Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Travelling for People with Invisible Disabilities

I thought I wouldn't make it to our trip. I had severe asthma the night before we were set to leave for our family vacation. I barely slept, so I was worried I won't have the energy to go through the flight. The last time we travelled we requested for a wheelchair and it helped immensely. We were not able to request for one for this trip. 

I was already awake when Sweetie woke up. I kept waking up throughout the night and was mulling whether I should use the oxygen concentrator. My oxygen saturation though was good so I did not push through and tried to sleep. 

The good news is I survived the trip! The adrenaline from being excited to go through our first family trip since 2019. I think what really helped me was managing stress and taking things slowly. Here are a few tips for those traveling with people who have invisible disabilities:

1. Be clear with your goals for the trip

People with invisible disabilities function very differently. Our energies cannot match that of healthy people. My 86 year old Mom actually lasts longer than I do and deals with stress better. Plan activities that are manageable for the physically challenged person. For our travel day we just ate and rested in between when we arrived.

2. Make sure to plan and bring more than enough medication

Days before our trip I already made a list of all the meds I needed. I brought 50% more meds in case we got stuck. Also brought a copy of my prescription in case of emergency and to show in case it was needed at the airport. Of course because I'm a girl scout, I also have scanned copies of it in my Google Drive.

3. The matter of clothing

I was drenched in sweat by the time we had lunch. Good thing I had a face towel in my bag.

Understand how your body reacts to different temperatures. I easily get cold and easily heat up. I basically have to stay within a certain temperature (bubble girl yan). So I brought a myriad of clothes so I could adjust as needed. I forgot to bring sleep socks (usually the one from the plane), so I just requested for an extra blanket.

4. Be mindful of what you eat

I have some annoying allergies and I stay within limits of my medication. I know I went beyond what I should eat when I have a sneezefest. I know my body quite well so I'm able to manage symptoms before it gets worse. Companions should also understand your limits so they can watch out for you also. My boys know my triggers, so they're able to flag things I  shouldn't eat.

5. Control movement and activities

My main issue is my lungs. They're scarred, so moving around a lot is hard for me. We planned activities that are probably more common for "seniors" haha. We still want to enjoy though, so we made a list of things we want to see and do. We shied away from the usual tourist activities and just did what was manageable. I just sat out things that would strain me. We were also very mindful about social distancing and avoided crowds.

6. Manage stress and triggers

I have PTSD and it doesn't feel good when it's triggered. For the trip I made sure to bring a Peace and Calming roller blend. It helps me be in a calmer space. My boys also know when I'm starting to get stressed. They already know "the look" and they take over as needed. Managing triggers is really helpful to keep your day running smoothly.

My days of heavy traveling and crazy travel activities is definitely over. My doctors keep reminding me I'm still young (though trapped in an 80 year old body) and so I still want to enjoy and make new happy memories with my family. We just need to adjust and tweak things here and there so we could still enjoy our family trips.

*And maybe you can use these tips when traveling with elderly.

#StaySafe #BeKind

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