Next week, my husband and I are going away for a late anniversary trip to the Isle of Wight.
That means a road trip down to the coast, staying in a hotel in the New Forest, then a ferry over the next day. We opted to stay in an AirBnB during our stay on the island, so that we could have our own kitchen and space because of my health issues.
Packing and preparing for a holiday can be stressful for anyone, let alone people with disabilities or chronic illness. There is always so much to remember, and someone almost always leaves something behind!
I’m a big fan of making lists, so I sit down and make a list before I pack, then check things off as I go. Usually, I end up adding things as I go, and I double check everything when I’m done to reassure myself.
But, with my health issues and disabilities, I cannot simply pack up some clothes and head away. There are a lot more things I need to add on my list for my holiday:
Shower Stool- Even though my balance is better when I don’t have a migraine, I don’t have the energy to stand up for a whole shower. I also get dizzy spells, and they seem to get worse when I shower. Standing up, getting dizzy, and being in the shower isn’t exactly a safe combination!
Food- Because of my gastroparesis, I can’t eat proper food. Being away from home makes it difficult because I can’t just pop into a restaurant and guarantee that I can find even a safe soup that I can have. That means that I’m bringing my meal replacement drinks, and the couple other safe foods I can have.
Medications- I, and my amazing husband, have spent a lot of time this week making sure I had all my medications organised, so that I had enough for our trip.
Rollator Walker- I never leave home without my walker, so it’s no surprise that it’s on my list! Even if my balance is okay, I still get dizzy spells, and extreme fatigue. My walker can help me walk a short distance by giving me a bit of extra support, and help me not fall over.
Sick Bags- It’s not pleasant, but I vomit a lot. If I leave the house, I need to be able to have a place to be sick, as you can’t always count on there being a bathroom readily available. I mean… can you imagine being stuck in traffic, or driving down a motorway and needing to throw up now? That’s where sick bags are very handy.
Radar Key- In the UK, many public disabled toilets are locked by a special lock that can be unlocked by radar keys. You can buy these online, or through charities or local councils, and it’s strongly encouraged that online disabled people buy them. I believe the reason why they lock disabled toilets is to dissaude people who aren’t disabled, or who don’t need them, from using them. This is controversial, but nevertheless, it’s what happens.
Wheelchair- Now, this one I’m not exactly packing, as I don’t have a wheelchair in this country, but I did have to book and plan for it. Even though I can walk a bit, and I use my walker for short distances outside, I cannot walk for very long outside. I get very fatigued, and lately my legs start giving out on me. Luckily, there are a couple wheelchair rental companies on the island, so I booked a wheelchair for the days that we are there. Hopefully, that means I can go around and enjoy a few more things!
Clearly, packing and planning for a few days away with chronic conditions and disability can be a lot of work.
It’s worth it in the long run though, as if you plan and pack right, you can ensure that you have a great time, staying safe and healthy.