EDITORIAL BOARDNeil Betteridge
I just got back from a wonderful holiday with my friends. Sun, sea and sangria! Bit depressing coming back to the daily grind, but I had the best time, and I was so happy my flare-ups weren’t too bad while I was away.
I did so much planning beforehand to make sure the trip ran smoothly. First thing I did was to look into mobility assistance at the airports I was traveling to (both there and back). I found out that this needed to be booked at least 24 hours before my flight, which is what I was hoping, so that if closer to the time I felt I may need extra assistance I could book it in advance. Travel insurance was next on my list. I compared a few options and chose one that suited my needs.
Then for planning my meds. To make sure I had everything before I traveled, I booked an appointment with my doctor to discuss a few things about the medication I needed for my trip. I also made sure to pack more medication than I would need (you know just in case our flight home got canceled) and put my meds in my carry-on. This was to avoid any loss or damage – it’s just not worth the risk of putting it in checked baggage! That would have been terrible, and I’m way too organized to let that happen. Regardless of how long you go away for, I would recommend bringing at least an extra weeks’ worth of medication.
Sadly, my condition has meant that I now have to pack a lot lighter. I can no longer take five pairs of my favourite shoes. My wrists just wouldn’t be able to take the weight if I had to pick my luggage up. HOWEVER! I’ve gotten a lot better at planning my activities, which really makes deciding on a holiday wardrobe a lot easier. I also make sure my suitcase has wheels and was easy to push with both hands –pulling can really start to hurt my arms after a while.
I usually feel the best before lunch, so my friends and I planned all our activities for earlier in the day – they are great and so understanding. We planned a few bus tours, which were a great way to see the whole city without too much walking. Being the planner that I am, I pre-booked these online, which is a brilliant way to save on costs! My vacation destination had some great museums and galleries to visit as well and, luckily, they had lots of benches and seats.
My friends were looking for a relaxing holiday and, let’s be honest, I had to take it easy. So, we chose a hotel with a great swimming pool. Swimming is a great activity for me – it loosens my joints and is a relaxing way to take it easy after a morning of sight-seeing. Plus, a little snooze on a sun lounger is always a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I make sure to include down-time on my trips, as overdoing it can trigger swelling and stiffness.
I really encourage anyone with RA to still travel or to go away if they can. It can be daunting and a bit stressful at first to think of picking up your whole RA routine and moving it somewhere else, but with the correct planning beforehand and a well-thought-out itinerary it’s definitely doable. This could be one more step towards taking back your life! RA won’t stop me enjoying my life and you definitely shouldn’t let it stop you.