Is there a way to travel without sitting down?
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Grab your coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep Oh, if only it were that simple. I used to enjoy traveling but now it is something I dread. I know what is coming and like sticking my hand into a flame, I know it is going to hurt. Next week, I am going to Dallas, Texas to visit my son, who is an RN there, his wife and my four Texas grandchildren. I haven't seen the children in four years so I know there will be many changes. There's an ache in the pit of my stomach because I know these children have not seen enough of me in the last eight years since moving to Texas to really know me anymore. Why haven't they seen more of me? Because I don't travel well, not very well at all. After a painful journey, I need to rest. You can't do that when you only have a couple of days to visit a very busy, active family. I never wanted to be known as the sick Nana, even if it is true. They have also not made much of an effort to get out here to see us. My son comes out every other year but to fly a family of six is very expensive. Thus life goes.
I will be traveling with my daughter Beth, her husband, Jeff and their two small children as well as Jeff's Mom and my friend, Nancy. I look forward to sharing their company because we always enjoy each other. Jeff and Nancy are going to a lighting convention there for their business, while Beth, the children and I will travel to the suburbs to visit family. I'm sharing all this with you to explain there will be sitting to get to the airport in Portland, Ore., sitting on the flight, sitting to get out to see family each day andsittingis my nemesis. There is nothing that hurts more because of my unstable sacroiliac joints and accompanying problems with the whole pelvis. The only thing worse, for me, is falling on said joints. That is why I walk. You can only lean against a wall or counter so long without looking suspicious and having someone call the house detective.
When I walk that much, I have intense pain in my pelvis, hips and my ankles hurt and become very unstable. When I become too fatigued I have tachycardia and sometimes, chest pain and difficulty breathing. I do all of this while trying to look healthy so as not to worry my traveling companions. I'm pretty good at it, thanks to the wonders of make-up and an unfailing sense of humor.
I haven't flown since the infamous September 11 and know it is more complicated these days. I am concerned about the delays because it will involve more standing in lines. I do not do well having to sit on hard plastic airport chairs, so I walk a great deal. Eight years ago my daughter and I flew to Helsinki for a long overdue visit with a very old friend from Finland. The long, long flight to England, a six hour layover there followed by another long flight to Helsinki was amazing for me. My bottom was numb about half-way through and I knew once the feeling returned it would return with a vengeance. Beth slept on a bench at Heathrow during the layover. Unlike this country, England has benches, not all those seats with arms, so one can lie down. Unfortunately, when you have a bad sitter, lying down is not much better if the surface is hard. Therefore, I walked, and walked and walked. I cannot sleep when my backside hurts because the pain is too intense. When we finally got out to my friend's apartment, I had not slept in almost 40 hours. She announced to us when they drove into her parking lot at her home, that she didn't want to scare me off and had neglected to tell me she lived on the fifth floor of a building without an elevator. Did you ever just want to lie down and die? I was catatonic with fatigue, pain and wasn't even thinking clearly by then. I guess I think if I survived that trip, I can survive anything.
Forgive me, I digress. Getting ready for this trip I am packing my heating pad, enough medications for twice the length of the trip, and extra pain meds and muscle relaxants and rectal cortisone suppositories. I am fortunate enough to have a General Practitioner here in town who's amazing in her understanding of what my life is like. I am taking only comfortable shoes because I gave up anything but comfort many years ago. I am shipping a box of goodies to the Texas family to arrive hopefully just before we do. I'll address it to myself so hopefully, they won't open it. I may have to paste a few warnings on the outside of the box. My thoughtful daughter, who also suffers back pain due to an old fracture several years ago, has inquired about the type of mattresses at the hotel so we will hopefully be able to rest comfortably. When you have a bad back and backside, a long night on a rock can make you nuts, to say nothing of sleep deprived and very bitchy the next day or two.
Why am I putting myself through all this, you might ask? For family of course, because I want to see my son and most of all I want my Texas grandchildren to remember the Nana they knew when they were small. I remember the spring we were all sitting around our pool conjecturing as to whether or not it was too cold to swim. That Nana, stood up and walked into the pool, shirt, jeans and all. The children loved it. I know she's still inside of me somewhere. I'm also very anxious to get caught up on their lives because their growth has gone on in spite of what has stopped in my life.
Please send me all of your good thoughts, my friends. I will write a blog either from Texas or write it early for the days I will be gone from home.
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