I am physically disabled but I still travel
When I was working I travelled all over the world then medical retirement kicked me in the groin. Life as I knew it suddenly changed. Occasionally I still get the urge to travel, this time me and The Wife went to Australia. I am physically disabled but I still travel.
Cut the stress
I have just returned from a five week holiday in Australia including 7 flights with a 3 day stopover in Singapore each way, two road trips and a 25 hour train journey. Gone are the days when I could just get up and go. It used to take me about 15 minutes to pack my case and leave the house on Monday mornings for a 6 AM flight. Now it is 45 minutes just to wash, shave and get dressed.
I must thank The Wife, without her this holiday would have been impossible but I like to think that we both pulled our weight. Other people with MS go on holiday Yes it is a challenge, I think everyone rose to it and here are a few tips.
Several weeks before you go
Talk to the airline about your disability and any special requirements and check reserved seats. Now here’s a little tip, The Wife likes the window seat and I like an aisle seat. I am disabled and the airline have never puts anyone in the seat between us.
I am physically disabled but I still travel
Do think about medicines that you will need. Talk to your GP and get a prescription specifically for your holiday and also check up on immunisation jabs. Antibiotics in case of a UTI is a sensible precaution.
Time to be honest
Could you go five weeks without a shower? Do you use a wet room? Is your balance a bit squiffy? I’m being honest, I need to sit down for a shower and I need to hold on to grab rails as well. I must use these sort of things so we took a flat pack shower stool and lightweight suction grip handles. We were staying with friends; they aren’t disabled so why the hell should they have them?
Lists, lists and even more lists
The Wife just loves a list and sometimes even writes a list of lists :-). Personally I trust to luck but she’s the boss. Over a period of about a week she wrote LISTS of what we would take and which case it will be in. The idea worked! We needed everything we took bar a smart jacket for me. We had to cater for tropical weather, hot weather, wet weather, windy weather, and even sunny weather.
My sole responsibility was medical equipment including pills, catheters and mobility aids – definitely a smart move.
So you think that’s all
I have been doing this sort of thing for many years so I know a few tricks of the trade. There we have the important bits that I need to be aware of when travelling out of the country. I must add that the airports and airlines were fantastic. So there you have it, or at least the better bits.
I will write a separate post on taking The Trike on a plane soon.
Flying with significant mobility problems
Living with multiple sclerosis is no laughing matter
Accessible tourism is becoming a “thing” in Australia is exemplified by the Qantas tourism awards last year in Perth.
This post https://trailridertales.blogspot.com/2017/11/parks-victoria-win-disabled-tourism.html on my blog shows the awards and the subsequent post, from Bill Forrester in Australia who specialises completely in what you’re talking about shows why the time when disabled tourism was a sideline is coming to an end and it is going to become mainstream
I’m very impressed how you still travel, Patrick. I’m in a wheelchair and when I have flown, the airlines have been good. However, I dislike flying so for our last major trip, we sailed across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 – a luxury that our dogs relished. Not sure whether there are long trips on the horizon. Road trips?
Sometimes I have to admit that the struggle can be a bit too much so I have a day of doing nothing. I’m not a great fan of flying especially intercontinental but you can get to somewhere quickly plus being stuck on a boat for several days appeals a lot less than being stuck on a plane for a few hours. 13 hours to Singapore is a very long time.
Flying frightens me thinking about my mobility scooter, The Trike, and aircraft baggage handlers. Their motto is ‘We will break’. I talk about this in my next blog over the weekend.
I keep using the stairs too! Grab rails both sides. I’m a council tenant so will have to move when I can no longer use them. I do think it’s good to keep persevering as long as possible – use it or lose it
I now say ‘use it to keep it’ Perseverance or bloody mindedness is essential when MS is gently tearing down the walls of independence
Hi Patrick, Are you still able to get upstairs? And if so do you go up one at a time or alternate steps? I’m still able to, but most of the time, it’s one step at a time! Still not ready for a stairlift though, will put it off as long as I can. John
Getting upstairs is always a struggle. If I’m not too tired and there are banisters I can hold on with both hands then I can do two steps at a time, always leading with my right foot. If there is only one banister then it is one step at the time if there is no banister that it just doesn’t happen. Even with an FES I can only lift my left foot a couple of inches off the ground
The Wife and I talk about this whole issue very occasionally. When the time comes then we will either install a lift or a stairlift, neither of us are very happy with either. Like you I will put it all off as long as possible. I can do a very good ostrich job