So a fabulous flight on the new AirNz airbus, super service and the anticipation of a relaxing and recharging weekend, a quick stop to grab my new fav salad – OMG in love with Wishbones smoked salmon and soba noodle salad! – I pause for a moment – mainly because I realise with two crutches I can not carry the miso soup I just brought and my bag and my crutches – so a bonus 15 minutes at Auckland airport to let my mind wander to the plethora of conversations I have had with the broad spectrum of people I have travelled with in the last five years – I smile as I realise I usually sit very close to the same spot outside the bookshop. Good golly what an eclectic list of people and I smile again imagining if they all came to dinner what interesting conversations would be had. Fatigue is setting in and without my gorgeous pack horse and partner in crime I better make my way to the hotel. Another few thoughts wander as the HGC Chch was one of the focal points for media post EQC. I also remember the most amazing function on the roof top with nan I attended when I was first diagnosed and the awesome ball Riwai and I went to there too. We pulled up in to the car park and I just knew it was not going to match my memories……
Perhaps it was the general Manager running like the building was on fire to demand the shuttle driver not come to reception, shunting him and me to the Back and beyond because the tourist buses are due….
Or that he then walked back in with the porters and didn’t give a second look at my bag or me struggling with my bags…..
Or that my room would need a higher than normal bond… Obviously because more people rip them off than are nice rule abiding customers……
Or that they were rude… the room smelt like it was from the eastern bloc in the 90’s or the broken window, con webs and cigarette stained stipples roof just weren’t to my liking…..
Or that when I ordered room
Service after jumping into my pjs I was told they were to busy and recommended I went to the restaurant ….
Let’s just say… AVOID Hotel Grand Chancellor… There is nothing grand about it at all!!!
The best thing is it was one night and as I walked into the Sudima Airport this morning I felt like Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman and the simple difference as you could see the staff were happy to be at work.
What a delight it was to speak with Sandra Kirby (CEO) of Arthritis NZ at the 2013 conference in Auckland this weekend. As she put it she was gathering her generals to gather troops and I was proud to be her General Cate for raising Awareness of arthritis. This was the second year the conference was open to the public. With over 220 people attending it was fantastic to be a part of the day. I spoke on raising awareness of arthritis and helping others to celebrate what we do have not just what we have lost or are unable to do. Arthritis of all forms (over 140) is poorly supported for funding because it is not fatal. Sadly many people have reduced quality of life and live in pain because of “just having arthritis” for the young it can take up to two years of anxiousness, fear, pain and testing before a diagnosis is found. For those older and mature adults, just having arthritis is almost “a given of being old”. We want this not to be the case. It is not ok to live in pain. Join the fight to raise awareness and work collaboratively to help the burden that arthritis has on patients, carers, family, friends and the wider community. For more on how to help check out Arthritis NZ
So much of my anxiety for this last minute trip was about my ability to fly long haul with all my conditions.
I figured I could be in pain at home so why not be in a magical new place to experience.
Travelling is good for my soul regardless of how I feel or where I am on the pain scale there is always something to discover to make me smile. It wasn’t easy at times but totally worth it and here are a few of my trade secrets that worked a treat 🙂
1. Write a list and use it to prepare for your journey the week leading up to when you go. I work from my head down and make sure I have all I need written down. Then make sure it is clean, mended and still fits before packing to the lets take it pile.
2. Pack early then take out half the clothes and take twice as much money
3. Book special assistance when you book your plane tickets – if your health is like mine it is unpredictable and the help around the world makes travel much more pleasant. Take your worst case scenario aids – for me that includes extra pain meds, mohair gloves, antiflamme, arnica crutches and wrist braces. Better to have all that you may need than wish you had it all if you end up unwell.
4. Invest in blister packs for your medications and take two extra weeks worth. Take half in your hand luggage and half in your luggage (unlikely both will go missing). Include extra pain meds just incase. Pack any refrigerator meds in a small carryon bag to give to staff when you board. Take a GP letter to show anyone of Authority who may ask eg customs, police, airline staff
5. Invest in a watch that has dual time. Set your main time for the time of your destination on the morning you travel so you start adjusting before you hit the air. Set the less obvious time set to home time to ensure you take your medications at the right time.
6. Go to the airport early to save from rushing and getting all flustered. Make the arrival and relaxing time at the airport part of your experience. Request an aisle set so you can get up easily and move around
7. Say yes to the wheelchair ride. It comes with your own “wheeler”. They are responsible for you until you reach the gate, they help you though customs and to the correct boarding gate. An amazing help when you are tired and you can focus on your health rather than getting lost or stressed your are too slow. With special assistance you will not miss a transfer or boarding.
Ps Anybody travelling with you gets to go with you – make sure they are quick as the wheelers don’t muck around :). It’s also ok to ask to stop at duty free or toilet. Otherwise they will take you directly to the gate.
8. Invest in noise reducing headphones for the plane . The headphones are amazing and cut out so much noise but you can still hear the hostess ask what you would like for dinner.
9. Travel in lifesocks – these socks keep your feet fresh and prevent risk of DVT – well worth the investment.
10. Drink water regularly, move out of your seat every hour (unless you are sleeping). I constantly ask for water and apple juice every time I move. Ps don’t worry about the toilet – at least going means you are moving – hence the aisle seat
11. Refrain from alcohol – it really doesn’t help you adjust.
12. Use your time at destination clock to work out when to sleep. Use an eyemask to block out the light and turn up your headphones for peace and quiet.
13. Have your ride from the airport prebooked for pick up – it may cost a few dollars more but makes your arrival to your destination much easier. Combined with a special assistance pickup you should arrive at your destination fresh and ready to explore and enjoy.
Ps don’t go to sleep until dark at your new destination and keep drinking water. This will help with your circadian rhythms and allow you to wake up refreshed and adjusted.
And lastly and most importantly have a fantastic time wherever you end up in the world 🙂