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.