Healing Ramble: Tips for airports & traveling whilst chronically ill

Memo: What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble Introduction” video for context on this series.

With respect and understanding that not everyone can do *this* – i have another riff about “why” to seek medical care or healing treatment elsewhere (not in US/Canada in this case). For now, use it if you need it, if not just pass along.

Tactics:

* Request wheelchair service well in advance and use it proudly – Besides getting you around the airport, you fast track through security and immigration lines / You are usually be first on and last off the plane, be patient

* Fly Tuesdays and Wednesdays mid-day, the airports are most mellow at this time (also tickets usually cheapest)

* Dark glasses and earplugs/noise canceling headphones for when you’re in the airport

* I use an aisle seat so easier to go to the back galley area and stretch if needed + restroom breaks without hassle when a sleeping passenger next to you

* Lavender oil, compression socks, eye mask and your most comfortable sweater for the flight, dress respectable to increase chance of upgrades (and because you are sharp like that)

* When flying far – for me anything longer than three or four hours – book a hotel in (or close by) the airport at the other end, in some cases you can get wheelchair ride to the hotel to crash out and recover. Bonus points to get one with a bathtub

* Check your bag, only take a small carry-on with comfort items, don’t try to be that “efficient business traveler” and / or save money with just a carry-on

* Turmeric tea/tincture & aspirin and water water water & coconut water & NO booze – Did I mention noise canceling headphones?

* Put on an audiobook or chill music… Keep the sensory stimulation low by not watching movies especially on the crappy seat back for the videos. For me, the fuzzy screens spin me out plus you see all the other anxiousness and activity going on

* Get a credit card which gives you access to airport lounges… go to the airport early, find a quiet corner and hydrate and snack with protein rich foods so when you’re on the plane, you’re not eating the crap or being interrupted… Plus when using wheelchair service, best to go well in advance as some airports have a limited staff performing this service

* When you board (using wheelchair you’ll probably be first on) introduce yourself to the flight attendants and mentioned that you may need extra water and make sure you are close to bathroom if you need a little sensory de-stimulation

Tip: Oh one more thing, seriously don’t try to do a lot of stuff when you travel, for me I go places to find bookstores and quiet coffee shops and simply be somewhere else.  Just because you are a “somewhere else” doesn’t mean you suddenly have a bunch of energy to go out and about and meet lots of people. Avoid restaurants at busy times as well (i.e. hit lunch after 1:30 get a table in a quiet corner) … for me this reduces sensory overload.

Note: Not all of these tips are applicable to everyone obviously but for me dealing with ME/Fibro find them to be critically handy. All for now, curious to hear your tips or any thoughts about the above.

Also this archive is laden with other riffs about healing elsewhere and taking baths in the Healing Ramble series.

Whatcha think?