plane, so I limped over to the rear stairs and literally had to grab the railing and haul myself up. Each step was incredibly painful. My feet had gone numb and tingly and my knee felt like someone was stabbing me with each step. By the time I got on the plane and seated, my hands were shaking so badly that I had difficulty removing my iPad and glasses from my backpack. Getting to that level of pain, where I am physically shaking, has only happened once or twice before. I had to fight down a panic attack because we still had to navigate the airport and a train in Stockholm before we got to our hotel in Uppsala. Thankfully, the shaking had stopped by the time we took off. Because I’d already taken two Vicodin this trip and was concerned about going through my entire supply before we even get to India, I took some ibuprofen.
It's a good thing I did too. Stockholm airport is gigantic! The walk from the gate to where we picked up our luggage was longer than almost any other airport that I've ever been in. Then we walked about twice that distance again to get to the train terminal attached to the airport. By the time we managed to actually get on the train, I was drenched in sweat and ready to collapse.
Thanks to his great planning, our hotel in Uppsala, Sweden, was right across the street from the train station just like the one we'd had in Basel. Planning ahead for things like that can make all the difference. There was no way I could have walked to our hotel if it had been several blocks away. Logically, I know I shouldn't, but I always feel judged if I have to take a cab to only go a few blocks. Like they are looking at me and thinking, 'It's only a few blocks. You should be walking, you fat, lazy, American." I know that's all in my head, but I can't tell you how many times I've walked somewhere when, based on the condition of my feet and my pain levels, I should have just called a cab.
Distance walked = 2.89 miles