Travelling is always a stressful thing, with all the security loops to jump through, and the general concerns of making sure you have everything. This is only made worse when you have a chronic illness or disability. There is so much extra stuff that you have to remember when you are fighting a chronic illness, and a lot of it you cant go with out if you were to forget it.
For this holiday, I have taken about two months to prepare everything that I need to take with me- you probably could do it quicker, but I’ve not been well and had to stop driving, so it wasn’t as straight forward as it could be. It has also been a long time for me since I last travelled, so I have been realising new things I need to sort as I have gone along.
The first major thing to sort out is always medication. Most chronic illnesses come alongside an expanse of medication that help you keep symptoms at bay and make basic things tolerable. Now for me, I have a lot of pain medication along with other medication to help with my stomach, sleep and mental health. With certain medications, such as morphine and some antihistamines, you have to have them authenticated by a medical professional. This sounds a lot more complicated than it really is, all you have to do is get a copy of your prescription, a letter from your doctor, and make sure that your medications have the label with your name and pharmacy signature on. I know that I have had to pay for the medical letter than was £20, but otherwise this is all pretty straight forward.
Now it doesn’t matter if you are going to the other side of the world or just to the next town, you always have to think through do you have the extra little things that help you to be comfortable? For me this consists of comfy clothes, supportive shoes, strapping tapes, and probably most importantly, my wheelchair. This time around I have also included a bunch of sterile dressings, I am currently having to use these for some ulcers caused by blood sugar levels. As some one with a lot of allergies I cant use most plasters, so I have to be sure to take everything I might need with me. Last thing I want is to have to try and find a foreign pharmacy and try and find plasters that wont cover me in a rash.
Finally, its just a matter of thinking through how you are going to get yourself and everything you need to the airport and through to the plane. I am lucky that I am travelling with my partner and all of his family, all of whom are very supportive with my disabilities. We are completely prepared (or at least I think we are), and have booked for the added assistance in the airport, so that I can go through security in my wheelchair. Between the eight adults, we should be able to manage the luggage and two children; but having support from those you are traveling with is always a real help- means that although I could self propel the entire time, I should only have to focus on getting myself around.
Although this will be going out too late to help me with this trip, I would love to hear any tips you have for traveling with disability. Do you have anything you find really helps you to prepare and get around?