Passport, suncream, flip flops, camera? Check.
Carry on suitcase just for medication, mobility aids, enough hand sanitizer to sink a ship and a gnawing anxiety over how I’ll cope? CHECK!
It’s holiday time, people! I’m British, so I’m sticking with the term ‘holiday’ throughout. Live with it. And by holiday, I mean travelling abroad to see a doctor and attempting to do touristy things while we’re there. Because that’s what holidays are for sick people sometimes. Going to the other side of the Earth to see pretty much the only doctor I have any faith in any more. Madness? Maybe. Desperation, yes. Being incredibly lucky to even be able to do it, definitely.
Apart from the usual doctor-ey stuff, we’re going to see the sights and try to be ‘normal’ tourists. Of course my brand of normal is a bit different these days. I’ll be taking packed lunches only consisting of ‘safe foods’, the sightseeing will probably be from the hire car window, and I plan to be in bed by 6pm on most nights. Rock n roll. At least the chances of getting drunk and waking up with a terrible tattoo are non existent.
Holidays/vacations are a sick person’s ULTIMATE test in illness management. It’s a tight rope between pushing yourself enough so that you make the ‘most’ out of being there, but not so hard that it does lasting damage. it’s so temping to just go and see that one extra thing, or stay out that little bit later, or skip the planned rest day because you’d rather be taking photos of rocks up a mountain somewhere. Yeah, I like rocks. You might want to insert your own favourite holiday pastime there instead.
So with all this in mind, here are DDDangerous’s top tips for going away –
1. Do your research. Learn about what infectious diseases might be lurking, and how to take precautions, you don’t need to add any new diseases to your repertoire. Bring back memories, a tan, and a supposedly locally crafted ornament / foodstuff / huge hat, not diseases. What’s the healthcare like there, how will you access it if you need to? GET INSURANCE.
2. Be organised. Use a pill box to organise your medication as much as possible, a change in your daily routine means there’s an increased risk of you forgetting to take your medications or accidentally doubling up.
3. Plan your activities in advance so you’re seeing everything efficiently and not doubling back on yourself thereby wasting your spoons.
4. Make allowances. Do you need a hire car? Mobility aids? Rest periods? Ear plugs? Whatever you need at home, you’ll definitely need while you’re away. You don’t magically turn into ‘Holiday You’ when you touchdown on the runway and morph into a healthy normal person who can do healthy normal things, despite what the adverts tell you. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it.
5. Take your time. Allow extra time for airports and every activity so you don’t feel rushed and stressed. The more stressed you are, the worse you’ll feel and less you’ll be able to do.
6. Load up on your-diet-friendly snacks. Tired and hungry are always a losing combination.
7. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do everything you intend to, and tell loved ones where to shove it if they get arsey about you not coming along for absolutely everything. It’s ok to say ‘no, you go to that
ridiculously boring niche interest thing you wanted to see, I’ll just stay here and die quietly rest.”
8. Allow yourself to feel sad that you can’t do everything you might have wanted to. I quite fancied a 10 mile hike and camping under the stars in a certain famous national park, but I’m just not up to it. There’s still plenty of things I can do, so I’m focusing on that.
9. Brag about what you’re up to as much as you possibly can on social media. Non-sick people get to talk about their shiny lives with their shiny health, careers, family, homes, hobbies, yadda yadda. The very least you can do is Facebook-brag about seeing a landmark or sitting in the warm sun when people at home are shivering. Make the most of it. You’ve earned it.
10. Try to enjoy it, despite everything. You’re still alive and life is precious. Even though it’s so difficult and what you can achieve is limited, if you’re able to travel at all then you’re very lucky. You don’t know what the future holds, so grab hold of opportunities with both slimey suncreamed hands.