Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Travelling With Arthritis
Ah, summer – that glorious but fleeting time of year when the kids are out of school, the office is dotted with closed doors and unlit nooks, and distant places with limited internet service beckon. Many of us will answer that whispering voice. For those of us who do (and happen to live with arthritis), a few extra steps in the planning will reduce wasted time, stress, and help us to enjoy our precious time away to the fullest.
Travelling by air? Many airlines now offer seating areas with extra leg room, for only a few dollars more per ticket. You don’t need to fly first class in order to have a seat with enough space to move your legs. Joint stiffness sets in during periods of stillness and immobility, and for travelers with arthritis, small spaces can be, quite literally, painful. Economy Plus provides the space you need to give ankles, knees, and hips a change in position and a stretch. When you walk – not limp – down the aisle to your vacation, you’ll be glad you invested in the added space.
Travelling with injectable meds, such as Enbrel or Humira? Be sure to have an I.D. card or letter from your doctor stating that you must carry your meds – including the needles – on board. Do not try to pass through security without this! Also, be sure to have an adequately insulated cooler and ample ice packs to last the duration of your trip. Biologics need to stay cold to be safe.
On the subject of meds, it is wise to carry all of them – not only the injectables – on your person. Face it – luggage gets lost occasionally. You’ll lose a big chunk of time trying to replace them. Worse, missing doses can have negative consequences on your health and treatment progress. Make room in that laptop bag – this is important.
Are you staying in a hotel? Be sure in advance that your room includes a refrigerator. Be aware that some hotels assess a fee for this convenience.
While checking on the fridge, ask about needle disposal. It’s wise to carry a Sharps container, but not always convenient to transport it back home. Many hotels provide service for this. If your hotel will not dispose of your needles, remember to keep your doctor’s note or ID card with the container for your return trip.
Think twice about luxury bedding. A feather bed may sound like its own brand of vacation, but my experience with cloud-like softness was not worth the back pain in the morning.
Are you travelling to a new region? Check out the terrain. Exploring San Francisco by foot may sound enticing, but you should be aware of the affect the steep grades may have on your knees. Planning on exploring every inch of sandy beach in St. Lucia? Delicious as it sounds, it could wreak havoc on your ankles and hips. Awareness will help you to make the most of all your location has to offer.
With the planning out of the way and no minor detail left to hassle you, you will be free to relax, and to fully enjoy every moment of your vacation. Go ahead – you deserve it. Enjoy!