Helping women with chronic illnesses

Travel Triumph!

Woo hoo! We traveled and it actually went smoothly! (Note to self: has something frozen over?) Traveling and chronic pain/illness can be a real mismatch. So, it’s always great when it works out!

Behold venue number one, the Columbus Museum of Art:

Photo credit: My dear husband. (Photo taken with permission at the Chihuly exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio)

I find music and art to be very healing. Longtime readers who have seen my previous posts about Dale Chihuly’s work (or anyone who has ever looked at the Music, Art, Fun & Inspiration section of my blog) know how much I love Dale Chihuly’s artwork.

Photo credit courtesy of moi (Chihuly exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art).

In years past, we had seen Chihuly exhibitions in New York (short drive) and Florida (when we were there on a trip) prior to checking out Chihuly in Columbus. When I heard a Chihuly exhibition was going to be two states away, my immediate reaction was, “Let’s go!” Then, the part of my brain that is practical and logical kicked in. This would be the greatest amount of car travel I had done in many years! I had to give some serious thought as to whether this was a wise idea.

Photo credit: My dear husband. (Photo from the Chihuly exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art).

Due to my multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), an overnight stay in a hotel is out of the question. (By the way, I apologize to my readers for writing just two out of three posts last summer – about traveling with chronic illness – and never getting around to writing the third one; it will cover our ill-fated attempt to stay at a Bed & Breakfast. Let’s just say that it was not an MCS-friendly experience!) So, I will have to get part three posted but the first two parts were Chronic Travel and Chronic Travel Encore.

In any event, traveling when one doesn’t have a safe place to stay overnight presents some interesting challenges. While it wasn’t easy, we decided to do our Columbus trip all in one day. That meant 14 hours of driving plus viewing artwork at three different locations in Columbus. This was an ambitious trip! Desperate times call for desperate measures. My husband and I discussed the logistics many times and decided to go for it. It worked out well and I’m so glad we did! (Thank goodness the vast majority of it involved air conditioning as it reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit that day).

Destination? Columbus!

Let’s just say I didn’t linger in the greenhouses at Franklin Conservatory (see more about Franklin below)!

Photo credit: dear husband. Venue: Franklin Park Conservatory.

I did finally find some latex-free compression hose before the trip (prescribed by my cardiologist to help the blood return from my feet to my heart and decrease the odds of me fainting). For more information about my experiences with heat intolerance and fainting, please see my dysautonomia series. I also did a bladder instillation for my interstitial cystitis (IC) before we left for Ohio. We wanted to keep the rest stops to a minimum for sake of time. The fact that my endometriosis cooperated was absolutely stunning. I can’t recall a trip since I was thirteen years old where this was the case. Everything just fell into place for this trip.

Fortunately for me, my husband willingly did the vast majority of the driving. I could never have done a road trip like this (especially on this timeline) without my husband taking the brunt of the driving. I did some driving while he slept but he did most of it. We had to get up at 4:00 am to get out of the house in time to make this trip a reality. (Anyone who knows that my insomnia makes 4:00 am more likely to be the time I am starting to sleep than waking up for the day knows that we REALLY wanted to make this trip happen)!

Behold venue number two… Franklin Park Conservatory:

I wouldn’t mind a skylight like this in my house. How about you?

Photos above courtesy of dear husband and me.

Note to MCS readers: Franklin Conservatory is not pesticide-free. After a lengthy phone conservation before the trip with a gentleman who works there, it became evident that they use beneficial insects in the greenhouses and make an effort to keep pesticide use to a minimum. While I was not thrilled with being near any pesticide (minimal or not) and while this venue certainly might not have been an option for some people, I decided to go to Franklin Conservatory. I did not have any MCS symptoms and we kept our time there brief.

While photos were (amazingly) allowed at all three venues we went to, the photos from Hawk Gallery are allowed for personal use only. So, I can’t post them online. The staff at Hawk Gallery could not possibly have been nicer. They really made our third stop of the day special. I knew from calling ahead that their Chihuly exhibition was already down but they directed me to their website and I discovered Lino Tagliapietra. So, we made sure to keep venue three on the schedule. Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra have collaborated in the past. A DVD was playing there and Dale Chihuly was speaking about Lino Tagliapietra. I didn’t catch the exact quote but essentially Dale Chihuly was describing Lino Tagliapietra as the greatest glass artist in the world.

I urge you to check out the Hawk Gallery website, where you can see beautiful photos of Lino Tagliapietra’s amazing glass art.

Behold photos of Lino Tagliapietra’s work at venue number three below:

Lino Tagliapietra

Last but not least, I thought this video was interesting:

Time lapse video of the installation of the Dale Chihuly exhibition at L.A. Louver Gallery from November 19, 2004 – January 15, 2005.

So, what’s the takeaway? I believe that most patients have a good idea of their strengths and limitations. Most patients know when it’s best to be cautious and when it’s best to “go for it”. That doesn’t mean that travel always goes well… even with the best of planning. (For me, it actually rarely does). However, I believe that there are times that it’s worth throwing caution to the wind and testing the limits. Obviously, one person’s limits may vary greatly from another person’s. However, I think it’s important to “go for it” when possible. In this case, it paid off for us in a big way. It had been a long time since I had traveled that much. It felt good.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind”.
~~ Seneca

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright ยฉ Jeanne โ€” All rights reserved.

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Reading: Travel Triumph!


1 EndochickNo Gravatar { 06.22.10 at 4:09 pm }

I’m glad to hear your trip went so well. I cannot imagine cramming all that into one day! Wow! But the places looked beautiful! I saw the Chihuly tower of glass at the Indy Children’s Museum several times, and it’s breathtaking.
.-= Endochick´s last blog ..When your period signals a problem? =-.

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.22.10 at 4:18 pm }


It went amazingly well. It was very definitely a packed day. I’m still in recovery mode but it was so, so worth it. My fibromyalgia withstood the car time amazingly well. Fortunately, all 3 venues were quite close together. So, it was easy to get from one to another quickly. I’m just so grateful that everything fell into place. I’m not used to trips going so smoothly! Yes, I remember that picture you had sent me with the massive Chihuly tower of glass. In fact, I saw that picture in the gift shop at the Franklin Conservatory when we were there and thought of you when I saw it. ๐Ÿ˜‰


3 Rose HolloNo Gravatar { 06.23.10 at 12:42 am }

Ah, Chihuly! I just saw the Chihuly exhibit at Toledo Museum of Art this past winter. One of my very favorites. Glad you had a good time.

4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.23.10 at 12:45 am }


That’s awesome that you got so see Chihuly recently. Isn’t his work just beyond amazing? I love it! Yes, it was great! Thanks. ๐Ÿ˜‰


5 JasmineNo Gravatar { 06.23.10 at 1:32 am }

So happy to hear your trip went well! That skylight is amazing ๐Ÿ™‚
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..Your Music Beats Through Me, Even in Silence =-.

6 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.23.10 at 1:37 am }


Everything was amazing. Yes, I loved the skylight! I had seen a ceiling installation similar to that in Florida but this place actually had two smaller ones right near each other. Just awesome! ๐Ÿ˜‰


7 Pamela JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.23.10 at 11:31 am }

Gorgeous pics! Glad it was such a great experience …
.-= Pamela Jeanne´s last blog ..RESOLVE Choice Awards =-.

8 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.23.10 at 1:07 pm }

Hey Pamela,

Thanks! It was just a great trip! I love this glass artwork so much! I have believe how much we packed into a day… and that my body managed to handle it. I’m very grateful! ๐Ÿ˜‰


9 KerryNo Gravatar { 06.23.10 at 7:09 pm }

Jeanne–What beautiful pictures! This in an experience post.

Glad that all the work you went to to get ready for the trip was more than worth it…and that you were able to have such a wonderful time with your chronic conditions cooperating.

What a long drive, but having MCS, I understand…my husband and I sometimes make the choice to drive as long as we can rather than stay in a hotel room drenched in toxic products.

Traveling is incredibly complicated with chronic illnesses. I’m so glad you found a way to have an amazing day full of memories and gorgeous pics to share with us!

10 RellacafaNo Gravatar { 06.24.10 at 12:01 am }

HOW AWESOME!! It brought a little cheer to my heart to read about how you managed your limitations so well and were able to simply experience and enjoy…such a wonderful thing!! I haven’t travelled since developing CRPS and constantly dream about holidaying, haven’t found the confidence yet, but reading posts like this helps me see that there will be a time when I do feel brave enough to go on a real adventure. xxoo
.-= Rellacafa´s last blog ..Flashes Of Sunshine On A Fragile Mind =-.

11 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.24.10 at 2:38 am }


Thanks! It was awesome!

It was the longest car trip I’ve had in a long, long time. So, it was a huge relief that it went well.

Yes, it was long. I figured you’d understand the need for hotel avoidance!

Yes, “chronic travel” is complicated. We caught some lucky breaks this time. I’ll take it! I’m glad you like the pictures. I just love it!


Yes!! It was AWESOME!! You’re so sweet. This “cheer to your heart” was probably akin to the “cheer to my heart” of reading about your recently signed rental agreement. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It truly was wonderful to just be able to travel because doing so has almost completely eluded me in recent years. I hear you about not being ready to travel until your body “gives permission” to go and test the limits.

I’m glad this post gives you hope for going on adventure when your body is ready for it!



12 CredaNo Gravatar { 06.24.10 at 1:49 pm }

Beautiful, Jeanne, just absolutely beautiful, all of it. Though I consider myself an artsy person to a point, I had never heard of this artist. I am in love with underwater images (more than space images), and these remind me of that. I’ll google!

13 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.24.10 at 2:10 pm }

Welcome Creda!

Well, hello! It always makes my day when one of my Facebook friends pops over here for a visit! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I became familiar with Chilhuly’s work when I first saw it in 1997. I have been interested (one might argue a tad obsessed) since. This was the first time that we traveled specifically to see a Chihuly exhibition. Chihuly has many pieces called “seaforms” that you’d probably like!

I’ll save you some Googling:

Dale Chihuly’s site

This trip was the first time I’d seen Lino Tagliapietra’s work. His name sounded vaguely familiar as I had seen him on a video before (when he and Chihuly had collaborated on something). However, it wasn’t until last weekend that I knew much about Lino Tagliapietra. What I learned was that he’s amazing! He has generously shared his extreme talent (traditional Venetian glassblowing) and accepted artists from other countries to do apprenticeships in Italy. The artists interviewed on the DVD that we watched about him couldn’t say enough about him.

One of his pieces that we saw was $79,000 and it wasn’t in a glass case or anything. It was just sitting on this pedestal. I was afraid to breathe! The Hawk Gallery was just fantastic!

I’m glad you like it. I find just looking at these pieces to be a peaceful, soothing experience. You should have seen me when we walked into that room with the big installation at the Columbus Museum of Art! ๐Ÿ˜‰


14 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 06.27.10 at 7:33 pm }

If that glass city ever comes to Houston or Dallas I’ll go see it. Austin is usually too small to get great exhibits like that.

Really glad to hear you had a trip where your body cooperated to let you enjoy it fully.

I never thought of MCS and hotel stays. Are there no hotels that cater to sufferers? It would make sense to me that there would be.

Are you planning on getting away again this summer??

.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Even More Bigger =-.

15 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.27.10 at 8:32 pm }


I would definitely recommend it. It’s just beautiful. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was nice to have a trip go well for a change!

Yes, multiple chemical sensitivity can make staying in hotels difficult or impossible (for those MCS patients who aren’t housebound anyway). ๐Ÿ™

There are plenty of hotels that claim to be “green” but that usually is more about their use of energy and such than using MCS-friendly cleaning products. Most major hotel chains use detergent and/or fabric softeners that are extremely harsh… just as one example. The toxic ingredients found in fabric softeners and many detergents are not healthy for anyone but are particularly problematic for MCS patients. “Air freshener” usage just keeps expanding in all sorts of public places. Many hotels use pesticides regularly. The list of hazards goes on.

Recently, a friend of mine went to a conference where participants were staying overnight at multiple locations. Her friend was at a hotel and she called for help to “escape the hotel”. This was a healthy person calling for help packing her things to flee a hotel that had just “cleaned” all of its carpets. She was so overcome by the chemicals used on the carpets that she needed help to get the heck out of there! How scary is that? Toxic chemicals can affect cognitive functions and the neurological system. If a healthy person had to call for help to flee a hotel that was just “cleaned”, what would such a place do to an MCS patient?

I have talked with other MCS patients about how to go about finding the safest lodging options and some had good ideas about how to increase the odds of finding a safe place to stay (staying at smaller “mom and pop” type motels – scoped out in advance – that are older buildings where new building materials aren’t an issue, calling ahead to request that commercial cleaning products not be used on the room, etc.)

Unfortunately, myths abound. For example, one “green blog” I read recently had a post about hotels and someone had commented on the post about how people should request (I’m cringing) that an ozone machine be used to prep the room. Here are a couple of links about the dangerous ozone machines (one of which pertains to hotels):

Ozone machines

โ€œEarth-friendlyโ€ hotel uses toxic chemicals

I believe that more and more hotels will come to realize the need for MCS-friendly rooms (similar to how hotels didn’t used to have no-smoking rooms – or even entire hotels that are non-smoking – years ago). Unfortunately, there will most likely be a learning curve for hotels to truly make MCS-friendly rooms and many will be more interested in the value of marketing such rooms than actually taking the time and effort to make the rooms as safe as possible. Also, what is safe for one MCS patient may not be safe for another. Since there are all different degrees of severity, as with any illness, even the most diligent hotels won’t be MCS-friendly for all.

Am I planning on getting away this summer? Hmm. Well, I’m not sure whether this trip was “it” or not. We’ll just have to wait and see. Between everything we already have booked (my calendar is scaring me), finances, and navigating around health obstacles… it’s hard to say for sure.


P.S. On a random note for anybody who happens to be reading this, my Facebook account has been compromised and I haven’t had time to blog about it yet. I was getting strange messages when I logged in and had to report them to Facebook. Filing a report triggered an automatic temporary suspension of my Facebook account. So, right now I can’t login to my own Facebook account. Yet, I can tell from the Facebook email notifications I’m getting (and private emails from a couple of friends) that people can still access my wall, leave messages on it, tag me on things, etc. (Apparently, all of my recent stuff is gone. I’m assuming Facebook took it down to weed through it and figure out if my account has been compromised or not). In the meantime, strangers are commenting on some video that a person posted on my wall. ๐Ÿ™ These comments include ones that are spammy (like World Cup Soccer score references to a fibromyalgia video that I did not post). What this all means is that I am getting hammered with emails from people about Facebook and I have no means of replying to them (or in some cases deleting things off my Facebook wall that I normally wouldn’t leave there). My Facebook has always been the tightest security I could get (“friends only” for everything, for example). Now, strangers are posting comments to some video that someone posted on my wall. If I could login, I’d delete the video from my wall. In the meantime, I’m getting hammered with emails from people about the video. The only reason I even know what the video is (being that I can’t login) is that a friend sent it to me. The video is full of spelling errors and I am less than thrilled about not being able to access my own account and remove the video that is resulting in numerous emails in my inbox. Jannie, I’ve about had it with social media. Maybe I should stick to blogging!!

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