Challenge No 68 – Flying Trauma

Flying what a challenge this can be for people with an illness. I have taken a few flights over the years and I can believe how I have got through some of my travel adventures.

Even with the assistance of medication, I still have trouble getting from A to B in a car. Now you have to use your imagination, when I explain to you how travel on a flight is for me is a challenge.  I’m at the starting point at home, therefore I have to transfer to an airport. this can be done by car, bus or train. If I had wings that would be lovely but I’m not that good. Unfortunately you dont have toilet facilities/washroom in a car and the likeihood of being stuck in traffic is very possible on the UK motorways/highways. You’ve already considered the time to avoid traffic and the distance to the airport when booking a flight. Holy smokes what happens if I did get stuck in traffic and no access to toilet facilities/washroom. What do you do? (I’ve yet to master that obstabcle).

Ive already considered if travelling in a car where I should park in close proximity of the terminal definelty don’t need another fearful commute from a park & ride transfer.

I arrive at the airport and I feel immediate relief that I made it, nevertheless straightway I have to rush to the toilet facilities/washroom. I develop a huge sigh,  I will be ok now I have the security of the toilet facilities/washroom but i still have to queue at check in. Jumping from one foot to the other like a 5yr old and repeating the following mantra in your head ” please get me through this queue. Whoop whoop I have finally made it, oh no i haven’t not just yet.

The next hurdle is like a rider in the Grand National Race, I  have to go through security and I can see there is queues of people. I have 3  choices, do you ask for assistance, utilise the  prepaid express line or show them I have a medical card.  I have tried express line by paying extra, I’m sure it  helped a little. I’ve also showed my medical card and it’s no use at an airport with non english speaking staff. Therefore along comes another mantra or me speaking to the universal “I will make this,  I will make this”. At this point, I give myself a pat on the back for wearing slip on shoes, no belt and no underwire in my underwear. Outcomes a screech, yes I got through the xray machine and no additional searches. Shear relief comes over me,  I’ve made it through and at this point I thank the universe.

Time for a little distraction, a look around the shops before boarding my flight or maybe some refreshments. In my case it’s time to sit and enjoy a flight detox for me.

I finally board my flight and warn the cabin staff that I may need assistance to get into the toilet facilities/washroom immediately. To be fair most of them have been really good and show some compassion but there has been one, who has said to me’ what do you want me to do. Its time for a little education, which doesn’t involve oxygen masks or life jackets. I’m very grateful for the cabin crew who have let me use the toilet facility/washroom prior to getting to the runway when needed.

On the flight there’s an eureka moment when the seat belt sign goes off. The feeling of a little bit of calmness knowing that you can get to the toilet facilities/washroom. I do plan my seating and I do.ensure that I sit near the toilet facilities on flights. I start to behave like a greyhound chasing a hare. The wc is my hare and I’m fixated watching the hare ready to give chase should I need too. There is way to many greyhounds chasing the hare on a flight and not enough of hares.

A flight is meant to be a relaxing & enjoyable experience but for someone with an illness like mine there’s a degree of constant panic, more so for me as my symptoms are not fully managed as yet. However much I like being in the sky, my body is craving land. When writing this blog, I was thinking why do i put myself through this torment. Do  never travel again and just stay in the UK. Do I just go on cruises out of the UK in order to get my fix.

Travelling is a big part of me, not so much since my cancer diagnosis. However there is always going to be obstacles whether it be symptoms, fear, lack of travel insurance or just being defeated. My illness has taken a big part of life already including some organs. I cant let it take everything that I
have strived for. Notwithstanding the enjoyment Mr Zebrakat and I have during our travels. I have to continue to endure the problems that come with travel until I can’t take it any longer.

Back down to earth again, as I’m about to land I’m starting with the mantras in my head again. I’m strapped to my seat so no more greyhound racing for me. I have approximately 20 minutes were I can’t move. This is when I start do a little riverdance and Michael Flatley would be so proud of my moves. The wheels finally hit the runaway and I am smiling with enthusiasm because I’ve made it. Whoop whoop.

Anyone who experiences medical issues knows exactly what I’m talking about and the difficulties we endure in making a trip. Congratulations to everyone who makes a flight/trip under these circumstances. Freedom is not available to everyone but if you can, take time planning to make  your trip as enjoyable as possible. Hopefully I have given you some tips in the precautions that I take and if you have any other tips please share them to assist other people.

Weekly Blog No 40 – Preparation for International Move 

International moving is a whole new learning experience, it can be stressful, joyful and expensive all at the same time.  This is our fourth international move. UK to Canada, Canada to UK, UK to Canada and finally Canada to UK. Some might even call us the boomerang Brits.

First you have to make the decision to move, people are moving everyday for different reasons, it can for family, employment, a change of lifestyle or seeking a new adventure. The move can be considered as stressful or a walk in the park but it’s down to the preparation. One thing I have personally learnt from the process is that there is never enough hours in the day. Ideally a 30hr day would be perfect rather the usual 24hr day. Here are some of the things I’ve had to consider.

Furniture & Personal Possessions

 Photo from the sale brochure of my home

Shipping can be very expensive and you have to make the decision, is it really worth all the cost. I have experience with 20ft and 40ft containers, however this time as I chose to do groupage (shared container) to keep costs down. Due to my own personal experience, Canadian furniture is to big for British dwellings, therefore I made the decision to sell most of our items. British furniture is cheaper than Canadian and more suitable for British properties. Although I did have beautiful pieces I’m able to let it go to keep costs to a minimum as I do have wonderful memories.

Live Stock (Also known as Lottie aka Velcro)

 

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This little bundle of cuteness also needs preparation. There are hundreds of people flying live stock and the cost is incredible.  You have to use a pet agent to fly with certain airlines and I have used the same company and airline 3 times. In order to fly Lottie into the UK you have to have a microchip, than rabies injection and tapeworm all within the proper time scales. If you follow the correct procedure you can avoid quarantine in the UK for 6 months.  Lotiie will be on the same flight as us, however she will be below our feet in the hold hopefully having a fabulous snooze.

Cars

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 We have manage to sell one car to our friends, however one week to go we are still are stuck with our biggest four wheel investment. Friends have offered to sell it on our behalf but cars are just not selling in the downturn. We have a plan B to sell it back to the garage and guess who has the biggest smile, not us.  We can walk away bearing no more cost and cutting all ties.

The Cancer Patient 

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I’m still recovering from spine surgery, earliest indications are that I’m doing well. Hopefully the spine specialist will have the same opinion this week when I see him on my post surgery appointments. My cancer symptoms are causing me horrendous problems, therefore I’m lucky to have my husband around. My family physician has given me a prescription to aid me through the flight. I have my cancer treatment this week so I have 28 days to get my next treatment in place.

Saying goodbye to my family physician was hard, I know I have mentioned him in my blog before but he really was a very compassionate person. The respect was mutual and I hope that I make the same relationship with my new GP. Thank you again Dr K.

I do believe I’m armed with all my medical notes and discs in preparation for the UK medical journey. The word nervous is not usually in my vocabulary but its rearing its ugly head. I’m nervous to be honest due to experience, nevertheless I’m up for the challenge.

Saying Goodbye 

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We have had a stream of visitors (friends) coming into say goodbye. There has been hugs and tears, yet I haven’t allowed myself to go there yet. If I do, I may never stop and I won’t be able to deal with the task in hand. Come next Saturday morning when there is nothing else to do, I will have tissues close by as I know that’s when it’s going to hit me.

My next blog will be in the UK, so this is my last Canadian blog. Goodbye Canada.