10 things I do when I have to travel, while my stupid chronic illnesses tag along.

green and white volkswagen combi

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When I was much younger, traveling was something I looked forward to doing in my life.  I dreamed that some day I/we would have enough money to visit a few places I have always dreamed of seeing in person……..Italy, India, Cuba, Belize and the Southwest U.S.  Instead, extra money goes to pay medical bills and the thought of getting on a plane or sitting in a vehicle for a long road trip creates anxiety.  I already feel ill, being in a moving anything makes me feel worse…………every, single, time. Period.  It just sucks.

But there are times in our life when we need to go somewhere that requires being in a moving vehicle for more than a trip across town, and since teleportation isn’t a thing yet, I just have to suck it up and get through it.

So here are a few things that have made traveling more bearable for me:

  1.  I stay hydrated.  I always feel better when my body has adequate water.  Bottled is a must as tap (chlorinated) water makes me instantly ill.
  2.   I eat as healthy as possible.  Junk food makes me feel like just like that, junk.  I usually pack a cooler and bring cut up veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds, grain-free tortilla chips, and some health bars.
  3.   I watch the world pass by.  Unfortunately I can’t read, look at my phone or do much of anything other than look out the window while being in a moving object.  Doing otherwise has had some bad results.
  4.   I bring my pillows and blanket with me.  I must have a wedge pillow to sleep as elevating my head at night allows me to function better the next day.  Then my own blanket to cozy up with at the end of the day allows me to sleep better.
  5.   I don’t push myself into that k(no)w zone.  You know the place of no return, when you realize that if you do anymore you won’t be able to function the next day.  I use to worry about letting others down but now, I realize that even if I am going to unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings, I won’t force my body to do things it just doesn’t want to do.  I do what I can and know I have done my best.
  6.  I do my best to take all supplements and/or medication on time.  I keep these with me as I travel so I don’t have to waste precious energy frantically searching for them at the last minute.
  7.  I bring earbuds with me so I can listen to relaxing music or a podcast when I need to focus on something other than how crappy I feel.
  8.  I pack comfortable clothing and shoes.  I know we all want to look nice but comfort is so much more important.
  9.   If I am going to be busy on the day I arrive at my destination, I always ask for early check-in.  That way I have time to relax before I need to be somewhere.
  10.    I always bring my heating pad.  That way I have something to help relieve sore muscles other than a hot shower.

 

Until next time…………..YOU are a superhero and superheros sometimes have to fly!

Insomnia

white and tan english cocker spaniel

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Maybe it’s just me, but there is nothing worse than being completely exhausted, uncomfortable and not being able to sleep.  Add on top of that, symptoms of CI, and now you have a big helping of a whole lot of no fun.

Yep, I have read the studies and the writings by numerous medical professionals that tell you in, oh so many ways, the importance of sleep.  How sleep is vital to healing and without proper sleep, you become even more ill.  I get it, and I agree with them.  But several of my chronic illnesses come with a “side-effect” of insomnia.  Woo hoo!  Now what?!

It’s not that my brain doesn’t want to sleep, because it really does.  In fact, I fantasize about curling up in bed with my cozy blankets and lying in my cool, dark room with my white noise machine and sleeping for a full 8 hours without interruption.  But my body doesn’t want to cooperate with my brain, it’s frustrating and exhausting.  I know funny…..oh course it is exhausting, because I am not sleeping!

So what is a person with CI to do?  I have read the……………What to do when you can’t sleep articles and tried many of the suggestions.  Unfortunately, I have found that most of the suggestions just don’t work for me.  So here is my very short list of things that I have tried to do to help (with a side of realism):

Reading – I have found this only works if I am really interested in finishing the book.

Essential oils – I have yet to find a scent that doesn’t make me feel sick to my stomach after 20 minutes or so.  This results in me having to spend more time out of bed, washing the smell off myself or changing the pillow case I put some drops on.

Music – Relaxing music that plays softly in the background………..I have used YouTube many times for this only to be scared out of my sleep by voices across the room as the YouTube video is over and a commercial is now playing.

Tea – A nice cup of hot herbal tea before bed – up all night peeing.

Milk – a warm glass of milk – I am allergic to dairy.

Movie –  Watching a movie that will make me smile…………During the movie I am sad to realize that I will never be able to do any of the fun things the actors are doing that make this such a fun movie for me to watch.  This only increases my anxiety about all my dashed dreams making it even more difficult to fall asleep.

Exercise – exactly the opposite of what sleep experts tell you to do but I have tried to ride a stationary bike at night to wear myself out.  This leads to sadness as I am out of breath and super tired way too quickly into the ride and I am so sad that I can’t exercise like I use to and……………..I still can’t sleep.

As you can read I really don’t have any good suggestions to give you except…………..maybe trying to finish a really good book.

How about you?  Do you have any suggestions of what works for you…………or  better yet, what doesn’t work!

Until next time……………YOU are a superhero!  Who else could do what you do with so little sleep!