Thursday, September 12, 2019

Traveling in Washing, D.C. with a Chronic Illness

If you've followed me online for any length of time, you probably know that I have a rare disease called Relapsing Polychondritis.  It's rather well controlled now, but it has damaged my body and I have to deal with those losses as well as very serious medications every day of my life.

I enjoy traveling because it adds to my quality of life.  I do a lot of planning to make my travel as comfortable and healthy for me as possible.

This week I was on vacation in Washington, D.C. and had so much fun!

We kayaked:

Visited some museums:
(I'm not big on dinosaur bones)

and generally Monkeyed Around:
Every time I thought about how much fun I was having, I also thought about all of the planning and preparation I do to make the travel reasonably stress-free.

In case travel is difficult for any of you, I decided to share some of my travel tips for those with chronic illnesses.

I made a list of things I have to do, things I wanted to do, and things my husband could do without me if I needed to rest.  We accomplished all of the "have to"s (his and mine) and quite a few of the "want to"s.  We didn't have to resort to any plans for my husband to do when I was resting, so yay!

On any vacation, there will be more on the to-do list than there is time to do them.  I pick and choose.  Vacation isn't supposed to wear me out or make me sick!

Sun Protection
It was rather warm in Washington, D.C. this week (80*F - 95*F) and much of our time was spent outside in the sun.  I take medications that leave me with no resistance to the sun's harmful rays; I burn in mere minutes.  Believe it or not, sun exposure can also cause my in-remission disease to flare up.  In short, the sun and I aren't friends.

I wear a hat whenever I'm outside.  This week I wore a logo hat from my husband's company.

I wear clip-on sunglasses.  I don't have to carry a large bag and keep switching my glasses as I change from indoor to outdoor and back again.  All.  Day.  Long.  I simply slide the flat sunglasses into a pouch in my small purse when I walk inside and pull them back out when I need them again.

I wear UPF 50 shirts.  I wear long-sleeved rash guard shirts when I adventure outdoors.  They aren't the coolest tops I could wear and I bake a bit in them, but they allow me to be outside during the day.  Thank you Lands' End!

I wear UPF 50 pants.  Before I discovered these pants, I had sun-exposure issues when I was in Greenwich/London.  Yes, I spent 10 days in the UK without a drop of rain and bright sunshine every day.  Who knew this was possible?  Anyway, these pants have a key pocket that is perfect for my Metro card and/or Hotel Key, they are super comfy, they pack/launder well, and they protect me from the sun.  I won't travel without these pants.

I wear sunscreen.  Can you believe this is last on my list?  I don't actually wear much sunscreen since not much skin is exposed to the sun.  I cover my face, neck, ears, and hands.  I'm currently using All Good Reef Friendly Sport Sunscreen.  It came in my CAUSEBOX and I'm loving it!

Foot/Leg Pain and Mobility Issues
I wear Compression Hose.  I have a lot of issues with my legs due to past damage and wear compression hose often.  Not only do they help my legs, but I've discovered that I no longer get sock blisters during walking vacations when wearing hose.

I wear my sneakers/tennis shoes/trainers with inserts.  I've found shoes that, while they don't keep my feet pain-free, do keep me on my feet for 10+ miles a day.  That's a HUGE win!

I have a fold-up cane that travels with me in case I have a bad day.

I always carry my smart phone and extra battery.  I use the phone for walking maps, bus and subway routes, and to summon an Uber when my body gives out.  In addition, I'm able to track my steps/miles with my phone and can brag about the distance I covered each day!

You might think I carry a huge tote bag or backpack on my adventures.  I don't.  When I'm out and about and touring, I carry a Potato Chip bag.  Anything larger becomes too heavy for me to carry around all day.

I have dietary issues.  Sometimes my sugar drops and I need to eat RIGHT NOW.  When touring in a city, this isn't a problem.  I know the most effective foods to buy at a convenience store/pharmacy to get me back in shape quickly.

I research restaurants before I leave home.  I know what I can eat and want to find places I know will work for me.  I am happy to grab meals wherever we happen to be at mealtime, but if nothing there works it's great to know where there is a restaurant with fresh fruits and veggies for me.


This trip was made on trains, subways, buses, and on foot.  I have different tips for car vacations, airplane vacations, etc., and I'll share those tips during those next vacations.

I hope everyone is able to find happy travels, whether it's an afternoon out or a week touring a city.  If something like an illness is stopping you, I hope you can find a way to overcome the obstacles and add a little adventure to your life.


الرحمه للتنظيف said...

شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر

شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر شركة المثالية هي افضل شركة تنظيف بالخبر يمكنكم التواصل معها للحصول علي افضل خدمات تنظيف المنازل والشقق والفلل والبيوت والمجالس والكنب والسجاد والموكيت والمفروشات بجودة عالية ومواصفات قياسية حيث تعد شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر اولي الشركات التي التي تخصصت في مجالل التنظيف بالخبر ولديها خبرة كبيرة وعمالة ماهرة وادوات تنظيف حديثة وطاقم عمالة مدرب علي اعلي مستوى فلا تترددوا في الاتصال بشركة المثالية للتنظيف بالخبر وسوف تحصلون علي افضل الخدمات المنزلية من نظافة ومكافحة حشرات بارخص الاسعار

Kerry said...

That looks fun. Glad you are enjoying a lovely break and exploring.

I've just waived goodbye to my daughter, her partner and my husband bound for Florida - the plane actually went above where we live (I'm looking after the menagerie on our homestead - have no interest in flying anywhere now - too stressful!) and it was so strange seeing them thousands of feet above me, in our garden!

Thanks for the piccies :D

Rosanne said...

Thanks Debby! I didn't know about the Lands End clothes! I always just carry my regular bag, I am going to have to adjust that thinking. You are an inspiration!

Louise said...

Good for you Debby I love the way you work through your health problems and keep on going oh and I love watching you quilt I get a lot of ideals I started quilting in 2016 after husband of over 60 years passed a way I’m now 81 and have finished 12 quilts quilting on one now have another quilt top on design wall ready to sandwich after I get the one I’m working on quilted . I admire you for all the things you do love you kid at my age you are a kid lol Louise

Lena rose said...

Hi Debby! I so very much enjoyed your classes this weekend and I am thrilled that you got to enjoy the city as well! What awesome pictures. When you're in town again, if you haven't seen it yet I highly recommend the Spy Museum, it's a true crime lover's dream. I'll never know how you fit all that fun in and taught so many classes with all you have going on physically, even with all those great tips. I know very well how travel can be on a chronically ill body and I hope you have time in your schedule to recover before dashing off to wow some new crops of students with your extraordinary quilting skills.

You are the best teacher I've had and I'm excited to see how I can grow now that I've seen what is possible, but more importantly you're an outstanding person. I could listen to you talk for hours about probably anything. (And I want to see some of those quilts with the blood-dripping "princess" lettering sometime. If you only knew how me that is!)

I showed my daughter some of your quilts and threads on your website and she wants you to know that the blue ones are the best ones. She's 5 so she knows everything -- sort of like a teenager but more adorable. ;)

Thanks for being you, it might help me to be more of me.

I'll email you and pester you as promised, but I wanted to toss this up before my name gets lost in the crowd of adoring students.


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