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Chronic Travel Encore

Please note:

For those readers experiencing infertility, there will be some pictures and references to my family in this post (including my daughter). I just wanted to mention that up front for those who may not wish to read this particular post.

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I apologize for the delay in writing this next installment about traveling when chronically ill. My food poisoning last Saturday threw me for a loop and I am now trying to catch up.

If you missed it, the previous post I wrote about traveling while chronically ill is —> HERE. If you haven’t yet read that post, this one will make a whole lot more sense if you read that one first.

Please indulge me as I will be discussing more than just “chronic travel”. Some of the challenges we experienced were not related to chronic conditions at all. So, I apologize in advance that this post will undoubtedly get long. Also, this may not be the most streamlined post as there was a fair amount of stress involved with the trip and I am still trying to regain my energy a couple of weeks later. (The food poisoning last weekend didn’t speed things along, needless to say). So, please bear with me on this post. I’m not operating at 100%.

Anyway, as I had indicated in the prior post, we had some difficulties on our trip. Chronic travel can be challenging for a variety of reasons. This plays out differently for different people… depending on what their illness is (or illnesses are).

One of the things I had to plan for with travel was my multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). For information on MCS, I highly recommend this site: The Canary Report. (I will talk more about MCS in the next post).

As I explained in the prior post, I decided a Bed & Breakfast would be safer MCS-wise than a hotel chain (see Chronic Travel post for details as to why).

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I spoke to the owner by phone and asked her some questions (including the questions about smoking that I mentioned previously). The Bed & Breakfast we stayed at is pictured above. We headed out for our trip the day after I had spoken to the owner. My husband worked a half day. So, by the time we reached the B & B, it was about 7:30 pm. We walked in and a woman came out from the back of the house to greet us. There was a bit of an awkward silence and then I referenced the phone call where I’d made the reservations. (I was figuring this was probably the woman with whom I had spoken by phone).

It turns out this woman was not the owner of the B & B. I should mention that while I’m no B & B expert, this was not the first time I have stayed at one. Believe me, I’m not one to want to chit chat and hang out with the owners of a B & B. (I know some B & B guests like to “hang out” like that but I’m not one of them). Certainly I’m up for some friendly (albeit brief) conversation and generally at a B & B there’s a bit more of a personal connection than one would have in a hotel chain. However, when I’m on vacation… I’m there to do things, see the sights, etc. I’m not there to hang out at the place I’m staying at. So I honestly wasn’t looking for some sort of engaging conversation with the B & B owner or anything. (Bear in mind I had spent hours online preparing for the trip, including reading testimonials from previous guests at the B & B raving about the couple who owned it and how hospitable they were and that sort of thing). Honestly, we were anxious to get some dinner. Nevertheless, I was a bit taken aback when this woman who was giving us our key revealed that the owner was gone for the entire weekend… many states away, in fact. I was also dismayed that she seemed extremely rushed… to the point that I felt rushed and tense. So much for that homey B & B atmosphere! Honestly, a two minute conversation about restaurants would have gone a long way in my book. But I digress…

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Anyway, it was news to me that the owner of the B & B wasn’t even in the state for our entire stay and I was baffled as to why she didn’t simply mention this on the phone the day before when I spoke with her. (The B & B landline number had given a message indicating a cell phone number and that is how I reached the owner to make the reservations. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, at the time I spoke to the B & B owner on her cell phone… she was already out of state). This was not the end of the world and the woman who was covering for her was nice. It was just not what I pictured at all after reading people’s glowing comments online. (I guess the B & B owners recently went through a divorce). This was also my husband’s first Bed & Breakfast experience and I was disappointed that this was his “welcome” to it when he was slightly apprehensive about going to one. Sigh. (I was envisioning the trip-planning demerits that were being assigned to me and we hadn’t even finished the five minute or less check-in).

Anyway, as we were escorted to our room in this very large house built in the 1800s, the lights were flickering and the woman looked up with a nervous glance and commented, “I hope the power doesn’t go out”. (It was getting quite stormy out at about this point). When we asked where we might find flashlights in case it did happen, she had no idea where we would find them. Lovely. Mind you, this all transpired in the short time it took her to walk us up to our room. Our entire check-in encounter with her was 5 minutes or less in total. She was clearly very rushed. She had a family member waiting for her to leave. So this is how we started out our trip. So much for the slow-paced, relaxed atmosphere I had read on and on about online. It was not the end of the world but not what I had pictured either.

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(I really don’t like feeling rushed when I am on vacation… Again, I was anxious to get to dinner and didn’t want idle chat. I would have liked a couple of quick dining suggestions, though!)

So, basically, if the power went out (which, believe me, looked very possible), we’d be in a pitch black mansion that we are not familiar with at all. (I would not have wanted to attempt the staircase in the dark)! My daughter’s eyes got as big as saucers as she imagined the power going out in this house. (Right about now this lovely old Victorian home was looking like a creepy Addams Family house with those flickering lights). So this was our welcome to the place we were staying at and the area…

The body language and rapidity of speech of the woman checking us in made it obvious that she was going to be heading out immediately. She spoke so quickly that I didn’t even catch where she said the binder of restaurant menus was. (We managed to find it after she’d gone but it was frustrating to have so much information thrown at us at once before she flew out the door to go home). The atmosphere was just far from what the websites had depicted. There was one other room occupied that particular night but the people weren’t there at that point in time. So, once she left (she did leave a phone number where she could be reached for emergencies) we were the only people in this old mansion that, while interesting, would have been very creepy to our daughter if the power had gone out. Thankfully, it didn’t!

That’s enough about the B & B check-in process… We dumped our luggage in the room. My husband, my daughter, and I were all extremely hungry. We had no clue where we were except that there were no restaurants nearby. (We had yet to find that binder downstairs). I needed to use the bathroom before we went to hunt for dinner. I received a surprise during this excursion to the bathroom that I was not at all happy about.

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Just a wee bit surprised…

I was surprised, upset, frustrated, and angry. Can anyone guess why? Those of you who have endometriosis… can you imagine why I might have been upset? If you guessed that I got my period (over a week early) the very night we started our beach-centered trip, you are correct!

Yes, that’s right. This trip was our first family vacation (we have had trips involving visiting relatives over the years but this was the first trip where just the three of us… my husband, my almost nine year old daughter, and me… went on a trip just for fun and family time). Between financial barriers, time issues (not being able to get any time off work), and the very challenges travel poses for me with my illnesses, we never (in almost nine years) ventured out on a family vacation for just the three of us. The very last thing I wanted on this long-awaited trip was this. I was very, very upset. This was a game-changer. So many activities my husband and I had planned on were now out the window for me. I just couldn’t believe it. Why, why, why did my period need to come early for this trip?

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I should not have been surprised by this twist. My periods are not the most regular but they are far more so in the last few years than all the years before that. I may not know exactly when to expect it like some people do but I generally have a darn good idea. More than a week earlier than I could possibly have imagined just threw me for a loop. Then, as I scanned back through my memory, I realized something. No matter how carefully I try to plan the timing of activities such as this (beach time), there has not been a time since I was 13 years old that I have actually pulled it off. Ever. I ALWAYS get my period in cases like this, regardless of whether it’s due. What kind of denial state was I in that I thought this trip would be any different?

We had so much commotion over whether we could even go on a trip at all (due to my husband’s job) that it did not even occur to me that this might happen. Thank you “Endometriosis Enemy”… for keeping that running record going (even when I let my guard down and I thought the coast was clear). Sigh.

It looks like this post is already pretty lengthy and will need to be continued. (Trust me, there’s more)!

Let’s just say that when I get my period, as a spectacular bonus, my interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome both get aggravated. Yes… exponential fun!

In the next post, I will tell you about my multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)-related adventure and the hard lesson I learned. It was really something.

Finally, as with the other post I would like to end on a positive note. My daughter had a blast taking her first bath in an old-fashioned claw foot tub. The tub was white on the inside and purple on the outside with gold feet. Trust me that a deep purple tub that has feet is cool to an eight year old! Also on the cool list was the fact that the toilet was an old-fashioned pull chain water closet. I explained to our daughter that when indoor plumbing first came out, all toilets were like this. I’m 40 years old and I had never seen a pull chain water closet. I had only read about them. So that was interesting.

Last but not least… here are some pictures of my husband and daughter. They rode the waves and had a blast while I played photographer. They even used boogie boards to ride the waves. See? The trip wasn’t all problems!

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Getting used to the waves (and the not-very-warm water):

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Watching for the next wave…

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Will the next wave ever get here?

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My sweeties on their boogie boards… looking for waves.

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Playing in the sand… Note that her Hannah Montana boogie board is next to her on the sand. Once we got her a boogie board, she didn’t let it out of her sight.

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Things didn’t go perfectly on the trip but my daughter is still very enthusiastically talking about how much fun she had riding the waves. (There were waves measuring eight feet when we were there and she literally did ride the waves). It warms my heart that she had as much fun as she did!!

In my next chronic travel post, I will tell you all about the adventure we had thanks to my MCS. I learned a huge lesson!

This post was written by Jeanne at http://chronichealing.com. Copyright © Jeanne — chronichealing.com. All rights reserved.


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Reading: Chronic Travel Encore

12 comments

1 JasmineNo Gravatar { 09.11.09 at 3:20 pm }

Ugh, I can’t imagine what you went through with all those fun health issues popping up unexpectedly. Glad to see you all made the most of the trip despite them.
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..30 Things About Jasmine’s Invisible Illness(es) You May Not Know =-.

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 09.11.09 at 3:52 pm }

Jasmine,

Trust me when I say there was more… The MCS story is coming up. I learned a huge lesson on the trip regarding MCS. Yes, we made the best of things.

It’s all part of it… You do the best you can with the circumstances, you know? My fibromyalgia was none-too-pleased on this trip either but I expected that. Car time is never good for my fibro. Anyway, there will be more of this adventure in a future post.

Jeanne

3 JasmineNo Gravatar { 09.11.09 at 5:56 pm }

Just by mentioning MCS, I had a feeling the next installment wouldn’t be pleasant. But I’m looking forward to hearing more about your trip. *hugs*
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..30 Things About Jasmine’s Invisible Illness(es) You May Not Know =-.

4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 09.11.09 at 6:23 pm }

Jasmine,

Let’s just say that I definitely learned a lesson (for any future travel I may daringly take despite the inherent risks). I’ll try not to make the next Chronic Travel-type post too somber. I expect to do a post or two between now and when I post that… but I will finally finish spinning the trip tale relatively soon. 🙂

Jeanne

P.S. Sending hugs back to you…

5 endochickNo Gravatar { 09.12.09 at 1:16 pm }

My aunt has a bathroom just like that in her log cabin – claw bathtub and closet toilet with chain! I LOVED bathing in that tub as a kid because you could just fall right in and slip under the water. I have a really deep bathtub now in my own house because of that bathtub, but I would trade it in a heart beat for an old fashioned claw footed bathtub like my aunts.
.-= endochick´s last blog ..Last night =-.

6 JeanneNo Gravatar { 09.13.09 at 1:09 am }

Endochick,

Yeah, I had an apartment before I got married with a claw foot tub. Aren’t they awesome? I love that kind of stuff. That was one of the cool parts of that house.

Jeanne

7 JennNo Gravatar { 09.13.09 at 9:53 am }

Ugh, how horrible. It never fails that AF shows up at the worst possible time. Add endo and everything that goes along with it to the mix, and you are just downright miserable. Glad you had an okay time on the trip though.
.-= Jenn´s last blog ..When Xanax isn’t enough =-.

8 JeanneNo Gravatar { 09.13.09 at 11:32 am }

Jenn,

Well, let’s just say that it was an interesting trip. It was certainly no shocker to me that we ran into challenges. (I run into plenty of illness-related challenges in the safety of these 4 walls. So I know heading into a trip like that that I am taking some risks).

It’s just unfortunate that we ran into the sheer number of issues that we did. (I will never be able to do justice to them all in a few blog posts. It’s really amazing how many problems we had in a mere 4 days).

However, I am grateful that we were able to make the best of things and salvage some fun time. We learned some lessons for future reference (and then other parts were just unlucky breaks). I’m glad, though, that we got a trip under our belts because it gives us ideas for how we could plan for future trips.

Jeanne

9 MimiNo Gravatar { 09.13.09 at 11:56 am }

It always happens to me as well. No matter how much I plan, use a calendar, whatever, it never fails. I always get my period while on vacation. Ugh. Even when I went to St. Kitts. I had just had it two weeks before. Still came. Sheesh!
.-= Mimi´s last blog ..Wolves, Birds, and Other Animal News =-.

10 JeanneNo Gravatar { 09.13.09 at 12:33 pm }

Mimi,

Isn’t it terrible? What is it about traveling that is such a “period magnet”? I mean, for goodness’ sakes! It is very frustrating. Sorry this happens to you too!!

I have vowed to make the next trip as period-friendly as possible (no beaches, swimming, boats, etc.) Maybe I need to readjust my expectations. You’d think if from age 13 to 40 this has happened to me over and over and over that I would have gotten the hint by now, huh??

On a brighter note, from what I know of where you live… it’s like awesome vacation-type beaches near you all the time, right? So, hopefully you at least get to enjoy such activities on a more spontaneous basis. 🙂

Jeanne

11 YayaNo Gravatar { 09.13.09 at 6:01 pm }

Knowing your daughter in real life I can’t imagine anything bringing down her enthusiasm for fun!!

I’m so sorry your vacation was such a debacle.

You’ll appreciate this: I’m flying yesterday and get stuck between an extremely smelly man and a woman who PAINTED HER NAILS. Yes, in flight, painting her nails. I nearly died.
.-= Yaya´s last blog ..Reminded =-.

12 JeanneNo Gravatar { 09.13.09 at 10:55 pm }

Alicia,

You have a point there. 🙂 It takes a lot to get her down. That’s for sure.

It wasn’t all bad but it certainly wasn’t what I had hoped for either.

Oh, Alicia! I am so sorry. The smelly man is bad enough… but who PAINTS THEIR NAILS ON A PLANE??? I am so sorry. That is just so wrong. There are toxins and allergens in nail polish. Many years ago, I used to use nail polish. (Those days are long since gone, of course). However, I certainly never would have applied nail polish on an airplane! Those fumes are bad enough on the ground but in an airplane with re-circulated air affecting everyone on the plane? That is just wrong. I am so sorry! That is out of control. Was it making it hard for you to breathe? I know you have sensitivities to various things. Nail polish really does a number on me: feeling faint, trouble breathing, headache… the list goes on. There are so many chemicals in nail polish. I think one of the common ingredients in most nail polishes, if I’m remembering correctly, is formaldehyde. Now that I am actually allergic to as per patch tests at the dermatologist. I’m sorry you had such a terrible flight. I probably would have passed out before I could even think what to do. Either that or if I had time to react I would have politely asked her to stop and if that didn’t work I would have flagged down a flight attendant. That’s just wrong.

Jeanne

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